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The Science of the Lambs
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Is there a scientific explanation for what happened yesterday?  If so, then science is the art of explaining the highly improbable.
For starters, we have only five ewes that could potentially get pregnant.  (The remaining three are too young.)  As we've said in the blog, one ewe gave birth a few days ago.  But yesterday, three ewes gave birth within the span of a few hours.  And if you trace backwards the necessary events, you realize that all three chose precisely the same day of the year to ovulate and breed with the ram, and the ram chose that day not to shirk his ramly duties as he is sometimes wont to do.  For our ram, every weekend is Superbowl weekend, and every patch of shade is the equivalent of an overstuffed couch:
And so, given his overall energy level, this minor miracle grows a little less minor.  As for the ewes, they typically throw white lambs as befitting the breed standard.  But this year, the wool color genes went awry and the only sheep to birth a normal white baby yesterday was --you might guess it-- the only black sheep we own.  The other ewes went for more daring colors:  one new lamb has enormous brown spots and the other looks like he is sporting a camouflage pattern in blues, grays, and black.
Here's the only normal-colored lamb from its abnormally colored mother:
Here's the spotted lamb:
And here's the weird camo pattern that, combined with the startling raccoon eyes,  calls into question the moral character of this ewe: