This morning I went out to feed and 3of4 stayed in the barn for a long time. My first thought was that she either had her baby already, or she was about to. Sheep won't eat just prior to lambing.
Within a few moments she eventually did wander out. I was surprised to see how much her udder had expanded. She looked like a milk cow! Look at the picture below and you can see how big her udder is and how puffy her vulva is. Another huge clue that she'll lamb soon is the hollowness around her backbone. You can easily compare with the other two ewes.
After feeding I went inside to get my camera. I went next door to take a picture for a future project and when I returned 3of4 was back in the barn laying down. Uh oh! She was not really interested in eating so I knew she would lamb today. Soon.
Fortunately I had cleaned out one of the stalls last night. I hurriedly spread fresh shavings and then straw on top of that. I "shepherded" 3of4 into the clean stall and sat around to wait.
She followed all the classic signs and symptoms that are described in my sheep books and in the internet articles.
She wandered restlessly around the stall.
She'd lay down.
Then get up again.
Several times she stretched out and I got a little excited and nervous, but it wasn't time yet.
She got up and pawed the ground and laid back down, perfecting her nest, several times. She also started baaing and grinding her teeth more frequently. Finally it was time. Her first real contraction came in earnest.
Here you can see the feet coming out.
Her baas were becoming heartwrenching and I was hurting just watching and hearing her.
After what seemed like forever and several futile attempts to progress I saw the nose. It really wasn't that long but I couldn't stand it anymore. I knew the lamb was positioned correctly so I put some gloves on and helped pull while she pushed. Finally the head and shoulders were out so I let her do the rest on her own.
Now I have to go back out and iodine the naval and make sure he's up and about. He was already trying within minutes of being born, so I know he's good and strong.
For a first-timer, 3of4 did great!