I brought Allie about 18 months ago. She will be two years old on the 9th of August. She is a beautiful romney ewe with long wavy white wool (although hers is mostly a faded reddy brown colour as she persists in lying in the dirt!) and is often covered in grass and bits of straw. I have no idea how she manages it. All the other sheep always look so much cleaner and quite neat in appearance.
She would be one of my favourites. I love all my sheep. Allie is my only romney ewe. The ram is also romney. I have four dorper crosses, three dorper cross witterpoll and two black faced suffok. All coloured – Allie is the only white ewe.
You can see what I mean about things stuck on her and dirty. I call her my sniffer sheep. She always comes over and has a good sniff of anything new.
She was too young to lamb last year and they only season once a year so this year was the year!!! I was so excited. I kept watch every day to see if Henry (the ram) was showing interest. They generally season from March/April? So they lamb mid-September after they have been shorn.
I saw Henry try and do his deed a few times and as he jumped, she ran! I despaired of her getting pregnant! Then on the morning of 20th July we found her with a little lamb. A girl. No wonder she wouldn’t let Henry do his thing. She was already pregnant! So here she was with all her wool – nearly to the ground – and a little baby.
I went to town and saw the lady I bought her from to ask if the lamb would be able to find the teat as she is so woolly. No. So we got a shearer out who crutched and clipped her hoping to make it easier for the lamb. We were concerned that the lamb hadn’t had a feed but he looked at the lamb and assured us that she had and was fine. Checked that afternoon and the lamb was running round with mum and all looked ok.
The next morning she couldn’t lift her head and all most definitely wasn’t ok. We raced and got a container and bottle with teat and proceeded to milk Allie and feed her lamb. We continued this all day and by afternoon she was standing. My husband rigged up a pen in the shelter with straw and we got her food and water and sheltered them there. By the next afternoon she was happily suckling her mum with a little assistance and we thought we had won the battle.
About 3.30 the next morning my husband woke me. He had been bringing the cows home (we are on a dairy) and stopped to check on lamb and thought she was a little cold. She was standing up and looked ok but he thought it might be best to put her in front of combustion stove and give her some fluids and then take her back up to Allie when it was warmer. I sat with her for four hours until she took her last breath. I cried and willed her to keep breathing – even tried mouth to mouth – to no avail. I was devastated.
I found out that if lambs don’t get that first drink within 4-6 hours of being born they run a high risk of developing clots which kill them a few days later. Allie’s lamb died on day 3. She taught us a lot and the next time Allie lambs she will be penned right away so we can monitor lambs feeding – especially if she hasn’t been shorn.
I thought I would have to wait another 12 months before she would lamb again but there is a possibility she could go into season this week. Fingers crossed! Have to give her a bit of a trim so Henry has a clear shot!
I was so proud of her. I’m sure she knew something was wrong. She let us milk her and try to get her lamb to suckle. She never gave up on her and stayed by her side. She was a bit distant for a few days and I didn’t think she was going to forgive us. Thankfully she has and once again comes over for a head rub and a back scratch.
That was the first lamb we have lost and it had to be the one that I had most looked forward to. Allie is such a character and hopefully everything will go ok next time. We won’t be trusting of opinions next time – we will want solid fact that lamb has suckled!