Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Day 4: Sheep and Steve

We made it to day 4! Today was particularly interesting. It was our first chilly day, the first few days were humid and unusually warm for Iceland. There was a bit of wind today and the horses that reside in the pasture behind the house were having a blast whipping their manes and running with the wind. We were not loving the wind as much as we fought against it to get to the barn. The first thing we did when we arrived was check in on our orphans. They are officially named Annie and Steve. Steve is named after the Icelandic student that is also joining us for lambing. His real name is Stefan, there is a story behind why he goes by Steve, Dana will fill you in later on Steve's story.
Jess with Steve and Annie (Steve is in the front, Annie is sneaking behind Jess)
They started in this basket and got an upgrade because they frequently jumped out of the basket to wander around the barn scaring us.
I must have jinxed myself when writing about the complicated lambing yesterday because today was full of complicated births. Having a lamb positioned hock first (like yesterday) would have been welcomed. Dana had a ewe that was expecting twins and the first lamb never entered the birth canal. Being pushed by mom, the lamb kept twisting inside the uterus until it was upside down and backward. Dana got a great workout repositioning the lamb. The second lamb was also twisted. By the time Dana got to the second lamb the mom did not want Dana to leave, so she sat on her. 
An exhausted Dana was cleaned up by mom and released once mom turned her attention on her new lambs. Jess had to deal with a lot of yearlings today (teen moms). She had difficulties with the mother fully dilating and being able to fit the large horn buds through the pelvis and having them scream in her ear constantly. 
I keep writing about horn buds and that they are difficult to get past the pelvis. I thought I would provide an example of what we are dealing with. 
These two ram lambs caused a lot of trouble for the young mom who was helped by Snædis's dad because it required an expert to get them out. My most interesting experience was one ewe that passed her water sac. I was ready to go, but she was not. She was not having visible contractions, so I gave her some time. I made another round around the barn and still she was not doing anything. I went in to check and found that her three lambs were completely tangled. I felt a head on one side, read end on another side, and a lot of legs. Snædis assisted me in getting each one out in a safe position but it was exhausting for us and mom. All three lambs were healthy and standing within a few minutes which was a huge relief! We were very successful today in not losing any of our lambs *knock on wood*. 
After lambing, we continue to check in on the lambs and ewe. There needs to be regular udder checks, checking the lamb's belly to make sure they are nursing, and checking the lamb's hindend to make sure it is clean. Here is my follow-up with the very sweet ewe from yesterday and her two lambs. 

This is the little guy that caused mom so much trouble during lambing.
We had a bit of a lull at the end of the day and got to take part in the cutting down of the rams' horns. They have a select few that have horns that grow towards their heads. Summer horn growth averages 2-3 inches, which could mean death for some of them. Helgi uses saw wire because it is safest around their eyes and easier for the person (as compared to a manual or electric saw). The only gross part is the smell of smoking horn (it smells equivalent to when a horse gets it horseshoes put on). All of the rams were very well behaved except for the one I took a video of (his name is Batman). Steve was the one that restrained them and Helgi is the one cutting down the horn. (There is no need for sound for the video unless you want to hear my awkward commentary on Batman). 
We ended the day a little bit earlier than yesterday, early enough to see the sunset! That being said it is still "the calm before the storm". 
video

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