Another Lamb

A very young (less than a year old) and skittish Tunis ewe had her first lamb last night @ 11:30 p.m.  I *was* going to just let them out on pasture as there was only one lamb to keep track of, but the lamb took off running away from mom baaaaaaaing at the top of his voice sounding for all the world like a baby crying.  Mom let out a bellow and took off running after him.  She was able to catch up with him after he ran into a tree and knocked himself down.  I put them into the lambing pen (with the hen glaring up at me in the glow of the flashlight) vacated that very morning by Dolly and Lazarus.

The lamb continued to circle the pen while screaming at the top of his lungs followed anxiously by his momma, and he showed no signs whatsoever of wishing to learn the art of nursing.   I figured that given a little bit of time to settle down, both would figure out what to do. 

This morning, I heard momma’s loud and anxious cry when I went out to feed.  Wuh oh.  I ran out to the pen.  No lamb.  What?  I searched the pen again.  No lamb.  Finally, I heard a weak “baaaaaaaa” and found him behind some old chicken cages. He’d managed to squeeze out through a small separation in the panels (probably knocked apart by the horse who had jealously gone in and ate the fresh bedding I’d put in for Dolly just before I had evicted her).  At any rate, I hadn’t noticed the separation at midnight with the only illumination being from the flashlight.  He was lying trapped in a small space in a puddle of water but amazingly, quite alive.  I put him in with his momma, expecting him to immediately run to her udder and feed.  Nope.  He still hadn’t figured out where milk comes from.  *sigh*

Flipping momma over on her back (which I should have done last night), I made sure he was fed.  Momma was amazingly touchy about her udder.  Indeed, it was small and almost completely obscured by her belly and leg wool.  Dang.  I went inside, got a scissors, and trimmed the 4″ long belly wool around her udder and inside her rear legs in the hope that that will help him locate the udder but just in case, I’ll go back out in about an hour to flip momma over again and lift her up so she’s in a sitting position and can’t kick junior in the head while he’s eating.  Oh, my aching back.  

Lazarus just played with his midnight bottle last night, sucking a little bit from the bottle, running back to momma, back to bottle for another taste, then back to momma.   He wasn’t interested in a morning feed.  I’m not sure whether that means Dolly’s milk production has increased, or he’s been quite successful in sneaking milk from other ewes, probably the latter.  

My ewe lambs haven’t been any trouble whatsoever. 

Update:  Hold that thought on ewe lambs being no trouble whatsoever…..

I checked on the dummy lamb who was asleep after being assisted yet again to eat.   I glanced over at the maternity/new mother barn and my heart froze.  There were a pair of back legs hanging down limply out of the hay feeder, with the front of the lamb’s body lying motionless on the hay.  How had a lamb managed to get up there and get killed?  Was it crushed by a ewe?  I ran through ankle-deep mud in my good running shoes and the clean jeans I’d just changed into to go to town, vaulted over the fence, and grabbed the limp little body who was startled awake.  Apparently she had lept up there from the back of a snoozing ewe and, finding herself unable to go forward or back, decided to take a nap.


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