Saturday, April 19, 2008

Snow after mid-April???

As predicted, it was snowing when I woke up this morning. Snowing! In the Pacific Northwest, 50 miles from the ocean, at less than 1000' elevation, this is definitely unusual. With the big change in the weather, I was just sure I would find new lambs - or at least a ewe in labor - when I went down to the barn. But no, Dinah's tail was still in neutral and she pushed in eagerly for her share of the grain. I checked her again before we left for church; no change.

When we got home, there was still no change, so I snuck in a short nap while Rick and Brian played. When I checked again at around 3:30, Dinah was discharging a significant amount of mucous and squatting as if to urinate. WooHoo! I set her up in a jug with water and hay, went back to the house for my cell phone and camera, and told Rick I'd call when there was something for Brian to see. I couldn't believe I was going to get to witness one of my ewes giving birth! Such a prospect made staying home from our church's women's retreat at the beach this weekend definitely worth it.

Dinah got down to business and pushed mightily, with rest breaks, for the next 20-30 minutes. I could see just the tips of tiny toes, but she didn't progress a millimeter more than that. I was beginning to realize that it is easier to find the lambs after their mom has done all the work than to watch one of my girls labor with such intensity.
I stepped away from the sheep fold and called Rick on my cell phone to ask how long it should be taking to see some progress. He said he'd come down and take a look. When he arrived, equipped with a bucket of warm water and a tray with various and sundry veterinary items, he asked if I wanted to "do this." Do WHAT? The answer was "help," so with Rick coaching I gloved and lubed up, reached in far enough to ascertain the head was in position, and started applying traction to the front legs. Rick had to help stretch the vulva while I pulled in order to extract a dark brown ram lamb. As directed, I went in to check for more, and felt another lamb - who did not WANT anyone pulling on her legs, thank-you very much! But with Dinah's help, lamb #2 - a white ewe with LONG ears - was delivered.
Both lambs were vigorous and active, getting to their feet within minutes.
The ram lamb is very dark, with a bit of white on his head. He is also an eating machine, latching on early and often. I haven't decided on his name yet.
The long-eared ewe lamb, Blanche, has a touch of phaeomelanin on her nose and tail, and a wee dark spot on her left hock. It took her longer to find the milk bar, but she finally did with some encouragement.
That's two down and one to go. I hope Valentine has studied up on statistics and plans to give me two ewe lambs to make my ewe to ram ration 50%! When she does lamb, I'll let you all know who wins Boulderneigh's lambing contest. Right now Carol is in the lead with her guess on Rechel, but it's possible that Becky's guess on Valentine will be a direct hit.

That's it for now at . . .


A :-) said...

Wow - so beautiful - and so great that you were there and helped. It must have been amazing. Congrats on two new lambies :-)

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

Congratulations on your new twins!! Good work! Isn't it interesting in there?

Tammy said...

Congrats Michelle! They are lovely. I'm so glad you got an ewe lamb. I was kinda hoping you'd get a little white one. :-) I'm also glad you had a 'coach' there to help you out. It is always so hard to know when to step in and assist. I too have come to the conclusion, the best lambing of all is when I find them healthy dry and safe! And I can't believe your snow... ugh...

Sharrie said...

Good one, Michelle. They are great. So happy they are doing well. Sorry about the snow. You are right about being there. It can be difficult. Sure nice to have a coach.

Kathy said...

Awwww....congratulations, Michelle! It seems to be the year for dark rams with spots on the heads. I'll keep my fingers crossed for ewes for you if you keep your fingers crossed for ewes for us from Loretta and Ailee. While they are "showing" I think we still have a couple of weeks to go for these first-timers. I sure hope they have girls!

Again...many hugs and congratulations!