Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New lambs

Single female lamb from Knobbyfoot

One of the twins from Anka

Anka's other lamb
I was trying to think why sheep seem to pick the worst weather to lamb and I have come up with a theory.  It's not scientific, but the only explanation I can think of (besides just bad luck) is that those bad weather nights are when the predators would have been huddled in their dens and not out looking for newborn babies to eat.  So last night we had a big storm, with thunder, lightning and snow, wind, hail, freezing rain.  Everything.

This morning when I looked out at around 7, it was still snowing, nothing happening with the sheep.  Then at 9:30 there were lambs.   Two ewes had lambed under the trees, and there were three lambs.   I grabbed all three and had Ben follow behind because ewes sometimes get confused when you are carrying their lambs- they will run back to the last place they saw them on the ground and then you have to start all over again coaxing them along.    With Ben there they did not have any thought of staying behind and my only problem was their anxious circling around me, the 5 inches of fresh snow, and three slippery wet wiggly lambs in my arms.  

There was one other ewe with the group, one who lambed last week but lost her baby, and we took them all to the barn, then Ben carefully sorted the ewe without a lamb back out.    The other two I decided to keep together because the flooding of the barn has left a shortage of dry lamb pens.  They already knew which babies were theirs and would gently butt the wrong lambs away if they tried to nurse.  They are pretty nice ewes though and not overly violent about it so I haven't worried about keeping them together. 

I kept going back out regularly all day to check Anka because she just didn't look right.   Her lambs were up and nursing but she looked uncomfortable, possibly straining and she hadn't passed the placenta.   Finally tonight I asked Dane to take a look because she had strings hanging down and was standing oddly.  I was afraid of a prolapse.   So we tied her in the aisleway and Dane took a look.   He thought there might be another lamb, so he got out his dish gloves (note to self:  get rubber exam gloves for home use).    After a minute of feeling around, yep, that's a lamb.   So much time had passed there was no possibility of a live lamb, but it had to be pulled.    Dane is a small animal vet, and so this was not something he's done since vet school, and then only with cows.     But he got the lamb feet turned right and with much groaning and straining (mainly from the ewe) he pulled the last triplet out.   Not a live one, but still it was a big relief to me that the ewe should be all right.     I gave her a shot of LA-200 (antibiotic) and will have to get some more and give her another one tomorrow.     

It's still snowing, not as hard now, but it sure doesn't feel like spring.  

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