Dorset sheep, the type that roam around the UMass Hadley Farm, are known to give birth to one, two or maybe three lambs at once. However, on April 7, one of the farm’s ewes delivered not three or four, but five healthy lambs!
Students from the Animal Sciences program in the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (VASCI), Cris Wein (‘18) and Amanda Reilly (‘18), both on a pre-vet track, were ready to help deliver the lambs and assist in catching them, but the lambs sorted themselves out and were delivered one at a time. Two are being bottle fed while the other three are nursing in these early days. Multiple births run in the family of this ewe with her mother delivering four at one time. Mama is doing just fine with her new spring lambs, three ram lambs and two ewe lambs.
The Hadley Farm houses the sheep, poultry and goats used in the Animal Science Program. The animals on the farm help provide hands-on experience to undergraduates in animal sciences. The students in the VASCI program get this experience through their teaching labs and Animal Management classes.
The UMass Dorset Sheep Class was started in the Fall of 2005 by a group of students interested in learning more about working with sheep. When the sheep are sheared in the spring, the best wool is saved and woven into soft throws and blankets. These blankets are made locally and reflect the enthusiasm UMass students have for all the animals at the farm. Proceeds from the sale of the blankets help support the work of the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences and the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment at the Hadley Farm.
It seems that five more sheep may contribute to a chance for you (ewe?) to wrap yourself in this unique corner of the UMass story.