Ewe #4 Lambed Today

Papa had taken the two boys with him so I could stop by the feed store and then into town to try to buy some fabric in peace which means that I wouldn’t have two little voices asking me for different things on each side of me and forget completely what it was that I was shopping for.

I was about to leave when I decided to check the ewes. Uh oh. One ewe wasn’t out in the horse pasture grazing like the others. She was in a sheep “holding area”. I can’t dignify it with the word “pasture” because the freezes of November, December and January killed the pasture back entirely, and just a shadow of green is on the ground as the sheep eagerly crop every bit of emerging grass back to ground level. Two ewes were in the vicinity of the sheep barn. I thought it might be the ewe who lost her lamb last night but then a little head poked up off the ground and ewe was vigorously washing it.

She was another “wild” ewe, which just means that with my work schedule over the past couple years I haven’t had enough time to get the lambs growing into ewes accustomed to being handled. She backed off when I examined the lamb, a healthy but smallish ewe lamb. Hmmmmm. Better stick around for awhile. So I waited….and waited…..and finally left to feed the chickens.

I was about to grab an armload of hay for the ewes that weren’t out grazing when I happened to glance out in the pasture. The ewe was lying down, resting. How odd. Then I noticed that her lamb was across the pasture. D’OH! I started running toward the pasture. Before I arrived, the ewe had gotten up and walked across the pasture to her lamb. I could see a lamb completely encased in the placenta kicking and struggling as it took its first breaths. SHIT! I jumped the fence, ducked through another, jumped over a little creek, and started cleaning the thick, mucusy layers clogging the lamb’s nose from the head of the now quiet lamb. The heart was still beating, so I hung it upside down, furiously trying to drain the mucus out of the nose and mouth, cursing because I didn’t have anything at all that I could use for suctioning out the airways. My clean go-to-town clothes had mucus and blood deposited all over them. Then the lamb sneezed and made a gargling “baaaaaaaaaaaaa”. More mucus draining and wiping. Finally it let out a loud, VERY indignant and strong “BAAAAAAAAAAAA”. I put it down and backed away. Mom was completely indifferent. She had her lamb and could care less about this one. Dang. I took her favorite and put it next to the other one, then backed off. She started cleaning it, so I went into the house to look for something with which to do some additional airway suctioning.

I never really used that turkey baster anyway.

I walked toward the house as SwampMan drove up with the two boys. The horse started licking the mucus and placenta off of me. She actually did a very good job. I’ll check to see if everybody is doing okay and then maybe I’ll head for town in these clothes anyway. It isn’t like anybody would be surprised if I showed up at the grocery store covered in any manner of barnyard substance.

Back out the pasture with camera to take a picture of the rapidly drying lamb (that double coat that Tunis lambs have is a nice feature. The hair dries off quickly and helps keep the lamb warm until the wool dries). Then back to the house to get ready to go, got sidetracked by relating the events, and just realized that I never got the hay out to the ewes. Sigh. Back out to the pasture….

Eeesh. I’m gonna have a lot of first time mothers this year and two less than yearling ewes who will not have bred (I hope). Probably gonna have a lot of lamb mortalities in a year when I really need the income from every one of their sales and a few to keep for replacements.

Mom, make it go away!!!!

Two-day-old lamb.

As usual, click on the pictures to enlarge.


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