Sunday, May 14, 2017

Day 7: Eye of the Lambing Storm

Well, remember that lamb with an umbilical hernia that we thought would need to be euthanized? We came in this morning to see it lively and jumping around with our orphans Steve and Annie. I did a double take, then asked both Sn├Ždis's mom and Helgi for confirmation. We left him last night with Annie and Steve in their "bucket" under the heat lamp. He was barely breathing with what we thought was intestines protruding from his umbilical cord. Steve and Annie snuggled with him and Steve, being himself, was caught suckling on the lamb's ear. Helgi came around later that night to euthanize him and was confused because he saw a healthy lamb with no hernia. Our only conclusion was that Steve healed him (most likely a misdiagnosis, but also likely Steve's healing powers). Not only does he have the power to cause ewes to go into labor when you walk him around the barn, but he also has the power to heal. Our lost lamb count has now gone back to 1 and Drogo has been adopted by a new mom after his mom (a yearling) rejected him.
(Our back from the dead lamb, Drogo)
(Steve and his mom Dana. Steve doing what he does best, suckling Dana's nose)
We have moved into the eye of the lambing storm and while doing morning feedings and into the afternoon we were monitoring and aiding many ewes in labor. 

(Lambs climbing into their hay feeder acting like Lukka, the dog)

We were constantly trying to transfer ewes and older lambs out of lambing jugs and into the adjacent barn to make space. We took wooden panels from around the barn to make tempory lambing jugs in order to meet the demand. Many of the older ewes needed little assistance and just needed us to swoop in once the lamb was out to get the mucus out of the airways, iodine the umbilical cord and give an antibiotic tab to reduce the risk of watery mouth (e. coli infection). It was such a constant flow, that we all lost track of the time were kicked out to go take a break and get lunch at 2 pm. We got our lunch and came back to more lambings. We also were visited by some families and tourists to see the farm and see the lambs because this farm is attached to the University here. (So think Witter but on a much larger scale.) This put some extra pressure on us to make sure everything went smoothly with all the visitors. While the barn was full of visitors I got to deal with a yearling that was not enjoying labor or the lambing jug and decided to join her friends by jumping clear over the fencing. I was able to get her back into an enclosure, not without a fight from her. She started to push the lamb out but, while this was happening she freaked out again and while the lamb was halfway out cleared the fence again while I tried to grab her horns with my slippery, lube covered hands. Again, I was able to get her back into the enclosure and she had her lamb. She was still anxiety ridden so I left her and her daughter alone and gave her some time to bond. She seemed to take to her mothering instinct once I was out of sight. But, her daughter seeing a chance to see the world squeezed in between the panels of the temporary enclosure and went to visit mom's friends. For the third time, mom jumped over the tall fencing to find her baby (I feel like this is some kind of record)! Helgi and I moved her to a more permanent lambing jug, one that her daughter could not sneak out of and *fingers crossed* mom does not try to jump out of. Thankfully all the visitors/tourists were distracted by Steve and his magnetism instead of watching me and my now not so favorite yearling. As we got towards the end of the day, I got to deal with the lambs and moms that had milk/milking problems. Many are that mom is producing a lot and develops a hard udder. The best thing for that is to push the lambs to nurse then rub a mint creme on the udder until it has softened. One ewe seems to enjoy the creme so much she leans into it as you apply it. One case, in particular, is the mother has developed milk fever. I have only seen this in cows so it was a new experience for me. Helgi gave the ewe the required medications and supplements to help her but she continued to be dazed and lethargic. Her lamb must be bottle fed every hour because mom has not produced any milk. I went to bottle feed the ram lamb and I noticed he still had milk in his belly. When the older lambs are moved out of the jug two ewes are usually paired together in a larger enclosure. The other ewe in the pen is very protective of the other mom and protective of the ram lamb. I caught the ram lamb nursing from the other mom. Hopefully this new mom continues to let the lamb nurse so that we don't need to bottle fed him so often. We ended the day late and headed back home to get a few hours of sleep before heading back for more. 

No comments:

Post a Comment