Enya knew she was in labour. She started running around talking to all the young lambs already born. Last night, Obe, had twin ewe lambs and Enya decided one was hers. She would not let Obe near her and was licking her and talking to her. But, she had a little nose and two little feet protruding from her back end. Enya would not relax enough to actually have her own lamb.
I dragged Enya out of the shelter with Obe and she was frantic, thinking she was departing from HER lamb. I would not let her in, so she went to another newborn lamb in another shelter and began the same ritual of licking the lamb and claiming her, then not letting the real mother near her.
So once again, I dragged Enya out of there and locked her up in her own world. She was frantic once more, thinking she was leaving her lamb behind and she fought me and tried hard to get away and out. She continued this crazy behaviour for about 15 minutes when her true labour began all over again. She would not settle down to birth her baby and I could only hope for the best. I believe the baby was beginning to be in danger, protruding a little for so long.
But Enya pulled through. I guess the contractions were strong enough to slow her down and she laid down and went into labour in earnest. The little beautiful lamb was born and Enya began the arduous task of licking her to clean her and nuzzled her up to nurse. It was just then that Enya was down again.
Her second lamb was born and I put some clean straw in with her for the lambs because is has been raining incessantly hard for 2 days. Enya birthed the second lamb and began eating the straw instead of cleaning the lamb. She more or less was ignoring him, encouraging the first to nurse and eating. This erratic behaviour was very uncustomary and I thought intervening again best.
I grabbed the first born and went into the house. I had been outside for several hours in the pouring rain and was soaked to the skin anyhow. The lamb was with me for about 15 minutes to give Enya time to bond with the second born. When I brought the girl back out, Enya was cleaning the boy and still eating straw. The little fellow was stronger and was trying to nurse.
Jacob sheep are a primitive unimproved breed. Their instincts are intact and they seldom need interventions for lambing. I have never bottle fed a Jacob lamb either. This behaviour was just very strange. There were lots of lambs being born in the last 2 days. I can't blame that on the full moon because it was 5 days ago. I left Enya with her little ones and went in for a cup of coffee and to get dry clothes on. Lunch is way past time, so I am going to look for something for dinner instead. Then I will go back and check the babies and moms and hope that no more strange behaviours surface.
On a good note though, Enya has two lovely big babies. Jacob sheep are a rare breed and the gene pool is shallow in Canada. These are premium stock. Enya was born here on the farm and bred to a large, beautifully conformed four horned local ram, which I purchased. My Jacob sheep are going to two stewards of the breed to continue the breeding program and promote the breed. They are almost a perfect sheep, smaller in stature, but hardy and smart. They seldom ever require assistance lambing and nurse and care for their young with diligence. The fleece is amazing, soft and spins or felts into beautiful garments. I have not eaten Jacob lamb meat, but it is purported to be delicate and divine.
Thank you Enya for your gift to me on Mother's Day! Bless all those little lambies and their silly mothers everywhere!