Monday, March 1, 2010

The lamb that almost wasn’t

Lambing is in full swing at our farm right on schedule. We had planned for lambing to start at the end of February/early March- and the ewes are accommodating. The weather is perfect- days above freezing, nights not overly cold. Thursday we came home to a pair of newly born lambs; Friday brought two lambs, with three more Saturday & Sunday. The routine this year is to bring in the lambs shortly after they are cleaned up, let mom get a snack, and get a dose of Lamb’s Choice Total colostrum replacer into them ASAP. Then we take them back out to mom and repeat the LCT 2 more times within the next 12 hours.

This lamb is one of the twins born Thursday afternoon. We pulled into the yard after work/school and could see one of the ewes sitting with a new black lamb. Both seemed fine. So I changed my clothes, pulled on my coveralls and headed out to check. Sure enough- the lamb couldn’t be more than 30 minutes old. But…when I approached, I could see a yet uncleaned white lamb lying next to/almost under the black lamb. Damn! I figured we were too late. I picked it up and started checking it out. Amazingly, it was still alive- barely- and chilling fast. Not sure why the ewe hadn't cleaned it- she's usually a good mom. I managed to get it to open its eyes as I rubbed it. So into the house we went to the “lamb hot tub”. I’ve got this down to a science now!

I’ve learned not to give up on lambs. After last year, when we lost so many because of the extreme cold, I was determined that this year would be different. So- the plastic tub gets filled with very warm water and the lamb goes into a kitchen garbage bag up to its neck (make sure it’s unscented!). After about an hour and half, several tub refills and lots of massaging, I manage to get both eyes open and the lamb starts struggling with me. Yeah! Once I’m sure it’s staying with me, out it comes into nice warm freshly laundered towels for a vigorous massage and the LCT. It was a little slow to suck, but once it got the hang of it, she wouldn’t let go until she was done. We managed to get almost a quart of LCT in her over the next 18 hours. We kept her in the house under a lamp (we brought her sister in too for the night) and Friday put them both back out with mom. This is a great ewe who took both of them back right away- and both lambs are bouncing around with no problems.

I figure it costs me about the price of a gallon of milk to make sure these lambs get a good start in life. That is darn cheap insurance!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I love happy endings. :-)