A birth ewe will not expect
Christmas celebrates the miraculous birth of the Lamb of God so it’s rather timely another miraculous lamb has just been born in the South Waikato.
Less than three months after giving birth to her first lamb, a ewe has give birth to a second.
It was on a December Tuesday night that a sign was given to Lichfield’s Maria Paterson that something out of the ordinary was about to be born.
Unlike the Three Wise Men though, alerted by a bright star to the birth of Jesus, Paterson was alerted by the unusually full udder of one of her four ewes - a ewe that was due to wean her September 21 lamb.
When she went out to bottle feed one of her other orphan lambs, Paterson noticed the ewe’s udder was very large given she was soon to wean her lamb.
‘‘I thought geez your udder is big for a lamb that is nearly weaned. I didn’t think much of it at the time but now I know why,’’ she said.
The next morning her husband discovered a new lamb in the paddock.
Paterson said that meant the ewe, which on average are pregnant for 142 to 152 days, would have had to have been well into the pregnancy of her second lamb at the time of giving birth to her first.
‘‘Ewes normally cycle about February/ March and from what I have been told from a sheep farmer, cycle three times 20 days apart and only do it three times so obviously these sheep are a little different,’’ she said.
‘‘I called all my family and Vic Thomas who owns the sheep and he couldn’t believe it, he’d never heard of it before.’’
‘‘Both of her lambs have come out perfectly healthy and have been normal in size. She’s taken to her new lamb now though and lets it drink and pushes the other one away,’’ she said.
She’s since spoken to her vet who also couldn’t explain the strange birth.
‘‘Some might think I have genetically modified but I haven’t genetically modified anything,’’ she laughed. ‘‘I think it’s a Christmas miracle.’’ Paterson said one of her workers has however come up with a plausible theory.
‘‘They suggested the theory of two uteruses which would make sense because how could she carry two otherwise,’’ she said.
The Lichfield ewe with her two healthy lambs born less than three months apart.