I can’t believe I guessed it right.
I thought Bindi might have triplets. I even predicted that they would all be competing to break out of there first and get all tangled up. I prepared for having to assist, hoping that if I prepared, Murphy’s Law would take over and I wouldn’t need to do a thing!
But alas, Bindi definitely needed a bit of help with this crowd!
Firstly — if you’re squeamish, just a warning. Lambing isn’t without a bit of blood, so if that might bother you, don’t look at the photos. : )
When I went down around 10:30pm last night I found that Bindi had passed her mucus plug. This indicates that she’s entering the first stage of labor. Her cervix has dilated enough to alow this plug to dislodge. It was very fortunate that I saw her before this telltale sign when I did so that I could start watching the clock to be sure things progressed as they were supposed to.
Usually there some fetal membranes should start to be visible within a couple of hours. Roy went to bed and I went back down to check on her around 11pm. I sat on a bucket in a corner outside the pen and dozed a bit, waiting for things to change.
Around 11:30pm I checked her and there were the fetal membranes.
Now we start timing again, expecting some pushing and feet appearing within an hour or so.
About 12:15am I went in to wake Roy.
She wasn’t pushing. No lamb was visible. We decided to wait until 12:30am and then scrub up and check her.
As expected, when I examined her there was nothing in the birth canal, but further in there were feet…a couple of heads…yep. At LEAST twins!
I grabbed the 2 front feet closest to me and followed them back to find the head that went with them. The head was upside down, so I had to rotate the whole lamb (one handed, mind you!) and then line the head up with the feet and pull down and out. One 6lb spotted ram lamb on the ground, breathing. Mom’s happy and licking him and talking to him. I’m happy.
And we’re hoping that the next lamb will now find his/her way into the birth canal without assistance.
The second lamb should start coming within 5 minutes or so. We see a new set of fetal membranes, but again, no pushing…no feet protruding. Time to go in again.
I scrubbed my arm and regloved and reached in. I feel feet and the top of a skull with small horns. I feel the jaw of another lamb below that. Yep. Triplets!
Lamb number 2 was VERY uncooperative. I managed to find 2 front feet, and was 99% sure they belonged to the head with horn buds, but ever time I tried to get that head up and pull on the feet, the head would twist and not stay in the birth canal. I was getting tired, so it was time for Roy to try.
We tried everything to reposition that lamb, even putting Bindi’s front end up on a bale of hay — then her belly – trying to keep her rear end up off the ground. Roy was getting tired and was pretty sure the head was just too big to fit. We were contemplating a Caesarian, when I went in one last time.
This time I got my hand up over the skull and directed it into the birth canal while Roy pulled down on the feet. Bindi was getting tired and no longer needed anyone to restrain her, so Roy was free to help. When I was sure that the head was in the right place, Roy put traction on the feet with all his might, pulling downward. I pulled my hand out at the last minute and sure enough that big boy was out on the ground and breathing!
I gave him a bit of a swing around, head down, to try to clear his airways with centrifugal force and we sucked the resulting fluid from his nose with a bulb syringe. Roy and I are both amazed that he’s doing so well! A big moorit ram lamb. He’s going to be a lovely solid brown!
It’s now about 3am and Roy reminds me that we’re not finished yet. Bindi’s still not straining. The lambs can’t nurse yet because she really doesn’t want to stand up, and I can’t say I blame her! I scrub and reglove and go in. Easy — one head and 2 front feet — twist a bit to get her into position and pull. A spotted ewe lamb on the ground, breathing! She’s almost identical to the first ram, which is kind of neat! Mom is interested in all three of them and Roy and I are trying to get her to stand, which she eventually does. I went in one last time to be sure there wasn’t a fourth lamb!
We move the happy family indoors, out of the cold. Mom tucks in to the alfalfa pellets and some fresh hay while we make sure each lamb is able to nurse, which they all do quite vigorously!
Finally. Time for bed: 4:30am!