To say it’s been a busy past week and half around the farm is a bit of an understatement!
Our first delivery was a horrible, terrible, no-good thing. Aubrey was absolutely huge, we figured she would have two large lambs or even triplets. I noticed she was starting to go into labor and was chasing other ewes and chickens out of one of the hoop houses we had built. She would lay down, push, get up, lay down, push, get up… but she wasn’t progressing. I could tell she was tiring and was having a hard time getting up so we jugged her and checked her. She was only dilated just a little bit, so we let her keep working. We checked her again in about a half hour and found she was pretty much fully dilated but her membranes where still intact. So my husband decided to the dead and break her waters and oh my… There was soooo much fluid, we could visibly watch her shrink and were afraid we would get washed away in the flood. I have never seen so much fluid out of a sheep.
We checked the ewe to see how the lambs were presented but could only feel the tip of a hoof way in deep, so we let her work a bit more. When we checked her again, things had not changed and had to really work at getting the lamb out. At times we thought we had parts to two different lambs… After working hard for two hours we were finally able to get the little guy out. Unfortunately he didn’t make it, and after checking her again we found that was the only one. 😦
After some research we found out the ewe developed Hydrops, which means there was most likely something wrong with the lamb that made the ewe produce so much amniotic fluid. And since the ewe’s uterus was so stretched out from the amniotic fluid her contractions were ineffective. Almost always the lamb dies and the majority of the time the ewe dies as well. It has been reported in cows to actually split the pelvic bone from so much pressure. Others report that mamas die from malnourishment, once again caused from so much pressure of the amniotic fluid squishing the stomachs and the ewe not able to eat enough. So we felt fortunate enough that ewe lived, generally this won’t happen again and she will hopefully go on to have normal sheepy pregnancy next time.
Oiy, after that ordeal, I was a bit hesitant for the next ewes to lamb but so far just about every delivery has been about perfect! We have had a couple of deliveries with only one hoof and a head and have had to fish out the other leg. Lambs have been vigorous and up within minutes of delivery looking for food. We’ve had a couple of first-timers that weren’t too sure about this whole mama thing, but with a little time and a little help have turned out to be great mothers.
A little watcher…
Lots more lamb pictures to come!