The Home of Beautiful Bluefaced Leicesters and Shetland Sheep

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Clueless in Potosi

I checked my BFL ewe Cassie at 5PM and she was just lying there! By 8 PM, she and her 2 babies were walking around with the rest of the flock. It always strikes me funny when you look down at the lambs and there's one you haven't seen before with a wet navel cord hanging down and slightly wet. I popped Cassie and company in a lambing pen, checked for milk, dipped navels and went in saying to Bill, "Cassie had those babies early so I can sleep all night". When I checked the little family at 11 it was apparent that the lambs had not nursed. They were crying and wandering around clueless about nursing. Oh no... the curse of the stupid baby! I have not had one of those in 15 years. There goes sleep.

These babies had no idea where milk came from or what to suck on. The little ewe had her little jaw so tightly clamped shut that I couldn't even get my finger in to squirt some of mom's milk. I don't usually work with lambs to get them to nurse figuring if mom has milk that will come naturally but these 2 were in need of nursing 101 badly. I got lamb A attached and he sucked but couldn't find the teat again on his own. He was full so I tried working with the ewe. She wouldn't open her mouth. I milked mom and gave the ewe 3 ounces. She knew how to suck so I went to bed figuring they were full and by morning they'd both be nursing. Nope, by morning they were crying and empty. Nursing 102 went better with the wee man. He got the idea and reattached on his own. YES! But little girl was still clueless, wandering aimlessly under mom. I filled her up again with mom's milk and went in for coffee. Now 12 hours old, little girl has finally figured out that there is a wonderful creamy reward for sucking on a teat. And she can find it on her own now. But in the meantime crawling around trying to get them to nurse has cost me my favorite pen knife and I will be out there with a magnet looking for it this afternoon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who Needs the Gym When You Have Sheep?

I am so tired of waiting for Shetlands to lamb. I've worn a path to their barn with only 4 lambs to show for all my walks.This morning I walked out to find a ewe presenting 2 heads and 2 legs! Never had this one before. It was Selah, one of my less friendly sheep too. Of couse after catching Selah, I discovered that 1 leg went with each lamb! Double great! It was one big log jam. I could just hear the lambs bickering about who would go first while pushing the other out of the way. Both lambs were breathing and looking at me so pushing one back in was not an option. I tipped Selah up and poured in a bottle of OB lube and tried pulling one lamb.... nothing. Panic was close. Trying the other leg and head got the results I wanted. Out pulled one lamb. The second shot out right behind landing about 3 feet across the pen. As I tried to get Selah on her feet she took off like a shot right through the gate I had left open (@#$&*@) accross the yard and down the road in traffic! She ran and I ran faster, trying to get ahead of her to open a pasture gate to at least get her off the road. Success! Selah munched grass with no intentions of going back to her lambs. I put the lambs in the sun and took Lillian to school hoping Selah would reconsider and go back to motherhood. Wrong. The lambs were alone and crying when I got home. Selah was 2 pastures away with the flock, so I hearded the whole flock back to the barn. When Selah heard the lambs something clicked. It wasn't immediate recognition but for some reason she began to answer the lambs. First quiet bleats then loud baahs. Suddenly she bolted back into the barn and began licking her lambs as though the last 90 minutes had just been a small temporary insanity that a few blades of grass remedied. Both lambs are nursing and Selah is a wonderful first time mother and I need a cup of coffee and a nap!