Hello Hello!!! Things here are absolutely CRAZY! The ewes have kept us on our toes lately as they change up the pace of lambing each day. Today was pretty calm, yesterday was busy, the day before was slow, and the two consecutive days before that were MAD! We only have about 290 ewes left to lamb! I say ONLY because we have already gone through so many! We are all very tired, sore and bruised. But, I will say, that this experience has shown me just how incredible farming can be.
One thing that sets Hestur apart from other farms here in Iceland is that this is a research based farm, just like Witter at UMaine. Right now there is a project taking place for a young ladies undergraduate thesis reflecting the impact on growth and development for motherless lambs. The project is up and running well now, and the lambs seem quite content. It clearly didn't take them long to develop a hierarchy! They are very animated when they play together. It's rather comical to watch them roll around and bounce off of each other. Here is the "leader" of this flock, and as you can see, she is quite proud of her ranking.
Today we had a very interesting case on our hands. Scott called me over to assist him with a difficult lamb that was having a hard time getting through the ewe's pelvis during birth. Seeing as my hands are smaller, I thought I might have a fighting chance of helping out. I was wrong. I had a very hard time getting the wire (which doesn't hurt the lamb, but helps us pop the head through the pelvis, especially if there are horns on the males) around the head and behind the ears of this lamb. Come to find out, this was no ordinary lamb. The moment she hit the ground, we knew something was very odd.
This little ewe's cranium was so heavy that she couldn't lift it at all, and she had multiple seizures within the first few minutes of her life. She also couldn't suckle, which was a very bad sign indeed. To prevent this little one from suffering, she was euthanized, and a very small lamb from a ewe with mastitis took her place. The foster baby and lamb-less ewe are very happy now, and the foster baby can drink all the milk it wants without having to compete!
To end this blog entry for the night, here is a lovely candid Snaedis took without me realizing she was there until it was too late! I was assisting a ewe with the birth of a very large ram lamb with very big horns!!!