Magnus, our stately, regal and frankly jerk-of-a-ram was feeling rather lonely after the untimely death of his twin brother, Cardigan. So we acquired another Shetland sheep to keep him company, this time a dainty, inky black ewe we affectionately named Matilda.
Magnus settled down a bit and quit testing out his impressive horns on everything that moved once he had a friend. He soon discovered his attractive friend was different than him.
Come spring, we were anxiously anticipating the birth of a lamb. We waited. And waited. And the weather finally got warm, so we decided it was time for the sheep to lose their winter sweaters.
It looks like she could be pregnant, right?
So we clipped.
(And thank goodness for splurging on electric sheers. What takes hours with hand shears took less than half an hour with the blessed electric variety).
But wait a second...she doesn't look any more pregnant than she did last fall...
So we began to doubt. The vet had assured us that she was indeed pregnant after a quick ultrasound in the field--sheep have unmistakable cotyledons and caruncles on their placenta that make pregnancy easy to detect. As the natural worrier I am, I began to worry. I was sure something was amiss--maybe the little lamb would be stillborn, if there was still a lamb in there at all. I wrung my hands for several weeks, watching other rancher's lambs appear in the fields while I wondered what had happened.
The morning we prepared for our trek to Cedar Rapids for Jack's summer co-op, I fed all of the animals and filled everybody's water, giving them each a pat goodbye. I handed Jack the garbage to toss on the burn pile and tucked the girls in their car seats when Jack sprinted back to the house.
"Rachael! Come look! Matilda had her lamb!"
The happy family.
Sure enough, next to Matilda was a tiny replica of herself, save for the three white spots on her forehead, cheek and jawline (a bit of Magnus found a way to manifest itself). Matilda was the doting mother I always knew she'd be--nursing and cleaning and bleating her happiness and/or relief frequently.
|Milly is practically a puppy.|
|She gets into everything!|
We are enjoying watching her grow alongside our girls and how she loves now to interact with people, even encouraging her dewy-eyed mother to willingly approach people.
|Would you look at that adorable face?!|
A birth is always something to celebrate and on our farm, the place is teeming with new life each spring! Hope you enjoyed meeting Millicent--look for more stories later about this sweet goofball.