I asked Dominique to pick up 072 so I could photograph him. His mother is 159 and his Birth was recorded 6 days ago. He was the 72nd purebred Saxon Merino born this year, hence his ear tag number.
I'm amazed that he, and his dam too*, know that he is a special sheep (good sheep seem to know their excellence and it is this self knowledge that amazes one); I can see by his calmness and the way way he carries himself that he is special. The way he looks at me. He has that sense of assurance that only good sheep have; being that he is a purebred Saxon Merino, he will have superior wool, better wool than his peers have, in those important fiber qualities of fineness, uniformity and density; he should pass these qualities along to certain of his offspring when I breed him two years from now.
*Two days earlier I had tried to photograph him as he stood in the barn with a very dear Nikon 14 mm-24 mm zoom lens on my D-700; as I bent over to get close to him, his mother, 159, interceded and bumped me leaving her nose print on the convex glass of the wide angle lens. "What you doin gettin so close to my boy?"
159, a two year old ewe and a first time mother, gives birth in the yard. I watched her circle, lay down and stretch as she contracted. She got the two front hooves out and the nose of the lamb in a normal presentation. After more contractions her progress slowed—the lamb was large—I would help her deliver it.
She let me get close to her as do many ewes in delivery. I knelt beside her and pulled one hoof forward, then the other, unlocking the knee joints. I grasped both legs and pulled them down in a circular fashion toward her hooves—out came the lamb. Like the proverbial spanking of a newborn, I swung the lamb forward and dropped it before her nose. It was still for a moment then shook its head and took it's first breath. 159 began to lick her lamb
All was well. But it was to snow later that night; Dominique took the lamb and held it like a carrot before the mother to draw her along as she walked to the barn. Sheltered from the elements, 159 would dry the lamb with her tongue then get it to her teat for it's first nourishment.
A day later we find a good mother and a good boy who will grow into a big Saxon Merino ram.
Here the lamb is at 6 days of age.