Yesterday I noticed that one of the twin sets was much smaller than the other. I was curious about the cause of the difference but didn’t come to any conclusions. During my first flock check this morning, I found an extra lamb — tiny, no ear tag, and looking decidedly unloved. He was hanging out with Orca, one of the ewes that bore twins yesterday, trying to nurse, but she was actively butting him away. I took a quick look around to see if anyone new had lambed (a katahdin had just twinned, but this lamb didn’t look like he was half katahdin), but didn’t find an obvious candidate to be his mom. Then I realized that my mystery lamb explained the tiny twins; they were in fact triplets, and the third one was born after I thought all the action was over for the evening.
I brought little #3 over to River, the ewe with yesterday’s tiny twins; he matched, convincing me that my intuition was right, but mom wanted less than nothing to do with him. Whenever he tried to nurse, she butted or kicked him away. Number 3 was dirty and looked like he hadn’t eaten since birth, and I was starting to feel a little frazzled. He’s the skinny one on the left.
I was hoping I’d be able to hold the ewe still so #3 could nurse a bit, but the pen was too big and too round to chase a ewe into a corner, and she was not warming to her third lamb. I knew I needed to get the family into a jug in the barn, but I was worried that I couldn’t manage the move alone. That’s the moment when my friend and electrician Manning Driscoll showed up and allowed me to press him into service (whew!); we got the four into the barn quickly and easily.
Even in the confined space of the jug, the ewe was still managing to act on her murderous impulses toward #3, so I restricted her movements until her attitude improves. With a semi-immobilized ewe, I was able to get all three lambs nursing, sometimes a bit of a traffic jam.