So today did not go so well. I knew Suzette was close to lambing since she’s been separating herself from the flock. So I stayed home today while Tom went to a swap meet and watched her. I did some gardening in the morning and then at 11:00 noticed she was scratching at the bedding and seemed to be getting closer to laboring. So I held off of eating breakfast and did barn chores so I could watch her more closely.
Around 11:30 she starting having contractions- they were pretty rare and she wasn’t pushing. Still no water bag so I decided to shear the old thin sheep that I was holding off on until the weather got warm. Since it was above 90 degrees I figured it was warm enough. Between each shearing I checked on Suzette- no change. I consulted Laura Lawson’s book “Managing your Ewe and her Newborn Lamb” and so after 2 hours I did an internal check on Suzette. Her cervix wasn’t completely dilated, and I couldn’t feel the lamb to check position. So I waiting another 1/2 hour and check her again- her cervix had dilated more and I could feel a hoof and an ear so I knew the lamb wasn’t breech and Suzette was still making progress. The bag was still intact so I decided to eat something- it was past 1:00 now.
And then went back to check her. This time I felt her and the bag broke and meconium came out. So then I knew we were in trouble. I found the two front legs and pulled put no head. So I found the head was upside down from the position it should be in. I tried several times to reposition it- but no luck. I ran to make a lamb puller and came back. I then was able to grab the head, partially reposition it and pull it and the feet. It was a tight fit but finally I was able to deliver the lamb. It wasn’t breathing. I tried to stimulate it and swing it. No breaths. I tried to give it mouth to mouth no response. I tried swinging it more vigorously and then brought it into the feed shed. I listened with my old stethoscope and found a heart beat so kept trying mouth to mouth. I cleared the mouth with the suction bulb tried again. I tried drying and stimulating nothing. Then I listened again- still a heart beat. Then I listened to my arm- same heart beat. I was hearing my own rapid pulse. I tried to feel a beat in the chest, in the rectum and umbilical cord-none. Then I noticed the umbilical cord as really short. At this point I gave up.
The lamb was a white and black spotted ewe lamb. She was pretty too but kind of big. Suzette had problems delivering in the past where we had to pull and the lamb came out dead (although there was no malpositioning last time). But last year she delivered Comet without assistance. If she lives I won’t be breeding her again.
My other problem is that one of Lily’s teats is still huge to the point where her twin lamb can’t nurse off of it. While I was waiting for Suzette I had milked her udder out into a bottle and bottle fed her twins. They took it avidly and their tummies didn’t seem very full before hand. I watched them try to nurse off her right side but can’t.
Right after I gave up on Suzette’s lamb Tom came home. I explained the situation. I then got the bright idea of taking one of Lily’s lambs, smearing Suzette’s amniotic fluid on it and seeing if she would accept it. I thought it would help the lamb as it could nurse well, and it would help Suzette have a lamb to take care of, and it would help her deliver the afterbirth. The plan seemed to work OK- Suzette licked the lamb off and let it nurse. However Lily keeps crying looking for her lamb, the lamb Huey keeps crying for Lily, and Dewey doesn’t have a twin brother to cuddle up with anymore. So then I thought I made a mistake and tried to put Huey back. Lily sniffed it and wouldn’t accept it; Huey tried to nurse but wasn’t allowed to. Suzette seemed mildly upset when I took Huey away. So I gave up and put Huey back in with Suzette. I hope it all works out.