I really can’t explain what’s going on here, but I’ll try. These lambs are in the barn with their mother. She is the ewe I’d mentioned earlier, with a mal-presented first lamb that I pulled, but it was dead. These two came after, and were fine. Their dam seemed a little under the weather. I suspected she was anemic, maybe lost some blood in the difficult birth. I brought her into the barn and gave her some meds and alfalfa to help improve her protein levels. Today she was feeling ok, scratching her butt on the fencing, talking to me, talking to her lambs. They are well, growing, milk in their bellies, and their mama loves them as much as any. Everything normal there.
The chicken is sick. I think she has some kind of intestinal inflammation or infection. I can’t feel an egg in there, but her belly is bloated and tender. She doesn’t want to walk, and is laying cockeyed and miserable. I put her in the barn for rest and quiet, and am trying to treat her. I hate to lose a good layer; and of course I always like a veterinary challenge.
All day, the lambs have been sleeping with her like this, all cuddly. If I chase them off to treat her, a few minutes later, they are back in this same configuration. It’s even confounding their mother, who came over to sniff this immobile chicken thing, seeming to assess why she can’t call her lambs away from it to sleep with their mama.
Maybe she’s just extra warm. Maybe they miss their triplet womb mate. Maybe they sense she needs comforting. Who knows?