But, as usual, I chose to look for the silver lining in the storm cloud. The lambs have all been strong and healthy, though singles instead of twins. The ewes were those who had previous twins regularly, so the only assumption to be made, is that the numbers of sperm being produced by the young rams was not much yet. It was obviously enough to do the job. A ewe will release one to four eggs and then they will be fertilized by the same number of sperm. The ewes were coming in off pasture then and were in prime shape, fat and healthy. They would have released the greater number of eggs as usual. The only other explanation is that one or more of the fertilized eggs did not continue to become a lamb, though who would know why. All the lambs born have been singles.
The lambs have been born without assistance. They are robust and alert and know their mothers. They were born outside in the open air and the weather has cooperated by being unseasonably warm. Today it reached 9 degrees, almost unheard of for February in the frozen north. Call it global warming or whatever, it was perfect for babies being born in the open.
The mothers all are fleece animals and with the infusion of the crimpy fine Shetland fleece, their offspring should have pretty exquisite and unusual wool. I am tempted to keep these babies and see how they turn out.
I think that Tova, the Gotland ewe will be next. She is laying down and getting up a lot, but she is a hogget, or a ewe who has not lambed before, so she does not know what to expect. Gotlands are primitive sheep though, so her instincts should be strong and her mothering ability excellent. It looks like Rosy, my favourite Babydoll next to my Anna, who now lives in a new home, is also bred. Shetland/Babydoll crosses are fairly common and apparently they are sweet natured and have great fleece.
So, really, there is nothing to be upset about other than yes, this is not what I had in mind, but given all the positives, there is definitely a silver lining. Today, Sharon, the lovely Karakul/Cotswold ewe, gave birth to a beautiful black baby girl with tightly curled fleece. Karakuls are born black and as they age, they become silvery, but Shetlands born black stay black ,so it is a wait and see with her. I am grateful for these babies, strong and healthy, and for their mammas, protective and nurturing and even those rascals who sired the lambs. Boys will be boys, I guess.