Saturday, February 28, 2015

Too Soon

I was so worried about more lambs freezing in the way back that when I saw a black ewe with one lamb at the end behind the old stanchions I got ready to move them forward.  I noticed the placenta had passed
 and the lamb was standing, yet still I waited a while, maybe a half hour to make sure they had mothered up.  I got Matt to help me, always good to have an extra pair of hands with my monster sheep the size of ponies.  We caught the mom and right away she started freaking, so unlike the little ewe from this morning who had followed me quietly all the way through the barn to her pen in the maternity ward.  This girl wouldn't follow her lamb held at eye sight.  She bucked and kicked.  Matt had her by the halter and couldn't make her move.  She lay flat on the hay, panicked.  I took the lamb to the safety of the maternity ward and put her in the pen with lovely fresh hay underneath.  Her wool was glistening black from the bath she received from her mother's loving tongue.  Back to the ewe and Matt who was with her.  I looked at her back side and saw hooves sticking out!  She was trying to birth a twin when we interrupted her!  Here I was trying to prevent a disaster and I was making one!  She was not trying to push it out so I helped her.  The head was right there, so I reached in, capped my big hand around the top of the head and pulled downward.  A long black submarine of a ram lamb slid out.  I wiped the nose and mouth and laid it next to mom.  She was so upset about the manhandling she totally ignored it.  Matt wisely said, wait a minute, give her time.  The lamb quivered and shook a bit, then made a sound.  She answered back.  I decided to take the lamb to the pen and come back and help Matt with her.  She didn't make it easy.  In a perfect world I could have left her to come to her babies when she was ready, but in a barn full of sheep, in the dark, on a night with plunging temps, I wanted them all together, on fresh hay, with molasses water to invigorate her, and where I could check on them.  We pushed and pulled and finally got them together.  I thought, oh, no, she will reject the ram lamb in favor of the ewe lamb she had first.  I gave the lambs a shot of Nutridrench and left them alone to mother up.     As I walked away I saw mom munching on hay.  Good girl.   I'll go out and put their sweaters on now and hopefully she's calmed down.  Good intentions on my part got in the way of what would probably have been a normal maternal bonding.  Maybe she'll forgive me with a dinner of cracked corn.  Maybe.

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