My life with lambs

Last night, lambing season officially came to a close with a happy ending–an easy birth (albeit late!) and a single buck lamb.

Nora about a week before lambing.
Nora about a week before lambing.

I typically begin lambing in March so that the lambs are born when it’s time to begin grazing our spring pastures. I aimed for a later window this year so the lambs wouldn’t begin to arrive until I returned from teaching at Interweave Yarn Fest in Loveland, Colorado. It’s been an unusual lamb crop with primarily single buck (male) lambs, whereas in the past, twin ewe lambs has been the typical trend. One never knows!

While the lambs are very young, I keep the group in a pasture just outside the barn. This gives them a chance to learn about flocking. The lambs will often play together, wandering farther from their mothers as they get older. A small, safe paddock allows them to practice bouncing with their buddies, realize that their mother is no longer in sight, and learn how to find her again without panicking.

2015 lambs 1
Per Hansa at about four days old grazing with his mother (one of Nora’s daughers) at right.

The first lamb born this year was a buck who came into the world ready to make it his very own. I named him Per Hansa after the main character in Ole Rolvaag’s Giants in the Earth (1924)–a fascinating and important book about a fictional group of Norwegian immigrants who settle in the Dakota Territory. When Per Hansa looks out across the prairie, he sees endless opportunity. He also has a good friend, Hans Olsa, who is a very large, kind man. So, my second lamb, who is large and lumbering makes a very good Hans. (The three images at the top are of Hans exploring the wide world for the first time.)

Bouncing is hard work and many naps are needed.

Now that all of the lambs are born, they will be heading out to the larger pastures. I’ll share a video soon!


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