Animals, Around the Homestead

Lambing Troubles…

Last night we had a fairly easy evening, fed our two bottle lambs at 7:30 pm, and headed to bed early. We were both up at 11:30 pm to do bottles again and check on a couple ewes we thought were close to lambing. One ewe (0344) had lambed and had a baby girl all on her own and the other was still showing no signs. I got up again at 3:30 am to do bottles again and check on everyone. The second ewe (5028) was in labor and seemed to be making a lot of noise and things didn’t seem to be moving along as smoothly as usual for her in particular. I got a lambing pen set up for her and got all the other lambing pens tended to (alfalfa, water, etc.). I decided to give her a little time and leave her alone. I went inside to wake up Randy, let him know what was going on, and jump in the shower. When I got out of the shower he said she hadn’t made any progress and was obviously uncomfortable. I headed out to check her and what turned into pulling her lamb that was coming hind feet first (should be front feet and head first). It was a big ewe lamb. She pulled hard, and I didn’t get her pulled fast enough. Her little heart was beat hard and strong, but her little mouth gaped open with her tongue hanging out. She wasn’t breathing. I ran into the house to warm up a shot of dextrose in hopes of giving her a jolt and getting her going again. In the meantime Randy tried to resuscitate her by blowing in her mouth and nose. By the time I got back it was too late. I gave her the dextrose anyway which usually causes them to kick around a bit, but there was no movement and no longer a heart beat.

The umbilical cord had broken before I could get her head out. She had gulped in fluids in attempt to breathe one the cord had severed. The fluid had filled her lungs and nothing we did could have changed her fate.

The mama was so upset.  It broke my heart.  We put her in a lambing pen where she searched and cried for her baby. She circled and circled and may still be circling right now in hopes of finding her baby. I checked her again to make sure there wasn’t another baby on the way. I couldn’t feel anything, but she usually has twins so we were a little nervous leaving her this morning. I was late for work and Randy had to get on the road. I called my brother to check in on her a little later and make sure everything is okay. Dad stopped in to make sure she was okay and make sure she cleaned.  

Life on the farm isn’t always easy. Life on the farm isn’t always pretty. We lost our favorite ewe, Ma, last weekend to an illness we never identified. This morning we lost a sweet little full-blooded Dorper ewe lamb and now have a mama with tons of milk to milk out and dry off.

I felt defeated, but you learn fast that life on the farm does go on. We saved the mama and in the grand scheme of things that is the important thing. We could have left before she went into labor, leaving her to struggle and suffer all day. We are grateful we were there to help her even if the ending was still a sad one for all. Tomorrow I am off work and will be home all day to care for them and watch over them.

There is still snow on the ground from Sunday. Hopefully today and tomorrow the warmer weather will melt it away so the dogs can get outside to run and maybe even play a little ball. Our dogs are starving for attention and wondering why on earth we are getting up at all hours of the night. They need some attention and a chance to stretch their legs.

Praying things will go better from here on out.  A little sunshine to melt the snow away and dry things up is sure to help. Have a great day!

2 thoughts on “Lambing Troubles…”

  1. Oh, Gretchen, I’m so sorry to hear that you lost a baby ewe. But I know that you and Randy did everything possible to save it. I know that the mama is hurting from losing her baby. We will pray that they rest of the births go smoothly.


  2. Aw thank you. I need to get a little tougher if I’m going to be a full-fledged farmgirl soon, emotionally and physically. Thanks for checking with and keeping up with us. We miss you both!


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