The veterinarians from UC Davis VMTH were here on Monday. The VMTH sponsors the State Fair Nursery so they will come here to ultrasound ewes. I will be breeding 3 or 4 ewes at the same time as all the others are lambing. This fall, while I was breeding ewes to 6 different rams I also had a non-breeding group. Unfortunately, one of the rams got in with that group on the last day of my breeding season. I gave the 2 ewes he bred the sheep equivalent of the morning-after pill, so Monday was the day to see if it had worked.
No! Shelby is pregnant with a single and Mary has triplets. I think this is the photo of triplets. (If you must know, I can’t always tell what I’m seeing in these.) By the way, a lamb at 42 days gestation is about the size of a gummy bear. That’s not something that you find in a veterinary text, but vet students have pointed out the relationship to their teachers.
Here is one that I could see. There is a large (relatively) single lamb here in the middle just under that dark line. (It doesn’t show up in this photo as well as it did seeing it on the screen.)
While the vets were here I showed them a wool sample from the fleece of a ram lamb, Presley.
It isn’t all that obvious in this photo, but can you see that distinct change in color and texture at the bottom of the locks? It is not weak at that point, but the fleece definitely changes color. That is the cut end, so the change occurred a couple of months before shearing. I thought that maybe this related to selenium deficiency or some other mineral issue. We looked at the ram.
This is Presley, taken in mid-September. One observation of mine is that he won’t register as a lilac ram, but his fleece is the brown/gray of a lilac and definitely not black and white. (In this photo the dark wool just shows sun-bleaching, but when you look at the fleece sample you can see that is is not black.) However his facial markings look black. I think this is what some people are calling a chocolate lilac. This is Presley now. Take a look at his horns.
I hadn’t noticed before, but all 4 horns have a ridge in the same place and the vets wondered if this related to the same conditions that caused the change in the fleece sample. When you look back at the first photo of Presley from September 17 you see that his horns are smooth. I posted a video of Presley taken September 24 that shows what I think is one of the many possible symptoms of bluetongue. The last two photos were taken 3 months after that. Did the illness result in the change in horn growth and the fleece observations? It is not any matter of earth-shaking importance, but I find it an interesting idea. My simple question about the fleece has led to a lot of other inquiries.
We looked at the rest of the rams while the vets were here.
The reason that I asked the vets about Presley’s fleece is that I had remembered seeing another fleece with the same discoloration. I had taken a photo of it at the time.
I have no answers yet (except that Mary and Shelby won’t be going to the fair), but I’m going to examine the rest of the fleeces as I sort through them and I think I’ll pay more attention to horn growth after this. I’ll report back if the vets give me any answers.