It was around 12 degrees (lower with windchill) when I went out to check the sheep on pasture today, so cold the truck wouldn’t start and the tractor barely started. When I got there nothing seemed out of the ordinary – the ewes came up for their grain and I began to put it out for them, then I heard a ewe down at the bottom of the hill and I looked up and there was Artemis with a new lamb! We were NOT expecting lambs for another couple months, so this was very out of the ordinary. The new lamb was still damp (and her coat was frozen in places) when I got there, but was running around and had obviously eaten. I looked everywhere to make sure there was not another lambsicle frozen to the ground, with this weather it is to be expected. But I only found the one big healthy baby 🙂
I am very proud to have such hardy girls that they can get away with lambing on pasture with no shelter in the middle of January and still have healthy lambs. Artemis had lambed at the bottom of a hill, where the wind wasn’t so intense. She evidently got the lamb cleaned up and mostly dry before it froze, and she had most of the placenta eaten before I got there. What wasn’t eaten was frozen to the ground – it was so cold it didn’t take long for that to happen. Artemis preformed like a feral ewe would – the placenta eaten to keep predators away and the lamb dry, up and fed despite sub zero temperatures – just how I like my Jacobs 🙂
She is the poster child for Jacob hardiness 🙂 Her coat is covered in icicles, but she is nice and warm anyway.
Artemis had to walk all the way home next to the tractor because it was too cold for the truck to start. She followed her lamb for over a mile down the road. She is such a good momma!