ewe obstetrics 101

Well, after viewing the birth video, we all decided to spare you the drama (even I was on the edge of my seat watching it, and I knew the outcome!) — that, and the fact that my son turned the camera off before the lamb was actually born!!  ANYWAY, when I went down to check on Bindi this afternoon, I noticed she was in active labor…

I kept seeing a nose peeking out and encouraged her (not sure if that helps the ewe, but it sure makes me feel better to cheer her on!).  And then my brain kicked in…a nose…no feet…problem!  There has to be at least ONE front hoof sticking out in front of, beside or on top of that nose somewhere if she’s going to get this lamb out on her own!  I rushed up and checked out Barbara Webb’s (Jager Farm) awesome article on lambing and tried to get my head together – made a quick call to Roy for one last pep talk — sent the kids to get son number 1 — trimmed my fingernails on my right hand and donned an obstetrical sleeve and lube, ready to assist.  In my head I kept going over the steps that I would ideally perform:  get hold of a foot and bring it forward (both feet, if possible), then help pull that lamb out.  Well of course that sounds easier than it is!  I’m used to pulling out calves and foals!  Sheep are little!  It was like delivering a big puppy!!  Anyway, long story short, I managed to get the left front foot (no room to get in and grab the right one), extend the elbow and pull that leg up through where it should have been.  Then I had to push the right shoulder back so that the right leg would be extended out to the back.  In the meantime the lamb is starting to shake it’s head and lick its lips – it’s alive! Then I pulled…down and out…It definitely took at least 5 minutes all together…which seemed like 30.  I don’t know who was more relieved to see that lamb on the ground – me or Bindi!  I gave the lamb a bit of a swing to use centrifugal force to try to get the fluid out of his airways, which resulted in my spattering poor Bindi’s back with guck, but it seemed to help.  I also suctioned his nose a bit, but it was pretty dry.  I offered him to Bindi and she immediately bonded…but then suddenly stood up and within 10 minutes from the first birth, I saw 2 white feet…then a black and white nose…soon a sweet baby girl was on the ground, too!  She came so quickly that I ended up cleaning up her nose and mouth, swinging her a bit and suctioning before presenting her to Bindi, who was too tired to stand.  I was concerned that it would be a bit much for Bindi to deal with both twins, but by then the black one was up on his feet so we got him wiped off and weighed, then did the same with the ewe.  Bindi has been a great mom so far, thank goodness!

 

Only one more ewe to go…

Dscn1974

 

C’mon,  Millie, don’t fail me!  You’re my seasoned ewe – this should be a breeze for you!  

Hopefully she’ll give us twins tomorrow!

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