My plan for getting the animal care done this morning was to put Charlie down for his first nap and then take Cubby outside with me. It was really, really cold--fifteen degrees, in fact--and I figured Cubby wouldn't want to stay out very long anyway, so he could play around in the light snow we got last night while I took care of the animals and then we could go back in by the time Charlie woke up.
Good plan. Out we went into the frigid morning. I put water in the sheep bucket and hopped the paddock fence to go around to the front of the barn to pull the hay to the front of their feeder. My first signal that there might be something . . . different was the fact that a few of the Merinos were lying in the middle of the paddock, with a light dusting of snow on them. Which meant they were out in the snow early this morning. And they usually only clear out of the barn to make room for . . .
A lamb. Which is what I found when I got to the barn.
Actually, I didn't even see the lamb when I first got to the barn, since the sheep were all shuffling around and running out of the barn when I approached. But I saw the blood on the ground from the birth, and then I saw the lamb with its mother.
Did I mention it was fifteen degrees? That is NOT a good temperature for a newborn lamb.
However. It was already dry and up on its feet, running with the flock, so I figured it was okay. Probably it just stayed in the hay in the barn next to its mother. With the whole flock all clustered in the small barn, it was probably warm enough.
I hope so, anyway, because I really can't do much for it. I thought about putting a heat lamp in the barn, but then I would have to build some kind of pen to keep the lamb and mother next to the heat lamp, and I just don't have the time to do that, what with my own offspring to care for**. So I'm afraid this is a case of survive or . . . well, not.
I really hope it's not the not, though. It seems to be a spry little thing, and the sun is out so it should warm up a little today. Fingers crossed.
And let's hope that no more lambs are born before the shepherd arrives home tomorrow. I'm not a very good sheep midwife.
* We knew we would have lambs early this year--early seems to be better than late, for reasons of worms and flies and so forth that come with warm weather--but we never expected one THIS early.
** Though I might still try to do that if it seems to need it later. Maybe I can put the kids in the car again or something. Once again, SO GLAD I'm not a homesteader who depends on every animal born for my food.