Yesterday afternoon when I was doing chores I noticed Dixie's udder had grown since the morning. I didn't really think it was big enough to signify lambing was close, but I was wrong. I went out to feed this morning, after a very cold night, and when I got to the gate she came out to get her grain and I saw she had lambed (there was some blood on her udder). I got really worried, and had to climb over the gate because the chain was frozen. I hurried into the shelter, expecting to find a frozen (or dead) lamb, but instead I found a dry, warm lamb with a full belly!
Dixie is a yearling, bred as a lamb. I've never done that before, and I was expecting her to need a little help figuring out what to do with her lamb, but I was wrong! I love being wrong when it's like this. I shuffled some animals around, putting Darla and her lambs in the hog pen (empty of hogs) so I could put Dixie and her new ram lamb in Darla's jug with the heat lamp.
I couldn't be happier with Dixie. Not only did she have her lamb unassisted on a freezing cold night, she also got him warm and let him nurse. Sometimes first time moms get confused when their lambs try to nurse.
This little guy is a purebred Southdown, but he has spots. Black spots are "discriminated against" in the breed standard. Since he's a ram, not a ewe, it doesn't matter as much since he'll be raised for meat, but it makes me wonder about the ram I used. Darla's lambs were born with dark markings, much darker than the "gray to brown" in the standard. They also have pink noses, which are discriminated against in the breed standard as well.
He is pretty cute though!
So one ewe left to go, then I'll have a short break until I'll be on the lookout for goat kids!