Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lambing - The Happy and Sad moments

This is a happy picture. 8 lambs born in the last 24 hours. I love to hear them call out to their mommas. I was FINALLY able to witness a birth of twins last night. I sat down in the hay and I just waited it out. 90 minutes later I had witnessed the birth of a boy and then a girl lamb. I now understand what a normal twin birth process looks like!!! YEAH!

That was the happy story. When you raise sheep you know you will have some sad stories and that's the next story.

When I started this blog, I mainly did it so that friends and family could keep up with the farming life and it was a matter of efficiency for me. If someone were to say to me "hey, what's new on the farm?", I could say "um- have you been keeping up with my blog postings? I can't handle telling the same story 20 times".

Along the way I somehow made friends with other people around country and the world and so I realized that I can't just tell all the fun and rosy parts of farming. At times I need to tell the brutal truth and talk about the parts of farming that suck. This posting is about what happened last Tuesday night-- one of those nights that sucked.

It is lambing season for us. Now when a mother gets ready to lamb, they go off to a corner by themselves, they make a little nest of hay, etc. You can tell. Well, the other day this ewe either didn't do the normal behaviors or we missed it or she was trying to give birth while Mike was running errands.

By the time we had dinner and went to feed the sheep, Mike saw her. Thank goodness he did because this mother was not off by herself but with the pack. What Mike noticed- brace yourself- was that she was running around with a baby lamb's head poking out of her.

So we had to catch her and turn into vets. I talked to the mother and petted her head. I then assisted Mike as we figured out how to deliver the lamb. Thank god Mike can handle these things. I pass out when I give blood but I was proud of myself and I hung in there and made it through to help him. Mike was just amazing. I don't know where he gets these nerves of steel. He was in the Marines but I don't know if it's from that training or he just was born that way.

He managed to figure out how to move the lamb so that he'd slide out and somehow we managed to get the big boy out and keep the mother alive. She was definitely in a state of shock. But after 10 minutes she was back up and eating- thank goodness. We have no idea if the lamb was delivered stillborn or if the lamb just couldn't make it out. Ugh. Our farmer friends told us that some years you are lucky and sometimes you have birthing issues. The mom is doing fine in case you were wondering.

After this sad birth we did have 11 more good births in the week that followed and led to the picture of the cute lamb in the picture.

Total of 14 lambs so far since January and about 34 more ewes to deliver.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Annette, I just finished reading "Hit by a Farm" and she described exactly the same thing--head sticking out, tongue swollen, mom just strutting around. But she was fortunate that the lamb lived.
I know you're in the book business so this is a great read if you're interested. I appreciate all the stories, good and bad. I can live vicariously through you! BTW, we're getting honeybees! That's as far as my little farmette can go: chickens and bees.