I had to go out of town today for work so it meant something had to go wrong on the farm. It never fails to happen. Annmarie called first thing to say that the cows had gotten out. But before she could get the cows she had to go out and let the sheep out of the barn. There were two new moms and two babies. The first mom was wild and did not want to go in a jug so Annmarie used the cow panel to pen her and the baby in their side of the barn. The other mom was still in labor with a healthy baby next to her. Annmarie fed everyone and then took Zeke out to chase the cows back where they belonged. Zeke was a little over anxious and had to be called back repeatedly so he could stay focused.
He has had his foot dressing off for a few days now. His limp was getting worse so we took the dressing off. We had to wrap the foot so tight that Zeke could not get off but we forgot about his dew claw. He had a healed cut but ended up with a pressure sore by his dew claw. It is getting better every day, but hopping around on three legs for weeks has led Zeke to need some physical therapy. So we make sure to take him out with us every time we go outside so he can run around and get that leg strong again.
Once the cows were back out front everyone settled into their normal routine. Annmarie went out to the barn a couple more times and the ewe was still in labor every time with no new baby. She called and wondered when I was getting home. We decided that the ewe might need some help. I have never had to do anything like this before so we looked at some pen drawings on the internet about the potential problems and how to correct them. Luckily, a couple of years ago I bought some shoulder length gloves (they only come in packs of 100!) so I didn’t have to go commando! We brought ky lube but I told Annmarie we probably would not need it if there was enough discharge. We discussed whether this should have been done earlier but the ewe has to be tired enough for us to handle her and let us inflict this upon her. There were no exposed parts when I started. I figured it would be easy so I only put on the right glove. As a reminder, the human arm can only turn so far, that turn radius is seriously impaired when some animals vaginal muscles are clamping down on your arm. I had to stop and get the second glove. I found one leg but could not find the other one! I kept trying to find the other leg but it is not that easy “seeing” with your fingers on one hand. Every once in a while I thought I felt a baby move but I could never tell what it was. I finally managed to get two legs out and pulled, and pulled and pulled. Out popped a dead baby, Annmarie told me I had to go back in and look for a third baby. So I stuck my hand back in and pulled out a third baby that was deceased also. She told me I had to go in again to get the placenta. I told her it needed to come out on its own so I didn’t cause any more bleeding. A water sack appeared and then another black blob. I reached down and pulled another baby out! It was not moving, which was sad but it increased the odds of the ewe surviving. When suddenly it started to move, I tore it out of the membrane sack and the only thing we had to dry it was my jacket! I tried some straw but it was not working very well. Annmarie got it mostly dry and she moved it right next to momma’s head. Momma started licking it dry while she was laying down. After about 15 minutes she got up and Annmarie picked up both babies and moved them all in to a jug. The ewe followed the babies right into the jug. Momma started eating and drinking right away. She has the largest udder we have ever seen, her body was definitely ready for four babies. We are hoping everyone does well through the night.
The baby laying down is the one that was just born. This is not something I would like to do every day but it is amazing we were able to save a baby.