OK, we're not talking about illegal rooster fights or dog fights, or dog races - nothing of the sort. We're talking what would happen is someone made a friendly wager on a female sheep - one that looked for all the world like she would have triplets, maybe more.
Naturally, she was a ewe in my son and daughter's flock. This was her first time as a mom-to-be. The people we bought her from assured us that she was from a line that lay down, almost always had twins, and milked well. But they didn't tell us to expect her to look like a balloon and sport a big udder some 30 days before she finally delivered lambs.
Of our eight ewes that were bred last fall, one aborted with a set of triplets she just couldn't handle. Another delivered triplet ewe lambs. Believe it or not, lady luck was smiling on us that day - the mom is our best ewe. Then came three more sets of twins and two single lambs.
That left Colorado, named because we purchased her at a sale from the Colorado State sheep flock. Hey, she must be smart if she was connected to a university, right? Don't forget the premise that all sheep aren't the brightest creatures in God's universe. Smart is relative when it comes to sheep.
She was one of the first two we penned in the lambing pens. And by more than a week, she was the last one to deliver. Her delivery date alone would have been a good thing to bet on. Unless, of course, you were on the wrong end of the ledger.
What everybody was excited about was how many lambs she would have. I knew fairly quickly that if there was only one, it would take more than dad to get it into this world. It would likely come only be C-section with the help of a vet. So one got low odds. Hardly anyone, including me, thought there was only one.
The longer she waited, the bigger she got. She literally was as wide as she was tall. And her belly tickled the straw in her pen. I threatened to call the vet to see what was the matter. But I asked my brother for advice instead. He raises many more sheep than we do.
"Is she eating?
"Is she drinking?"
"Does she get up and walk around"
"Does she chew her cud?"
"Is her udder hard?"
"Is there any foul odor around her posterior?"
"Then you only need to do one thing - have patience."
Turned out he was right. But after hearing of a set of quads born to another Southdown breeder this winter, anyone who saw her was saying at least triplets, probably quads. Right before the blessed event, one young lady, one who showed sheep no less, was convinced we were looking at quints.
Those would have been good bets to take if I was the house. Intuition, and maybe hope, convinced me it was just twins. Sheep only have two spickets per ewe. Three is a crowd. We're still feeding our set of triplets just to make sure they get enough milk.
Colorado finally decided it was time, and like all sheep, when she's ready, she's ready. She popped out one, then another. And that was that! No triplets, no quads. Just a nice set of twins; a ram lamb and a ewe lamb.
And to make the story even sweeter - they came on Valentine's Day!