Sunday, April 15, 2007

sun shine

I will say it helps to have is also very nice to have temperatures rising...instead of falling. I like rain. It is necessary for grass to grow. But so are temperatures above 30 degrees. Ho ho ho, we had some casualties from the cold weather. I'm cold, tired, and cranky....well, no, actually I am pretty happy now. I will say that the last birth over the weekend helped.

Not the last birth of the season....just the most recent birth. I was this sticking my arm in and trying to pull out what we thought were dead lambs. Just goes to prove that even experienced shepherds haven't been tested in all situations. Think about it. The ewe involved, was fully bagged....a crease was down the middle of her udder, which showed that it was now overly fat. She was spending time alone in the barn kicking at the floor. When placed in a jug, more to protect her from wild ewes forced inside in the rain....she stood leaning against the wall....grinding her teeth while her dropped tummy sides contracted....and then she staggered to the floor to push with her legs. So all night, with half hour bed checks....she alternated between pushing, grinding her teeth, and curling into a fetal position on the floor in the cold. Now it is twelve hours....and no bag or goo is appearing. The experienced shepherd thinks....dead lambs....bad position. So, with the help of another experienced shepherd....who happed to be visiting....we felt the belly for kicking....I entered the other end to see if there was a lamb part or a bag. Nothing in the birth canal. No goo....a very tight cervix. An hour later we checked again. No more pushing....the ewe could hardly stand leaning agaist the wall, as she grinds her teeth. A call to the vet....typical. Now we were getting to the point where we knew something was wrong.
The question was, how long we could let her go before we had to go in and try to lighten her load. We had plans away from home. Did we pull out whatever was there before we left....or after we got back? Always the thought was in the back of our minds that possibly the ewe just didn't like pain....and wasn't that far along in the birth process. So we opted for the wait and see.

YES! That was the right decision. When we returned there was a single full grown lamb all wet...standing and being cleaned by a proud mom. Truthfully....I doubt that I could have pulled that lamb out. The size meant the head would have been hard to find, and harder to hold. The cervix was still pretty tight. If the lamb or lambs were is likely in this rural area...that the ewe was lost too.
It might have helped to manipulate the cervix and stretch it. It likely helped that I didn't try to puncture the bags which were right inside the cervix....obviously, the time was near....or I wouldn't have gotten my arm inside. After 24 hours, I believe the area no longer stretches. So any decision beyond the demise of the ewe had to be made soon. but this time we guessed right....yaay! nice to only have one problem...not two. The second problem I have is a ewe with twins and a very bad mastitis....I hope she makes it. The lambs deserve better than a bottle. But one problem solved itself....and that and the sunshine make this shepherd very happy.
Good lambing to you all. Don't worry about problems that aren't there....and enjoy the rich rewards of those precious lambs that are on the ground.


At 6:42 PM, Blogger Pat's Place said...

I love the little white one with black spots...adorable. How big are they when they are born? Bigger than a cat, smaller than a ___ ?


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