Magnolia

Happy Spring. It’s the start of lambing season here. I’m disappointed in the poor grass growth, it’s been a cold season and the fields are barely ready to graze. Some years, I’ve had sheep in rotation by early March. But not this year. The sheep felt lucky, anyway, bursting out onto fresh grass on March 31st. I’m cringing at a forecast of ten days of rain, which could make for a muddy mess for lamb births. But, thus is the gamble of spring pasture lambing; and lucky I have a hardy breed of sheep.

FreshGrass

I had two ewes present vaginal prolapse late March, first time in a few years. Both were purchased ewes, it’s funny, I’ve yet to have one of my own home-bred ewes do it. Both instances I caught quickly, brought them up to the barn, put them back together, gave them heavy antibiotics, and they seemed fine. But about a week later, one was feeling off in the morning, causing me to give her more antibiotics. By evening, she was still not wanting to eat. I examined her, wondering if she was going into early labor, but she was not, her cervix was still closed. While evening chores were happening, she suddenly prolapsebellowed in pain and laid down. A minute later she was dead! Right before our eyes!

I hustled to open her up, in case there were salvageable lambs inside. But not so, two decomposed lambs were all there was, and the likely cause of her death- sepsis. Sometimes no amount of antibiotics can overcome a raging bacterial infection. And sometimes, a ewe’s body does not know to abort dead lambs sooner rather than later. And so it goes, Mother Nature’s brutal trials, I can’t always beat her at her game.

The second ewe seems OK and is not due for another two weeks, so crossing fingers she will deliver normally.

I have sixteen lambs on the ground so far, there was a handful of early births from accidental or semi-accidental breedings. A couple of ewelambs earmarked for the slaughter channel bred. One lambed freely in the barn, but has no interest in letting the lamb nurse. The lamb is a pistol, and works and works for any momentary opportunity to suckle. So that bugger ewe is in a head stanchion, and is still earmarked for the slaughter channel as soon as she is done with this job. Annoyed

Labor

Most other births have been uneventful, with lambs with good weight and vigor. So things are likely shaping up to be a good season. Now hoping the sun visits us more than Cliff Mass says is likely!

Spring

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