Wednesday, April 23, 2008

That's quite enough for one season, thank-you!

Valentine DID hold on until her due date - barely. I fashioned a jug for her last night after she spent all day acting odd. It's a good thing Dinah was the other ewe in the shared space; she's not an aggressive mom so the puppy pen divider was sufficient. Had it been Rechel, I would have had to erect a real barracade!

At my 11:00 p.m. check, Valentine was trying to dig a hole to China, between laying down and getting up. With her that close to lambing I knew I wouldn't be able to go to bed and fall asleep, so I just stayed up with her. Her water broke at 12:05. By 1:00 there was still no glimpse of hooves, although she hadn't spent much time pushing hard in spite of her contractions. I woke Rick up with my cell phone to ask for input. He said I could give it time or go in and check. Since I wasn't sure it had been absolutely necessary to intervene on Dinah's behalf, I didn't want to act too soon with Valentine. I decided to give her until 2:00 before doing anything, but went back to the house to get supplies out of Rick's truck just in case. When I returned, one little hoof was finally showing - hurray! But as the minutes slowly ticked on, nothing else happened. I gloved up and tried to reach in, but there wasn't room. There was a nose, yes, but also a BACK foot - NOT what I was expecting or wanting! I called Rick on my cell phone and asked for help STAT, and then proceeded to do what I could. I pushed that naughty back foot in, pulled on the front leg, and stretched the membranes to make room for the little brown head. Once it was clear, I kept pulling on it and managed to extract a lamb with one front leg completely back at the shoulder. Then I grabbed the back legs of lamb number two and extracted it with relative ease - just as Rick showed up. Who needs a vet? :-)

Valentine eagerly worked at cleaning off her babies, while I helped. I was SO tired, but wanted to make sure the little ones got some colostrum before I headed to bed. Unfortunately, Valentine's teats are not in the easiest position for a lamb to access, although they were both up and eager to nurse in short order. I tried to help direct traffic, but after a bit the ewe lamb (there's one of each) lay down. Even though Valentine continued licking her, she stretched out her head and got very still. There was no way I was going to lose her after all that, so I dashed into the tack room for a syringe, and milked out 10cc of colostrum. While I did that, the ramling found the opposite teat; at least ONE was taken care of! After a shot of syrupy nourishment, the ewe lamb livened right up, and I left hoping that what both lambs had gotten would get them through for a few hours until chore time.
This morning when I checked, this is what I found:It was wonderful to see (through my bleary, sleep-deprived eyes) everyone alive and well so far! Both lambs had warm mouths, so I'm trusting that means they've figured out the food source. Both lambs are solid dark moorit with very even, crimpy fleece. Time will tell if they stay dark, are fawn like their dam, or are musket like their dad. I highly doubt the latter, since there is no sign of Ag on them anywhere.

Each set of twins seem nicer than the set before in terms of structure and fleece consistency. With lambing at 200%, I can't complain too much that the boys outnumber the girls two to one. All are for sale (along with Bella; don't forget Bella!) and will hopefully find good homes for breeding and/or fiber production. We will keep one ram lamb to wether as Braveheart's companion, but will give others first choice.

As for my lambing contest, we have a tie. Both Carol and Becky guessed twins from the correct ewes, missing the dates by just one day. So both of them get to choose either a set of photo notecards or an 8 1/2"x11" photo, their choice of subject(s). Let me know, ladies!

That's it for now at . . .

8 comments:

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Yay! Photo cards please :)
How exciting! To know I'm not the only fool, uh, shepherd who sits up watching sheep lamb into the wee hours of the night! I just bet Rick was thrilled to have gotten out of bed and down to the barn in time to see you do it without him LOL

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Oops, forgot to say what subject.... umm.... nothing comes to mind.... umm.... Aha! Sheep :)
I also forgot to mention that I had been checking your blog all morning waiting for this post :)

Kathy said...

I was so glad to hear everything turned out just fine. What a nice little family...and at least you got a ewe out of it.
I was trying to call the moms and lambs in from the wind and realized when I said "C'mon, Boys!" that it was driving the older wether-brothers crazy as that's what I call them in with. It was then it hit me - Geez! I've got alot of boys here!

Becky Utecht said...

Congratulations Michelle. You've gotten to be an old pro at this lambing thing! We had two ewe lambs with one leg back this year, both were first time moms - a yearling Shetland Mule and a BFL ewe. The BFL had a 13 lb lamb and it was no piece of cake, that's for sure. The Mule delivered on her own while I ran into the house for the soapy water and supplies. Now that your babies have safely arrived you can relax again and enjoy them. Well done. ;-)

Lois said...

Hi Michelle-
I heard your shouts of joy clear out here in Ohio!
Brook gave me the news of Valentine's twins ...I went right to your blog for the full story. What a good thing that you stayed up with the dear girl...and were able to help when she needed you. Well done....

Corinne R. said...

Good job Michelle! Congrats on the lovely little family.
I am just begining MY stint of sleepless nights, I have a first time mom that started with some mucus this morning....

Franna said...

Good girl Valentine and Good Girl Michelle! It's a bit scary going in to assist. Nice to know you can do it when needed, and a feeling of accomplishment with successful results :-)
- Franna

chocolatesheep said...

Amazing! And why are there so many ram lambs this year? Everyone seems to be overwhelmed with boys. Kind of like my house, come to think of it. :)