Lambing season is over on this farm! Our last lamb was born Saturday afternoon. I had to help the mama with this one. I came home from knitting class to find her walking around with 1 foot and a nose showing. I tried to be patient and watched her push quite hard, off and on, for over 30 minutes. Then I decided it was time to step in. First, I felt for the other foot and found it just inside. I was relieved that both front feet were present but knew she still needed help so I consulted Managing Your Ewe. The book helped me figure out that the lamb's elbows were probably bent and locked. Picture yourself with your hands up by your face impersonating a rabbit. That is basically how the lamb was positioned. What we want is more like a person with there hands up above their head ready to dive into a pool. Make sense?
So I sloshed my hands in some disinfectant and felt around for those feet again. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I had to pull really hard on each leg, both of which were very slippery, and there wasn't a lot of room to work! I finally pulled one leg out, then the other. My biggest fear then was that she would lay down or turn and damage the legs. Then she pushed again and the lamb came out in my arms. One more big push let it all the way out. I was so relieved when it started breathing! Mama did very well, the only problem was that it took her a long time to stand up afterwards. She was obviously exhausted. I moved the lamb up by her head and she did a great job cleaning it off until she finally stood up. I caught him nursing later on and he's been doing great every since.
So... 4 ewes, all first time moms, produced 5 lambs for us this year. Total count is 3 girls and 2 boys. The twins and the solid black lamb are all very sturdy looking and large. The first lamb born has had some trouble, first with an infected tail band and then with limbing due to, I suspect, a joint infection stemming from the tail infection. I've treated her with penicillin injections for the last 4 days and am going to take the wait-and-see approach now. I don't condone routine antibiotic use but won't let any animal gimp around like that when I can fix it. She is a lot better, only slightly less active then the others now. This last baby is doing great he is just a little on the small side and sort of knobby kneed.
We'll see how it goes but the plan now is to send the two males and possibly the first female to the freezer and keep the other two to add to our breeding flock. I'm not good at judging sheep conformation but feel very good about the twins and the black female, they look very good to me.
Have you ever had to assist with a birth? Have you ever tried lamb or mutton? Did you like it?
What started as a blog about the happenings here on our Centennial Farm has now evolved in to a little more personal account of things from my point of view as a new farm(er's) wife. Stick around for awhile and hopefully you'll learn a little about everything from industrial and sustainable farming to raising livestock to being green and maybe even catch a good recipe or two. Enjoy!
We're on our way out of debt and on to greener pastures...