Ok, that is the history. I thought it would be great to breed these sheep and have some of that famous wool to sell. They are not good on a forage based operation and inputs of grain might be necessary to keep the weight on them. That is typical of modern man created breeds. Many good qualities have been bred out in favour of more meat that grows faster.
So today, Magdalene (I did not name her) was missing. Karin Llama was patiently observing something and sure enough, it was Magdalene giving birth to her little ewe lamb. She birthed her fine on her own, but had only one. It is her first pregnancy and singles are most common. She did a fair job of cleaning the baby, but left the placenta. Some old breeds eat the placenta. It is thought they may do this for two reasons: possibly not to attract predators to the smell of blood and bodily fluids and/or to keep the nutrients within their bodies from the rich placental material. It is really gross though.
But, Magdalene would not allow the baby to nurse. Time and time again, the little one tried to find milk, but the mother kept the baby in sight and would quickly move away if she was too near her body. The dance went on for hours and the little one tired. Then I had to intervene or the baby would die. They do not have good reserves to last for long after birth and require the nutrients, antibodies and nourishment of the mother's first milk. I took the baby to the barn and the mother followed. I gave her a chance to be alone and checked about 20 minutes later, but the baby still had not nursed. Now serious business had to happen. I tried to knee the mother into the side of the barn and hold her there, but she was violent, kicking and butting. I was fearful she would inadvertently kill or injure her baby. I went to get a rope halter, haltered her and tied one end to her back legs. She fought for a while, then was much easier to body check into the boards. I milked her and saved the milk, fully prepared to put it in a bottle and feed the baby. I thought I would do one more thing, hoping the baby still had the will and strength to nurse. I turned the ewe on her side and kneed her down, putting the little one on a teat. Now that the milk was flowing she sucked vigorously and was drinking. yay!
I went to the house to put the milk in a bottle after having the baby nurse enough with the ewe in the Sumo hold, on both sides of the udder. When I returned with the warm colostrum, the baby was nursing. I guess they both figured it out after the ewe felt the natural let down of her milk from the babe's suckling and the babe, with renewed strength from nursing just a little, had a kick start and the energy to try to nurse again. I left them and checked an hour later and the baby was nursing again. Whew! I brought the mother food and water and left them in the barn in a stall for the night. They will bond and hopefully the mother will relax. Also, that lamb is quite small and frail compared to the Jacobs and Karakuls recently born, and a possible target for the ravens. A day or two or nursing and gaining strength should make all the difference.
Who says farmers don't use their muscles?!!! I am tired after that wrestling match, but have one more goat doe due. She was straining and I think for sure she will kid tonight. I can sleep in a week or two. zzzzzzz