In the last 24 hours we have had 3 sets of twins. Lambs are always a special time of year, but for these three ewes it is especially sweet.
Last year 4 was the first to lamb. We went out of check on lambs at about 3 in the morning, while she was in the process of delivering her first lamb. The lamb was weak, and Jesse and I spent about 45 minutes trying to revive the lamb. In the end we lost it. As we were discussing the loss 4 delivered a second lamb. It was better, but as we continued to stay in the barn the lamb went going downhill. We continued to work with the lamb, but again, in the end it was lost. In retrospect the lambs were probably in the womb too long during labor and were born with amniotic fluid in the lungs. It was our first lambing that we had on the farm, and for us it was a blow. But, it was exceptionally hard on 4. She mourned her lambs for weeks, bawling and sniffing in the area she lambed, it was heartbreaking, I have yet to see another ewe mourn like she did.
Jump to 2014. Jesse came home from work and getting the baby from daycare (I was 8.5 month pregnant last time). He noticed that 4 had two water sacs out and decided to let her labor unassisted for a while. After 2 hours there was no progress and he was not able to palpate her. The vet was called. The vet determined that 4 was not dilated but was in active labor and made the decision to pull the lambs. A male and female were successfully born, and 4 could not have been happier, she has been a wonderful mother; a much better outcome for her than last year.
Last year Bixler’s Girlfriend had a run in with Blerta and broke her leg just a few weeks before her due date. The break was set by the vet and she was segregated to heal before lambing. Unfortunately, she lambed two lambs, a male and female, that could not walk. We again, had the vet out, the lambs were given selenium and vitamin E, the male was starting to walk, but the female had a twisted back and head, she was prescribed 3 daily massages to help loosen up her muscles . The vet thought the cause was that the twins were twisted in the womb or were laying weird because the ewe was often laying down because of her broken leg. After a month of working with the lamb she was able to walk, and Bixler’s Girlfriend even took her back to nurse, continuing to raise her until weaning; Downy (named for her soft unwool-like wool) is still on the farm today.
This year Bixler’s Girlfriend had two healthy males and is proud to show them off.
In a much less dramatic story, Blerta must have had an early miscarriage last year and never delivered babies. We feared the same for her this year, but to our surprise she lambed a healthy boy and girl five days earlier than expected.
It is great that our lambing season has started with happy stories for these girls!
Lambing time is finally upon us. We typically start breeding after our county fair, which is the first week in October; this puts us due for March lambs.
There are a few chores that need to be completed before lambing, one of those is referred to as crutching. Crutching is the removal of wool around the rear end and udder of the sheep to aide in lambing and to get rid of any dangling wool that could be confused for a teat. If lambs try to suckle dirty, dangling wool, they could contract intestinal infections such as E. Coli that could be detrimental to a young lamb.
With lambs due in just a few days we spent some time crutching our ewes.
The seaman tells stories of winds, the ploughman of