Heidi’s lambs and the end of birthing

Heidi was showing signs of early labor all day.  Then this evening, while I was bottle feeding bunnies, Tom checked on her frequently and noted a mucous plug but no other changes or pushing.  I went out and noticed a ruptured amniotic sac and meconium but no pushing or emerging lamb.  So I grabbed supplies and her and went in.  I felt two feet and a head, but it was SO tight.  She then started pushing but wasn’t making progress.  I tried as hard as I could to pull the head but no luck.  I tried pulling the legs, but the head wasn’t budging.  I noticed the blue tongue sticking out of the mouth and knew I was in trouble.  I tried to pull and tried to push the back of the head exteriorly through the rectum.  I do not remember what finally worked but finally the head and then rapidly the body emerged.  A huge lamb.  There was no initial movement so I did a couple of swings but then there was some head shaking and breathing.  Heidi was licking and I was suctioning and toweling, and he started moving and breathing better.  Then she started pushing the second lamb.  There was a head and one leg but the other leg was missing.  I went in again for a feel and could not reach the other front leg.  But I managed to pull the lamb out by the head and the one leg.  This lamb did fine.  Both are now dried and have eaten.  Both are ram lambs.  It is not clear yet if they will be mioget (golden brown) or moorit (more chocolate brown).

So that is the end of the birthing season for us.  No more nighttime barn checks, no more barn monitor. We can sleep through the night for the first time since March 22nd!

We already decided we are going to take a year off of breeding.  We may breed the Gotland ewes and maybe one goat for milking.  We decided this not only because we are exhausted but because of the economy, our need to downsize, and thinking about the ethics of creating more animals when there may not be good homes for them.  So we will take a year off and then reconsider what we want to do.

But I will say, this has been quite a spring!

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12 Responses to Heidi’s lambs and the end of birthing

  1. I bet you are both sleeping in this morning. Sounds like you deserve a year off. When you get rested up give yourselves a pat on the back for a great job. Well, I am off to the barn, I will be thinking of you on my sleepless nights, lucky dog!(LOL)

  2. Well I had to get up at 5:30 for work this morning, but it feels a little like sleeping in! Good luck with your barn checks.

  3. Jody says:

    I quite agree with your ethics view. Breeding ones animals every year isn’t always the right way to do things.

  4. Jody says:

    I didn’t realize you had Gotlands. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any pics of them 🙂

  5. Jackie Craw says:

    This HAS been quite a spring for you!! Congratulations on a job well done. Outstanding job pulling those problem lambs! You definitely deserve a year off. But you may go into lamb and kid withdrawal.

  6. Yes, it has been a spring- a lot of pulling. I am not sure if we are overfeeding (although it is the same amounts as previous years) or it is me intervening too quickly. But no lambs died this year so that’s good. And I realize I am going to go through withdrawals. It’s bad enough seeing everyone else’s lambs when mine are late but worse if I am not having any at all!

  7. Teresa says:

    There are some years that are just that way. I know a woman that ended up with several Caesarian births in one year with her cow herd of about 30. When it rains, it pours. You’ve done a good job.

  8. sheepsclothing says:

    Congrats on the successful completion of lambing season. And speaking of good homes,, I’ll be interested to know which of your sheep you’ll be looking to downsize! 🙂
    BTW-I got a sample of Dixie’s fleece from Margaret, and I’d like to meet her, if I may- perhaps one of these days once it stops pouring rain?

  9. Adorable lambs. Our calving is about done. We worked our cattle over the weekend, and then took them to the summer pasture. Busy day.

    • Thanks for the compliment. We had out transmission lines and electrical wire to our house tore down by the winds and our neighbors’ cottonwood last night. Tom had to run the generator to keep the chicks warm. Power was restored at 6:00 AM, but our internet cable isn’t working. So I am on dial-up! Brings back the memories!
      It sounds like you have your work cut out for you.

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