Just when you’re feeling like things are going well, a shake-up is in order!
When I observed Dot during chores yesterday morning, I could tell she was gearing up to lamb. When Jake called at 1pm to say that she had just lambed with triplets, I was unsurprised. Then he said, “I think one is dead.” I rushed down to check, and sure enough a beautiful black ewe lamb lay lifeless in the hay. It’s impossible to say why, but I can only suppose that she came out breach (backwards) and inhaled a big slug of amniotic fluid on the way out. Heartbreaking.
The two white lambs remaining seemed small, but eager. The girl was a little larger and stronger, the boy weaker. It didn’t help that Dot was staring me down, threatening me by stomping and thereby occasionally stomping her poor little son. We anticipated Dot’s aggression from last year, but it was still disconcerting to see it in full swing. The boy seemed to need a little boost, so I climbed into the pen despite the danger, restrained Dot and milked her (with help from Jake). It was no mean feat! I swiftly stole her son, distracting her eyes with a hand in front of her face while I scooped the boy up with the other. I intubated him and fed him the colostrum, hoping that would be enough of a start to get him up and nursing on his own.
Unfortunately, this morning I found him in a small, crumply heap in the corner of the lambing jug. He was limp and seemed to weaken rapidly after I again stole him from his mother. I took him home and he barely held his head up or blinked his eyes. Three hours, 2 oz of milk and an ounce or two of electrolytes for dehydration later, he was a little perkier but has emitted nary a bleat. I’m giving it my all, but he may be too far gone or have internal damage from Dot’s stomping.