It was a long week. The sheep keep having babies. We need to tag and band babies but want to wait until all the lambs are actually born. We peer out at the flock on a daily basis but haven’t been doing daily walk throughs. Last Tuesday I went out to put away the horses. We have been bringing them in so they don’t founder. Both horses were out in the pasture standing over a brown lump and refused to come. I walked out and spotted a ewe in labor with a lamb under her alive. I headed back to the house to get some towels and gloves. Once inside the house I informed AnnMarie about the problem. The ewe most likely had at least one other lamb stuck inside her. I grabbed two of the shoulder length vet gloves. I figured I would only need one but brought an extra just in case.
AnnMarie came out to hold the ewe. The ewe got up twice but AnnMarie finally got a hold of her and I then had to figure out how many lambs were stuck in there. I had to take off my coat and lay on the ground in my tshirt. As I tried to reach inside and ascertain the situation I stimulated the ewe causing the contractions to escalate in frequency and strength. I could feel the back of a lamb but could not push it back inside. After about 10 minutes of pushing and fighting I managed to pull out one dead lamb. It was very big and then I pulled another one. I was pretty certain I had them all, but I was informed that I had to go back in and make sure. The smell and gore was not pleasant. I was right and there was no more dead lambs. We backed off and she managed to keep her head up. We almost pulled the lamb off but she kept her head up. The baby was at least 24 hours old and very strong.
The next morning we saw her walking around with the baby. The same thing happened that evening. All was looking good. The next evening I walked out to check on her I found her dead behind the lamb shed. We caught the baby and took her inside. She was doing fabulous and needed no formula. We called our house keeper and she came to pick up the bummer lamb. It was a little girl and the cutest black and white mixed color. We were sad to see her go.
The dead ewe had to go up to the barnyard bone pile, one final tractor trip.
This is not the most glamorous portion of taking care of animals. But it is necessary.