Friday, February 01, 2013

Birthing

So here is how out of it I am. I thought the Super Bowl was last Sunday. Let's say lambing  has taken over life and since the ewes don't talk about the big game - and since they are our co-workers - both The Farmer and I are clueless as to popular culture. I did turn the t.v. on looking for the Super Bowl last Sunday evening but planning to hop on over to Downton Abbey. I was perplexed. Where the heck was it? I didn't bother to call anyone and ask because I was not really very interested except for the half-time show. But still....

Starting about Wednesday, I began hearing the media run-up and then I discovered my error. I was a week early. Now I have something to look for on Sunday night - Beyonce? I don't even know who is playing. At least I did the recipe prep for the "Super Bowl Appetizers - Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce and Chutney" for our lamb website ahead of time!

Here our big entertainment is of a different kind...... We are deep in muck at the moment. Hoping for the deep freeze overnight. Last week, The Farmer had to make a delivery of drill bits to Maine for his other biz - the one which we used to count on as the large part of our income! An order! Hallelujah! I was left to manage everything on my own. This is not my strong point. I admit. Give me some yarn and colors and needles, or some onions and garlic or a dirty floor.... I'm okay. But 2 barns full of PREGNANT sheep. OMG. 

We asked our friend Terri who is a delivery room nurse to help me out. She volunteers here during lambing season and is a seasoned veteran to birth and delivery. She doesn't mind the muck and thinks spreading hay out on a very long hay feeder is a "good workout." We love Terri! 

The Farmer left to head off to Maine and Terri and I managed all the chores - hay, grain, feeding bottle lambs, doing it the way that seems to work out. It is a routine and once you know the drill, it is easy. After chores we discovered a ewe who had gone into labor. The head of a lamb was hanging out. Not good - feet are supposed to be first. The head was enormous and the tongue was hanging out. I pretty much knew what we were in for. Terri pulled the lamb and unfortunately it was dead. Not a surprise - it was a HUGE lamb that most ewes would have a hard time delivering. Must be why I was told not to gain too much weight when pregnant with Julia - hence a difficult delivery.

After that sad occurrence, we looked up on the hill to see another ewe in labor. Quickly she spit out a sweet little lamb - albeit backwards! She cleaned it off and the lamb stood up heading back towards the ewe's udder. It was a small lamb and that is always a clue that there may be another lamb.


The ewe was still quite big and after cleaning it, she looked distracted. She sat down and started pushing.


Another lamb coming out - and backwards again!




It was very quick - a matter of less than 30 seconds. Whoosh.....


There it is....
 

The mama was an experienced mama and we could tell she wouldn't abandon her lambs. 
 

Terri picked up the lamb with such care. Checked the nose to make sure it was breathing, pulling off the birth sack from the nose, and slipped it closer to the ewe. 


The mama did the rest. Cleaning the lamb is one of the bonding processes and we don't interrupt this. Otherwise, the lamb may be rejected.





It was beginning to snow so we walked the new set of twins into the barn. We set up a nursery pen for them and hoped for the best. The mama was attentive but it was very, very cold. A few days in, the twins are doing okay. They hit a rough patch and were under a heat lamp for a couple days but they look to be okay now. 

There is a lot of life and a little bit of death during lambing season on our farm. It isn't always pleasant and sometimes I do not know how I ended up here doing this. But that's what I'm doing - trying to fit in some of my other work in the middle of all the lambing and helping out at the barn.  

14 comments:

Blonde said...

What great pictures of the birthing process! Thank you for letting us experience it!
As to sunday night, for me it's Downton Abbey all the way, the Super Bowl doesn't even come close! :-)

Thistledew Farm said...

Love new lambs....

philogirl said...

I understand everything you are saying. Kidding season is here and was fast and furious for a few days. Still not done. I think there are 14 live goat kids. I definitely don't have as many as you have. Good Luck!
Beth

Tina said...

You my dear are Wonder Woman, no I take that back, Wonder Woman would not hold a candle to you!!!! Great post!

Adaliza said...

Such huge responsibility - I'm in awe of you all. Animals & life & death all go together. We lost a 27 yr old pony yesterday - he belonged to my best friend and has been part of our lives for many years. So sad, but you have to be practical. He's going to be so badly missed though - he was a loveable, memorable character.

Mary said...

Wow, what an amazing thing to see! Thankful her two lambies are okay!

Cherie M in EP CO said...

Kristin, thank you SO much for taking time during this very busy season to take all these photos and then post them with explanatory comments. What a wonderful, amazing life you live. By the way, you got into all this by falling in love with the farmer

Auntie Shan said...

Super PICS!! -- I'll have to "bookmark" this post for when any of ThePROGENY happen to ask "where does YARN come from?"! ;-D

BTW, hope that ewe with the stillborn will be okay. A good thing you guys were around. Or, I imagine that you would've lost her too?

Glad to hear that you managed to get THROUGH that Weather!! We got the big Temp drop early Thursday along with some heavily gusting winds. Which, actually worked IN our favour! They DRIED up ALL of the MELTWATER! The Cold looks to stay a bit. AND the SUN was OUT!! - Was beginning to forget what THAT looked like!

oh, and you're not alone in your lack of "sports-viewing"! I didn't even know Who was playing! -- as if I honestly care... I'll likely end up being busy Shovelling when the Game is on anyway!

Meanwhile, try to get some "Rest" [yeah, I know "haha"] and give TODAY's Babies a Special "AUNTIE" Birthday Hug from me! :-D

Well. Must go back to making those "Escape-from-the-Paparazzi"-plans for the Groundhog...

Judy said...

You are an INSPIRATION!!! Thank you for the pictures and education. They are great. That's funny about the super bowl. Hope you and the farmer and Julia have a great weekend!

Elaine said...

Thank you, Kristin. The Farmer has an excellent, caring, loving partner in you.

Mimi Foxmorton said...

This is so beautiful!
Darla (my goat) is expecting and I'm a nervous wreck! :)

What sweet miracle pictures you've posted here. Thanks for sharing.

Have a great week!
(I though Superbowl was last week, too.) lol

Mimi
The Goat Borrower

Jenny said...

Wonderful post!

Caffeine Girl said...

Thanks so much for sharing these births. How miraculous -- and messy! I am impressed that you're doing this while The Farmer is away!

Amy said...

Oh how amazing to see the little guy come into the world.Wow, what a life you have.