easter has arrived

There is a lamb living in my kitchen, and his name is Easter. I (perhaps foolishly) involved my four year old, Andrew, in the naming process thinking he’d go with one of my suggestions – Eli, Ezra, Ethan, etc – but he came up with Easter all on his own. His first idea was “Heaven” and it took a lot of convincing to make him believe Heaven begins with an “H” although “eh” comes just after that and an “E” does make that sound. 2012 is our “E” year… the naming convention I chose for the sheep is a letter per year, through the alphabet. Since Ciaran and Chloe happened to be our first sheep, last year’s lambs were all “D” names and this year we’re on to “E”.

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Here is Easter with Andrew, on his first day in our kitchen. On January 31, Chloe birthed twins (hooray!) all on her own (hooray!) which is pretty great for her first lambing at just shy of 2 years old. The ewe lamb doesn’t have a name yet, and seems to be thriving in the barn under mama’s careful watch. Silly Easter, on the other hand, is just a bit small and was a bit weak and wobbly in his first few hours so its been a tougher start for him. After 48 hours in the warmth of our kitchen, though, he seems to be doing pretty well and as soon as he gets the sucking reflex down he’ll go back to the barn and I am hopeful that I can re-graft him onto his mama. He will likely continue to be bottle fed, even when he goes back, but I am optimistic that Chloe will accept him back at least as a pen mate and sibling to the ewe lamb.

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Other than dealing with bottle feeding every three hours, I am pretty excited about these lambs – in addition to Chloe twinning, both of these babies are MOORIT (brown)!! This is especially exciting because it confirms that Chloe is indeed a moorit carrier. The moorit gene is recessive and is a trait that only shows in a double recessive combination. Our ram, Harvey, is moorit, which means he is a double recessive. In order for Chloe (who is black) to have a moorit lamb, she must carry the recessive gene. We suspected she might given the bloodlines on her pedigree, but you just never know… until you get brown lambs from her. Hooray! There is still a 50% chance she will throw a black lamb in the future but the fact that she can and did throw moorit means she has a permanent home in the Brown Betty flock. Double hooray, especially since she is a already a show-stopper.

I had better get back to making bottles. Keep your fingers crossed that Easter keeps perking up and I’ll do my best to post updates.

p.s. Any readers out there familiar with sheep genetics who have any corrections to my info above, please post them in the comments. I think I am right, but my knowledge is limited to distant biology memories and internet research, so its altogether possible I am way off!

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