6 days ago
Its definitely 2020 at the farm. I had to assist with another lambing last night. I can't remember the last time I had to help two ewes lambing in one year.
This 5 year old ewe has been looking 'ready' for couple days. When I checked her after supper a lambs head was sticking out, right up to the shoulders. He was completely clean. (I suspect Bonnie helped with that). No sign of either forefoot.
I hate (HATE) going internal with a Shetland. They are so small and my hands are so big. But she was clearly tired from pushing so I decided to help.
I explored around the lamb's neck and found she was quite tight so a began by trying to help her open up wider by slipping my fingers inside along beside the lamb's neck and then widening by finger spread. That got her a little bit looser but not enough. Worse, I couldn't detect any feet in the canal so it wasn't a case of elbows back (the most common lambing problem).
I ended up elbow deep inside her womb before I could find a foot, so the legs were completely stretched backward along its body. Cupping one foot with my hand so as not to tear her womb I was able to slide the leg up and out. Then, pulling downward (sheep are curved on the inside, not straight) was able to safely extract the lamb.
The ewe was standing up through the entire process. I held her steady with one hand while doing obstetrics with the other.
She mothers him up right away and very shortly thereafter lamb number 2 made an appearance, this time with nose and two forefeet properly presented. The second picture shows lamb number one at her shoulder while she pushes. I guess he was right against her shoulder cuz every time she pushed he moved along with her as if he was pushing too.
I was relieved that number two was uneventful. Sometimes when lamb number one is having trouble coming out its because umbilical cord of number two is tangled about him. Pulling the first lamb then breaks the cord of the second lamb causing it to breath and inhale amniotic fluid and drown.
This picture is from this morning. All is well! ... See MoreSee Less
What a wonderful outcome of this scary scary situation Doug! I’m so happy to see those sweet lambs with their momma! Great job loving lamber!? Is that a word?🙃
Glad things worked out.....
Furthest corner of the paddock from the barn. At least rain stopped. ... See MoreSee Less
First Shetland lambing of the season. The ewe is 2 years old and has a male and female lamb to show for this, her second lambing.
It was cold and raining hard in the night and the ewe had already delivered, cleaned and fed the male in the barn before the I went to the barn for first chores. I could see the nose and two forefeet of the second lamb but she seemed tired and wasn't pushing much.
I guessed, correctly as it turned out, that both the lambs forelegs were back a bit, causing a bend at the elbows.The width of bend elbows combined with the head is quite 'thick' for the size of the birth canal. I straightened the legs and helped pull the lamb out. Big lamb. Mama screaming.
Most ewes I've had will pass a lamb with one leg back, given a little extra time and sometimes taking a break after pushing a while to start up again. And it's possible this ewe would have eventually delivered on her own, but since I was there...
The sire of the lambs is North Country Cheviot. It is interesting that the lambs are jet black like the mother. I've been finding most cross bred lambs have the traits of the sire, more so than the dam. Almost all of my lambs from a Cheviot sire on Shetlands dams look like purebred Cheviots, just a bit smaller. ... See MoreSee Less
They do occasionally. Not often on my farm, fortunately. When it does its likely because a Granny who hasn't lambed yet, but is close and her hormones have kicked in, steals a newborn lamb from its own mother. When the Granny has her own lambs she rejects the one she stole and the real mother has, um, moved on. I hate Grannies!. Usually an older ewe stealing from a first timer.
Do ewes ever reject their children? Goats do.
I hope I don't regret this.
Lambing 'officially begins tomorrow. No other early arrivals since the single the other day. This morning I put the sheep in the furthest paddock from the barn and I'm hoping to graze it today and tomorrow, with hopes no one lambs til Monday. Or if they do, that they lamb at night in the yard.
This is the last paddock to get an early light graze to it doesn't mature too fast. It will be close to three months before they are back here.
Its a long walk back to the barn carrying lambs if my plans go awry. And its also out of site from the house and barn, being on the backside of a hill so I can't keep visual tabs frequently enough to shoo someone back to the barn if I see her beginning labour.
What's life without a little risk! ... See MoreSee Less
First lamb of the season. A purebred North Country Cheviot ram lamb.
This is several days early, according to the computer, but it's not uncommon to have one or two disregard the calendar.
The mother is a Ewe Lamb (just turned a year old, first time mother) so a single is just perfect. She mothered him up nicely and I waited for several hours before leading them into a pen in the barn.
Ewe lambs can be tricky to move. They inherently know how to mother but there initial bond to the lamb is less strong than her bond to the place she lambed. More specifically, the place where her water broke.
All the years lambing on pasture, before the rise in coyote population, were much easier to manage. I would just quietly slip in and tag the lamb in situ and then leave and record the information. With the flock now spending the nights in the barn or barn yard it means leading the ewe and her lambs to the barn, most often from the pasture. Mature ewes don't often miss a beat and follow right along, but the first time mothers will follow a few steps and then turn and run back to the birthing spot.
For me that mean carry the lamb just a few steps, holding it close to ground level, and then stopping while it is still in smelling range. Once I see she realizes that's her lamb, then I move a few more steps. Repeat...
This little ram lamb was born over night or wee early morning just beside the barn it was less of a commotion moving them. ... See MoreSee Less