The first lambs of the season have arrived, twins, a big boy and a little girl. Momma came up to the fence for feeding as per usual and didn’t betray that Tonight was the Night at all. I’d headed out to do a last check for the night before going to bed since I am stuffed to the eyeballs with cold medicine, enough to ensure unconsciousness through the worst cold symptoms, and what do I hear but high pitched lamb voices.
Ugh. Somebody must have been in an ant nest because I note two swollen itchy welts on my arm that I didn’t notice when I was outside transporting lambs to a more secure pasture. Fire ants *will* kill lambs in a short period of time, so I better go outside and recheck to make sure that everybody is okay.
I’m not really sure how I’m going to stay awake long enough to make sure that the lambs are able to feed properly. Note to self: Tomorrow, delay taking double dose of Benadryl until after the sheep have been checked!
I sent nine chickens (seven hens and two roosters) over to son tonight. The pullets are just beginning to lay, so he’ll have a reliable supply of eggs for the next 18 months or so. I’m falling behind, though. More chickens are coming in than are going out! I have 25 bantam chicks and 20 something standard chicks. I should have had @ 40 standard chicks, but the electricity did go out for a prolonged period on a cold evening, so the eggs got chilled in the incubator. I was afraid that we would get NO chicks, so 20 something actually makes me happy. One did not make it out of his shell; the membrane covered his poor little nostrils and smothered him. The last five or six that are still in the incubator got a lil’ hole pecked in the egg and then, due to malpositioning or being too cramped in the shell, they were unable to progress any further.
Now, if those chicks/eggs had been under a hen, they would be dead. She would have had a sufficient number of healthy chicks peeping for food and water that she would have left the nest and those unfortunate stuck or weak chicks would have been eaten by ants or died from the cold once mom left.
The chicks may be weak and die anyway even if I release them from the egg, but I’m still going to do it. The professionals are probably right about not helping them because it perpetuates weak chicks. Good for them that I’m not a professional, right?
The lambs seemed to be doing well at 11:30 p.m., and I’m having trouble focusing my eyes and staying upright. (Taking double doses of Benadryl AND a narcotic cough suppressant has that effect on me. It is SUPPOSED to knock me out.) I hadn’t noticed how wallowed out it was underneath the gate. The space underneath is definitely big enough for a cat or chicken or duck to walk underneath, so it would be no problem at all for a tiny lil’ newborn lamb to lie down next to the gate, stretch out, and roll right underneath. Then, of course, when they stood up, they couldn’t get back through and would be racing up and down the fence line with the momma racing along on the other side. Eesh. I threw a board underneath in the dark to hopefully keep ’em on the same side with their momma tonight, but I dunno. I might have missed a gap in the dark. I just can’t stay awake any longer.