The Finale of Our Lambing Season & Lessons Learned
January 1, 2017
It’s been a crazy busy time, but all the lambing is complete and here is a catch up on all that has happened and how the litters are fairing.
Lady and Her Twins
This has been a strange and sad journey. As you remember I found Lady in the general stall having birthed twins unexpectedly and one was cold, weak and had his eyes shut.
That little ewe lamb is now dead. She was so healthy and alert and then on day two I noticed that she was lying down a lot and had smelly diarrhea. She went downhill quickly and within 36 hours had died. I will give credit to the amazing sheppardess’ handbook “Managing Your Ewe and Her Newborn Lambs” by Laura Lawson. The book felt like a splurge when I first bought it. I was going out to the little lamb every two hours with either an electrolyte solution or lamb replacer to feed her by syringe. She was too weak to feed from her dam.
At 4:00 AM I pulled out the book to discover that it contained these amazing diagnostic flow diagrams. To my dismay I realized that she most likely had Clostridum Perfringens and the likelihood of her surviving was basically nonexistent. I did all that was recommended, but at her last feeding she was semi-comatose and could not swallow. I found her dead a few hours later with her head throw way back as is typical with this disease.
My Blind Sock Baby continues on, but is a bit of a mystery to me. Now over 3 days old his eyes are just starting to crack open. He has managed all this time to find his mom and nurse after I taught him the way there. He is very quiet and sleeps more than any lamb I’ve ever seen. I’m hoping that when his eyes open he’ll be more lamb like. His fleece continues to be this odd short fur that feels exactly like velvet.
I wonder if these two lambs came a bit too early.
Snowball and Her Triplets
Within 12 hours of Lady, Snowball had her triplets Friday early evening. Three bouncing boys that all have GREAT fleeces. Nicely crimpy and they are all very healthy. Snowball does not love the smallest black lamb. He is getting shorted in the feeding department and is always SCREAMING for a meal! I am supplementing him three times a day with a bottle.
Snowball is still a bit off her feed and is very slow to come into her milk. As a side note, when I stripped her at lambing her colostrum came out thick as cream. Her two biggest rams are definitely on the lean side and I hope she picks up the milking pace.
Luanne and Her Triplets
Our final lambing of the season went to my favorite ewe, Luanne. I knew she was close so I put her up in a box stall at night and was rewarded this morning by walking in to the stall and her with triplets – still damp from being born.
One thing that made me groan was that I saw the telltale signs of a lamb being rejected. That is, two lambs were orbiting Luanne with a third lying a ways off. Tired of having lambs rejected I decided to make Luanne’s jug smaller than I had before. She is now in a jug 6’ by 6’ which seems tiny for multiples. Keep your fingers crossed that this works and I’ve figured out my problem.
I’m happily keeping two of these lambs. A black ram with an amazing Day of the Dead type mask. Help me think of a great name for him. He will replaced our beloved Gunther as our lead ram.
The other is a lovely black ewe. On one side she has two distinct “bull’s eye” target and on the other side arrows! I know! Crazy, but true. If I don’t get further inspired I’ll name her Diana after the Greece goddess of the hunt.
According to the esteemed author mentioned above a really well managed farm has a lambing lose of 4-5%. We have now reached that mark. Small comfort to know we are running well and let’s hope that the rest of our babies due fine over the upcoming critical weeks.