Friday, March 2, 2012

Lambing Makes Me Worry so Much

With triplets born only days ago, and the ewes actually not due for another day, I was a bit surprised by today's events.

As you may know from reading earlier blog posts I live in Alberta, Canada, it is winter, so the ewes are in the barn at night and out in the day.  I opened the barn door this morning to find one ewe, Mrs Brown Katahdin, with twins.

She would need to stay in, as the ewes with new lambs are kept in the barn for a while to bond with their lambs and so  the lambs get stronger before going out (after all there is snow on the ground). 

I went outside to throw the hay over the fence and noticed one ewe, Blackie, wandering off to the old barn.  It was pretty clear at that point that Blackie would be lambing today too.

I checked on Blackie several times throughout the day.  At one point, just before lunch, I found her with one lamb.  That make it easier to get her back into the other barn - I just picked her lamb up and she followed me.  I put her in a stall by herself. 
Blackie and the lamb I found her with.
I had lunch and went out a little later to check.  I am now feeling terrible for not going out sooner.  I found a dead lamb in the stall, a black and white lamb.  I noticed yet another standing with her, as well as the earlier lamb.  She had given birth to triplets, and somehow lost one.  Was it born dead?  Did she not clean its nose off in time?  Could I have saved it?  What happened?  I tend to beat myself up mentally in these situations.  Poor thing.

As if that was not enough, later in the day when it was time to bring the other sheep into the barn, one ewe was missing.  It took a bit of searching (it was getting dark by this time) but I found Patsy standing with two new lambs.

And there's more.  When I got Patsy and her lambs back into the barn, I checked on everyone again, and decided that one of the triplets born days earlier was not looking too good, I would have to bottle feed it.  She drank good but this is an expensive thing to do, not to mention a lot more work added to the day.

Good thing I am unemployed!

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