Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tis the Season

For lambs!
On the morning of Saturday, March 12th, a full week before any of them should have been lambing, Eliza had twins, male and female. A few hours later, Misty also had twins, two ewe lambs. These ewes normally have triplets - that is to say that they have triplets more often than they don't - but its nice to see them have twins occasionally, they get a bit of a rest. Funny though, every year they lamb within a few hours of each other, and they always have the same number of lambs.
Poor ragged sheep, if you remember, my shearer stood me up last year, so these guys are wearing extra wool. I was able to shear a few of them myself. Eliza and twins.
Misty and twin girls..
Sunday morning found us once again scaring Gracie. She just will never believe that I don't want to eat her. Jari woke me up to tell me Gracie had one lamb on the ground and it didn't look strong, would I go give it a shot of B. When I got out there I realized that she wasn't done yet, but the first lamb was already nursing, so all was good... so far.
I was puttering around when I turned to look at this recalcitrant ewe; there she stood, looking at me like I was the devil, with a lamb hanging out. I called Jari in to help me help the ewe. I went out to do something, when I came back a few minutes later, Jari had Gracie down and was trying to determine the position of the lamb; just the head was emerging, no feet. It was stuck in the birth canal. The ewe wasn't helping, she just laid there like we'd already cut her throat, very typical behavior for her, until Jari put her hand in the birth canal, then she'd push. I took over and was able to flip one foot forward, then with the next push he was liberated. Two ram lambs, black as coal and soft as downy feathers. Me thinks there is a wool wether in my future!

First near disaster of the season diverted, enter Honey, stage left.
Honey is the only Tunis ewe I kept. I love her style - color, length, size, disposition - she's just a nice ewe. Great mom too. Usually. We had her in the 'barn', knowing she would be lambing soon, although my predictions are usually pretty spot-on, I was off by one; I said Eliza, Honey, then Misty would go. Anyway, Honey started laboring, I put her in a jug, watched as she laid down, strained once, the lamb pops out and... Honey didn't get up. She lay there talking to a lamb she couldn't see, and wasn't getting up to check out. I pulled the lamb around in front of her, questioning her in the process, and she started licking the lamb. OK, all good for now, could be a bit before the second is born (I had no doubts that there was a second lamb), so I went in the house to do 'other stuff'. I went back out in 15 minutes or so, and there was the second lamb, laying in the same spot that the first one had lain, with Honey contentedly 'chatting' with the first lamb, and lying in exactly the same spot. The first lamb wasn't very vocal, and the second wasn't doing anything, although I knew she was alive. I got Honey up and pointed the second lamb out to her, she started licking a bit, not very vigorously. ...this is the great thing about blogs, I just realized, typing this out, that none of them were very hale; the ewe wasn't her usual mothering self, the first lamb is healthy but not thriving; the second lamb just last night found her feet, which is the other half of the story, or as Paul Harvey would say "the rest of the story...".
The second lamb couldn't gain her feet. As I said on my Facebook status, she was the lamb that, if she had not been born in a barn, wouldn't have lived through the night. She struggled to get up, but only managed to push all the straw out from under and around her, till she was lying splay-legged on the cold, concrete floor. I would pick her up, aim her at a teat, she would find it, tentatively suckle for three or four seconds then let go. Vitamin B-Complex and Bo-Se were given, we made sure her mouth was warm and helped her nurse every hour or so, until bed time. She was doing OK, as long as she was on her feet she looked like her brother, if she fell over or got pushed over by her mom, she couldn't get back up. So this is already a long story, but I'll shorten it a bit... with a little help from my FB friends (and real life friends, Laura and Correy) I dosed her with some lamb drench for vitamins A, D, and E, then after acquiring a feeding tube in the guise of a catheter, we milked Honey (gotta love that pump!) and got about 4 ounces of colostrum into her. As of last night, she is still not as hale as she should be for three days old, but is getting to her feet like an old pro. Yay!
Two more ewes to go!


Michelle said...

Wow, that IS a strange story about Honey. Did Laura and Correy have any suggestions as to what the problem might be that would cause all three to be less than energetic?

Purple Fuzzy mittens said...

That first image is gorgeous!

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Thanks Amy, I occasionally get one like that :)

Jody said...

Your daughter is pretty handy with the lambing! Beautiful lambs...congrats Becky. We have had 9 lambs born to two ewes since yesterday!More to come!

Kathy Withers said...

The mom could have had ketosis. Usually a couple of handfuls of grain after delivery will help. If the mom had been getting up less than usual prior to delivery, this is sometimes the case. Babies will be weaker and mom will be listful for a few days.

Kathy said...

So...what kind of sheep are you raising now? (since I saw the comment about only one Tunis left...)
I'm still waiting for one to POP any minute now!