RedEweWithTwinsLambing is quieting down, though there are still fifteen ewes which have yet to deliver.

A few of the yearlings may not be pregnant. This is not desirable, but is to be expected. I had noted that the rams were pursuing a couple of them in December, so they may have re-bred and will surprise me with lambs at random times during the summer. I may do a blood test next week on any that haven’t lambed, just so I know what to expect.

I found a yearling ewe in labor this morning while feeding some hay. She came running to eat, with the lamb head flopping about on her back end. Sad smile Sometimes live lambs do look dead while in the birth canal, with their tongues hanging out and eyes shut tight. And sometimes ewelambs can be dingy about knowing what’s coming, running around with a lamb half hanging out of them. So, I hustled to capture her, just in case the lamb was still alive. I couldn’t snag her, so had to get a dog.

Once captured, I haltered her and tied her to me so she couldn’t leave. I checked the lamb and thought both legs were back. It seemed non-reactive and a little dried out. I realized I had only left a few OB gloves in my bag on top of it. Great. I mentally prepared for another battle of delivering a dead lamb. But then I found a front leg set back from the head, pulled it forward, and out the thing came with a few good tugs. Its eyes were clouded, so I think it had died a day or so ago. Shoot. I contemplated submitting it for testing, but a second full term abortion out of forty still doesn’t seem like enough of a trend to warrant the cost of investigation. It’s just as possible she got butted.

The ewe seemed fairly oblivious, and went back to eating hay. People often say that the ewes seem to “know” when the baby is dead. I don’t know if they logically know, especially ewelambs, since they’ve never done this before. But the fetus’ role is to kick out a bunch of hormones right before delivery. If that doesn’t happen because the fetus has perished, I think the dam doesn’t go into full mommy mode. She just acts like she’s pooped out something large, and goes back to worrying about her next meal. Winking smile

Here is wide #33, my ten year old ewe.

#33_Resting

Don’t worry, she’s not dead, she’s resting. Winking smile

#33_FromtheBack

She has had 23 lambs in her lifetime so far, and looks like she’s probably got triplets again. She has a cobby body, so her pregnancies always look extraordinarily wide; she carries her lambs like saddlebags.

BucketLambsI have all three bottle lambs trained to feed themselves on the bucket, so I can now sleep through the night again, yay! In the photo, they are fighting over two teats, even though there are six of them to choose from on the bucket.

Yesterday was uneventful, so I got the house vacuumed, made a pie, did some laundry, mended a braided rug, paid bills, and generally restored order to my life. My “vacation” is almost over, <sigh>.

The ewelamb I mentioned in the previous post that seemed to have a troubled birth looks good. I did notice, however, that she has weird blood-red tissue on the tops of her eyeballs, where normally you’d just see white:

They are barely noticeable when looking at her, but noticeable nonetheless (in the photo I’ve pulled her eyelid back to show them better). I asked around on Facebook, and someone confirmed that she’s seen this before on a lamb in a difficult birth-likely broken blood vessels from the head getting squeezed in contractions.

My sick, in-the-house lamb fully recovered and is particularly adorable. Yay for antibiotics, she was a goner without them.

My lamb birth weights look really good this year, almost all of them are right in the zone where I want them- between seven and eleven pounds. This little pinto bean was five pounds, however, alongside a nearly ten pound brother. I hate the tiny birth weight, as well as the mismatch in lamb size; but it’s amazing how spunky these little ones are. She sure is cute.

PintoBean

I mentioned before I had a nearly-bottle-lamb which was being rejected by her mother. She was undeterred, however. She has become professional at nursing up the back, and also stealing from any ewe. She is completely making a living at bumming, and has shunned the milk bucket entirely. I am amazed by the tenacity of such lambs, as many lambs will give up and die in these circumstances.

It is a lot of work for bummer lambs. They have to pay extra attention to the timing, nursing when another lamb is nursing, so that they go undetected. There is no resting or play time for these lambs, they are always on the prowl. They are willing to be kicked, butted, peed and pooped on. Often, their nursing stints are cut short after a few seconds when the robbery is discovered by the ewe. But persistence pays off. Here she is, in an awkward pose, sneaking some milk from her own mother, while her favored brother nurses casually. You can somewhat see in the picture that she has actually bumped him off of  the teat he’s closest to, forcing him to nurse the other side. She is one aggressive little bugger! Open-mouthed smile

BackEndNurser

Tuesday, some FFA girls were coming to visit in the afternoon. I was delighted to spot my 1/4 Dorper ewe having just delivered a lamb. Perfect, I thought, they’ll be just in time to see the other two born!

Dorper

I love this ewe and everything about her. She came to me as a yearling, from a producer who does not breed her yearlings. She twinned at two, and has had triplets the last three years. She was wide as a truck last week, so I fully expected her to have trips again.

I weighed and recorded the 13 pound ewelamb, and was chatting away to the girls, so didn’t consciously tumble on the ramifications of the weight of such a lamb if it were indeed a triplet… I commented on how slow the second one seemed to be coming. Went in to check and…. no more lambs! Gah! This is not supposed to happen, a high prolificacy ewe singling at age six. Annoyed

We joked that she still looks like she is pregnant with triplets, so I wonder if maybe she is just too fat and it impacted her fertility. She definitely is an easy keeper who gains weight thriftily at the end of the summer. I weaned earlier last year to help out some ewes which were too thin; and this girl definitely rebounded fast and was carrying a lot of condition by breeding time.

I was mad about the single for a day, pondering whether I should let the ewe go. But I think I will give her one more year; her lifetime average is still high, after all. I have three of her daughters, plus a son, and their lambs are consistently awesome. I will likely keep this ewelamb in the flock. So, I can skip weaning and let her continue to nurse into the fall, hopefully helping mama stay a little more slender come breeding time!

Don’t let me down next year, Miss Dorper. Because we are low on ewe sausage in the freezer! Winking smile

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