Tuesday, April 07, 2009

spring spring, seeing double

Well, it's been a week since our first lambs arrived. May I say, like mother, like daughter. We all have been hit by this latest cold spell. Sunday started out OK, then the winds came up and the temperatures dropped like the proverbial rock.
Like her mother, the Sunday before, Chocolate Torte decided it was time. Like the yearlings, she chose an inaccesible spot, where no one would bother her. This was a steep hill, with a mud ledge under a tree. In the full force of the freezing winds, new mommy proceeded to lay down and push out first one ram lamb, then before we spotted her, a second ram lamb. My yearlings usually have singles. My yearlings are wild as the winds too. Grabbing the wet muddy lambs and setting them down at the bottom of the hill didn't seem to work. Mom ran baaing around the barn, complaining that her babies were stolen!
I thought perhaps I could catch mom by her long tresses and drag her to a pen. So, I laid the lambs on the hay in the barn, and went to catch mom. All the other ewes thought it was fun to run over to the helpless lambs in the chase. I stood my husband by the fence panels, and carried the second and vocal wet lamb towards mom. She backed up. I decided to chase mom with the wet dripping lamb. That worked, I got mom and a lamb into a pen, and closed the gate.
Then I went to get the first lamb. He was still wet, but was obviously first. His legs dangled and stood out at odd angles. I put him next to his younger brother and went to get the bose.
When I returned, the second lamb was up and chasing mom in the required yearling round and round....trying to get fed. The first lamb was still laying in a heap. No efforts to stand. Perhaps she had rolled over on him during the second birth on that ledge. I decided to try a warm bottle, since his legs and feet were icy cold. I pried open his cold mouth and stuck in the nipple. Nope that wasn't happening.
Here is where Suzie saved another lamb.
Of course, mr i-am-cold-and-weak was the flashy one. I grabbed him and went into the house. Suzie had showed me how to tube. I had the tube marked, I remembered it took two, one to hold the lamb on his side, the other to thread the tube down past his lungs and into his stomach. He seemed to suck the tube into position. I fed him as much as I thought would help. maybe 4 or 6 ccs.
He was still cold, but seemed to hold his head up. I warmed his legs, then took him back to mom in a towel. I figured if he could crawl out of the towel on his own, he might get better. A half hour later, mr second born was eating, and mr first born was laying on the hay under mom's good-scented parts. I grabbed him again. This time I tried a warm bottle. He sucked that dry in seconds. We sat by a footstool, and I propped some of his legs into an upright position. By the end of the movie, he could stand if I propped his rear. Finally he stood alone for a few minutes. Back to mom, he was wobbly on the bumpy hay in the jug, but after more watching, he decided he had found the important parts.
Thank goodness for Suzie. For her teaching me what to do....for sending me the right equipment. For a good result. This is Milkyway and Coco's second day. The winds are dying down. The freeze warning lifted at 9 am. I have 4 lambs on the ground, and one more ewe to go.
Tell me again why we do this?
What fun?
Happy spring, from an aging shepherd, who is very glad she isn't having 86 lambs this spring.
Who says you can't teach an old shepherd new tricks?
Peeps, even count, two and two.
Happy lambs to you all.


At 3:50 PM, Blogger Pat's Place said...

How is it that you seem to have the weirdest circumstances??? One of our SJA fellow grads has a hard time believing your stories. Who ever woulda thunk it way back then?

At 10:22 PM, Blogger Gail V said...

Hi Peeps!
It was nice to read your last few blog-posts, interesting writer that you are. Hmmm. . . tubing a lamb. I've hoped I never have to. . . but you do remind me to hurry up and get a few lambing supplies-- the babies will start coming next Thursday or so.
It's nice in MN this week, and I bet it's even nicer there. Take care, old shepherd friend.

At 11:48 PM, Blogger Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

Wow, where have I been? I totally missed this post! BAD ME!!! AND YAY!!!!! LAmbs!!!!!!!!

At 7:09 AM, Blogger Justin Spencer said...

I would like to get in touch with you, if I could. I couldn't find an email address for you. I have a small flock of Shetlands in southern Missouri (just west of west plains) that I got mostly from Angela Rountree. I am looking for a calm ram or ram lamb that carries spots. If interested or know of anyone that would be my email is sunburstranch@earthlink.net



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