success and failure

On the 21st, Carole had her twins while John was away at weaving school. Big strong boys, 11.75 and 10.25 pounds. Carole was born in 2005 and these are lambs 10 and 11 for her. She is a good mother and knows the routine. On the 22nd, Rebecca went into labor. This was her very first lambing [she was born in 2011] and she had two big boys also, 12.25 and 11.25 pounds. She labored long and hard, with John standing by to assist if needed. Everything went well! She is fiercely protective as first time mothers often are.

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Over the weekend there were no new lambs. We had time to give shots, band tails, and make sure moms were fed. So how did we miss it that the male triplet was not eating? John gave them all some supplemental milk replacer on that first day, when Ruth’s colostrum was very thick and her milk had not yet come in. All three lambs took it eagerly and seemed strong. Soon the two girls lost interest in the bottle but the boy always approached whenever we got into the pen. The problem was, we had other things to do, and we needed to sleep at night….by Sunday, it was evident that he was going to continue sleeping for good. We are sad to lose him, but it certainly makes things easier for Ruth and her twins. There is one lamb for each spigot, happy little girls bouncing around. As of the 26th, every time Ruth lies down for a rest, they climb up onto “Ruth mountain” and leap off, chasing each other around their mother.

This is the way it goes with lambing:  joy and sorrow, confidence and confusion.  The shepherd is part of the rhythm of life, sees that birth is not a moment but a process, confronts the very thin line that separates life and death.  The sheep, unconcerned, carry on.

 

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