The second ewe who had prolapsed way early lambed late last week, and it was successful. This ewe had prolapsed last year as a yearling, and that lamb had apparently died, or had been born dead, or something. So I don’t think she’d had any mothering experience.

I had her in the barn and was watching her closely, since she was wearing a prolapse harness that needed to come off before she went into labor. I wound up taking it off on her due date, and she was ok and didn’t relapse. I jugged her early, so she’d have a calm labor, and so #33 wouldn’t try to steal her babies. She lambed on day 148. I noticed her presenting a water bag in early evening, so I knew she’d gone into labor. But several hours passed with not much happening. I finally checked, and there was a lamb, right there at the end of the birth canal, perfectly lined up, head cleared through the cervix and everything. Just sitting there. As is sometimes the case when I want to go to bed, or I’m just concerned, I said let’s get this show on the road! and pulled it.

The ewe was shocked by the event, and went round and round in her jug. She did not want to lick it or mother it. She tried to push it away when it stood. I gave her some time, it didn’t help. So I stanchioned her so he could nurse. The lamb was big, and vigorous, so was able to get right up and get down to business. After a time, I checked, and there was a second lamb in there, also aligned properly, but kind of deep in the abdomen still. I really didn’t want to sit around for this, and I figured her labor might be lazy because of calcium deficiency- the same thing that usually causes prolapse. So, I pulled him too.

This is the first time I’ve experienced what I’ve heard some other people describe, where the lamb actively battled me about this. Every time I would grab his feet between my fingers, he would yank them back dramatically! I finally had to pull them forward one at a time, and tether them with a snare, so that I could get  enough traction on both of the slippery devils to get him out. He slid out with ease. And, same thing, the ewe was freaked out, and didn’t know what to do with them.

I wondered if she was in more pain than usual, if her uterus had been inflamed from the prolapse a month earlier; possibly that was contributing to her extreme agitation. So I gave her some Banamine in case (and also more antibiotics since so much intervention had happened). Or, maybe had I let her labor progress on its own, no matter how long it took, more hormones would have kicked up and helped her get into gear. I had to stanchion her in order for the lambs to nurse. But this worked fine, she could tolerate them nursing as long as she didn’t see them back there. I surrounded her head by towels with the placental fluids on them, hoping that scent would sink in to her brain in the next few hours. If I showed her a lamb in front of her face while she was in the stanchion, she greeted it vocally; but she just spun around in her jug if I let her view them while they tried to nurse.

Fortunately, by the next day, she’d settled down; maybe the oxytocin triggered by nursing woke up her maternal instincts and brought back her Zen. I was able to un-stanchion her the next afternoon; and let them loose in the barn a day or so later. Once I was satisfied she was doing her job, I moved them outside, and they are fine.

Her lambs are really lovely, big, strapping boys; and one has really cool pinto markings. So I sigh at the fact that they should be castrated and sold into the butcher channel. But, given how much genetic influence sires have on a flock, it would just be too risky to let them potentially pass on that prolapse tendency to future daughters.

Lambing is winding down. I have tagged 91 lambs, and have eleven ewes left to lamb.

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