Difficult Lambing

So this blog is supposed to be about the realities of having a small farm.  Well, today was as real as it gets.  So those of you with weak stomachs or hearts may want to skip today’s post.

So we brought Dete’s lamb into the house because we could not get it to nurse nor bottle feed colostrum.  It was getting cold and still was weak.  She was also having problems breathing.  So I warmed her up and gave her a penicillin shot.  She gradually started to get stronger and starting crying for her mother.  Then this photo is when she stood for the first time.


We started to call her Lambikins.  By midnight she bottle fed quite slowly, but she was crying for her mother so we took her out to the barn to be with her.  By 3:00 AM she nursed poorly but took the bottle of colostrum well.  By 6:00 AM she nursed well after a bit of coaching.  But at 9:00 when Tom went to check things were going terribly wrong.


Dete was trying to deliver another lamb.  I know you are supposed to go in and check after a difficult delivery, but I barely had to pull on Lambikin’s head to get her out.  I thought Dete still looked a little wide, but she has always looked side to me compared to Shetland sheep.  She was showing no signs of labor, and I even thought she had delivered the placenta.

But she had one black leg sticking out and was pushing hard.  We knew this lamb was probably dead but still had to get it out.  I felt what I thought was the head.  And after many attempts found the second leg and pulled it forward.  I then tried to pull the lamb out by the head and legs and was making no progress.  I felt something odd off to the side but was not sure what it was.  Finally after a lot of pulling then lamb came out.  It was quite dead, and it had its neck twisted backward.  So I was feeling the head but backward, and the odd thing I was feeling was the shoulder.  It was a black male lamb.

So now Dete does not look good.  Her bleeding has slowed down but she is just laying there.  She did respond some to the penicillin, Vitamin B and Prevanil injection I gave her.  She is not standing for Lambikins to nurse so Lambikins is cuddled next to her head.  So now the concern is whether Dete will make it.

And the guilt sets in…..

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10 Responses to Difficult Lambing

  1. Bluff Country Shepherdess says:

    I’m so sorry that you (and Detes and Lambkins!) had to go through this. I’ll keep both of the girls in my prayers…

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Nancy! On last check, Dete was standing and Lambikins was nursing! Maybe everything will turn out OK (except for the dead lamb).

  2. Tammy says:

    Hi Donna,
    We do the best we can, but always the second guessing. You have worked hard to save Dete and Lambikins–all three would have died without your intervention. Had a needless tragedy here and lost a fat healthy young ewe last week–still not able to talk about it and I too have been ‘second guessing’ and ‘if only-ing’. It’s hard. Take care, and I hope your ewe and lamb make it. That little lamb is darling.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Tammy! One reason I blog about these things is that maybe others can learn from my stupid mistakes. And maybe the guilt helps me remember them too. I don’t know. But so far Dete and Lambikins are doing OK. And the lamb is awfully cute. It would be really hard to lose her.

  3. Chai Chai says:

    If only they could talk, it is so hard but you did your best. Hopefully Dete can make a recovery.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Chai Chai! But it wasn’t my best. I should have examined Dete after the first lamb was born. It would have been hard but maybe I could have turned his head around and saved him. I really hope Dete makes it.

  4. Jody says:

    Hi Donna,
    We lost a beautiful black ram lamb twin when he got caught in the bottom of a hay feeder that wasn’t quite full enough. He was only a few days old and had broken his leg so bad that he had to be put down.
    I guess we all have a sad story to tell. Just focus on the ones who are left 🙂

    • Donna says:

      I am sorry Jody. I am trying to learn from my mistakes and appreciate the ones who are left. Dete and Lambikins are still doing well this morning. It looks like I will have my cute Easter lamb after all.

  5. sheepsclothing says:

    Sorry to hear about Dete’s close call- so glad everyone seems to be doing better now.
    Lambikins is just adorable. Who’s her dad?

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