We're a family on a 1 acre homestead in Central Florida. We're commited to raising our children in the Love of God and raising plants and animals in sustainable agriculture to feed them.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Nina and Mona
Button the ewe went into labor Sunday afternoon. I noticed her very bagged up and a bit puffy when I fed them about 4:00. I figured by morning we'd have a lamb. Less than an hour later Husbandman was out collecting buckets and saw "something hanging out". Button being as skiddish as she is, he didn't want to get too close. We whipped out the binoculars and spied on her from a distance. She was laying down and pushing. And pushing. And pushing. It was a rounded nub sticking out, not gangly legs so I got concerned. With Bella, there's a lingering fear that in my nervousness, I caused the ultimate death of both Bella and her baby. Bella was also skiddish. Both Bella and Button were purchased from a big farm where they got almost no human interaction. When Bella's baby wasn't coming, and I tried to pull it, it was clear she was much too small for the size lamb inside her... but was she tightened up because of fear and stress? So, that mulling in my brain, I wouldn't even get close to look. I snuck around to the side of the house and spied. I waited. I wrung my hands. And next thing I knew she was licking it off. We continued to give her good distance until after we saw the lamb nurse well. Then I grabbed it, put iodine on the umbilical cord, determined the gender (a ewe) and let the kids pet her some. Farmer girl called her grandma and insisted she come see the baby NOW. Thankfully Grandma lives a quarter mile away and was happy to oblige. Other friends came to see her too. She was just officially named "Nina" this morning. Farmer Girl is our main namer now and I think she did well chosing this one.
So what does this birth mean? Well, unfortunately for Button, it means her days are numbered. Button, being so skiddish, is much too hard to manage. I can't graze her as I do the other sheep because if she gets loose, there's no catching her. Nina will be our replacement breeding ewe and Button... she'll be sausage before the summer is out.
And now I watch our other ewe thinking she's going to be due soon too. As of this morning, Dulcinea looks the closest to birth. Which I'm just as happy about. I'm desperate for real milk again.
And since I'm at it, here's the bunny Farmer Girl is raising. A friend gave us this rabbit, complete with its pen about a month ago. We'll get meat rabbits in the summer, but this is a pet rabbit for the girl to practice on. Since she'll be the main care-taker of the rabbits, we figured this was a good way for her to grow into her job. She does a very good job. She needs some reminding at times, but she's only 4. She named this bunny Mona and Mona is certainly a sweetie. She will not be eaten. She's merely a cute puff-ball, all fur and no meat.