Friday, April 2, 2010

Sunshine, maybe more lambs

It's been hard to want to post to the farm blog this week as our lambing results over the weekend became even more upsetting. But Sandra did ask (comment on previous-but-one post), so here goes.

There's only been one more lamb. Larkie, our otherwise too-stupid-to-breed sheep, who had been unfortunately impregnated when the ram got out last fall, had a very large misrepresented lamb that she labored long and hard with, apparently, from sometime after night checks last Sunday morning until just before breakfast.

She wasn't in labor when I checked in the wee hours, but when I went out again around six she had been in labor for a while. The bag had broken a couple hours before and the lamb was drying out. Head and feet were together, which is not the worst presentation, but it was a very large lamb.

I had to do the baling twine trick -- snagging the hoofs with the twine, pulling them out to unfold them, and then the head. It worked well enough, but the lamb was already dead.

So live lambs three, dead ones three. Our worst season ever.

To cap it all, after Tillie's affair on Friday, I then tried way too hard to feel for a second lamb. I didn't find one, but I spent way too long with my dirty great hand in Larkie's uterus, and after the difficult birth and the loss of the lamb, she's been upset all week. Dirty great is a form of speech -- I washed up with hot water and soap and had clipped my nails, of course. But I do have large hands. There's no infection, but the tissue remains a little swollen, and she's still very upset to not have a lamb. I tried putting one of Tillies hungry wains on her teat, but that didn't work for Lark or Tillie. So Larkie remains swollen-uddered, sore inside, and bereft.

Then to cap it all, the skies opened and it rained for four days solid, turning everything into a muddy mess or a swimming pool. The sheep took it all stoically, even Larkie, but we've been depressed.

Finally the rain ended early Thursday morning. By the afternoon it was beautiful, by evening the frogs were out in force, and this morning the birds were singing loudly for the first time in six months.

We have only a short Friday work day today, followed by a weekend in which one of us can be here 100% of the time, so the chances of something bad happening with the last two ewes, Molly and Nellie, are much reduced. Hopefully they give birth soon. Both are young, intelligent, and proven good mothers. The weather is supposed to be nice through Monday. The three lambs we have are healthy, even bouncy, although Tillie's two were skinny for their first few days because Tillie was so tired and not feeding often enough. Now they're thickening up. Maggie's Quinn, the one female so far and only keeper, is fat and sassy. All have reached the run-around stage, so we also have the comedic effect to cheer us up.

It should go better from here.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry..lambing certainly takes the highs and lows of livestock keeping to the extreme.

    The very best of luck with the remaining 2.

    Better weather always helps. : )


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