Last night was clearly the night for having babies. At least for the animals on our farm, anyway.
Do you remember the ewe I wrote about recently, the one that had finally become pregnant after I'd almost given up hope of her ever having a lamb?
Well, she had her baby last night. I suspected that she was in labour yesterday afternoon, and when evening came and I put them into their sheds for the night, Minty starting pawing at the ground, turning about in circles and periodically lying down. All behaviour that confirmed her labour was progressing. She actually looked quite offended at what was going on, and like she seriously regretted her decision to finally become a mama.
I watched for almost an hour, until the sun disappeared and the light was lost. It was too dark to see, so I reluctantly left, thinking I wouldn't know the result until morning.
At about 9 o'clock last night we heard loud baa-ing coming from the sheep shed. Highly unusual, and also very alarming when I'd left a sheep in labour up there.
We raced up to the shed with torches, only to find one very proud mama sheep cleaning and encouraging her new baby. Minty's lamb is so large in size that I immediately supposed it to be a boy, but quickly found it that she is indeed a ewe lamb! Minty is turning out to be a wonderful mama, albeit a loud one, and her baby is so beautiful and strong.
I named her Marigold, partly due to the fact that I missed the first ten minutes of the last episode of Downton Abbey due to the commotion in the shed. She seems to suit her name and I am just over the moon with this gorgeous little baby.
Our milking cow also gave birth last night too, although we didn't find out until this morning. She's had a gorgeous little heifer calf, just as I asked her to. We've named her Peggy and she is a beautiful cocoa brown, although I know she'll turn black with age. The excitement of calving is increased when it's Missy who has a baby, as not only does it come with the delight of new life but also the joy of being able to have our own homegrown milk again. We'll start milking Missy-Moo on the weekend* and I can't wait. I keep thinking of all the cheesemaking that is to come, and enjoyment of milking Missy every day.
*Cows produce colostrum for the first four to five days after calving, so Missy's actual milk won't come in until about Saturday. Colostrum is high in vitamin A and is vital to the survival of the newborn calf.