Monday, April 16, 2012

Lambing Chaos

Yesterday we had torrential rain all day that transitioned to snow and ice overnight, so of course Lara decided it was the perfect time to lamb.

So at 05:15 when the Commander charged into the bedroom to let me know it was time I wasn't the least bit surprised. Meet Berkley, he is a 9 pound baby ram lamb.

Thankfully I didn't have to help with the birth, but he did give me a bit of a scare. Look how long his legs are! When he was initially presenting all I could see were two legs sticking out, I was very worried that his neck was bent back inside. Fortunately before I decided to intervene his nose popped out and I knew it was going to be alright.

Once Berkley was on the ground and cleaned up he was violently shivering and Lara wasn't yet interested in feeding him. I recalled the famous kid and lamb expert (OFG) stating that the best way to warm up a new borne was to bring them in the house to watch TV. I wasn't going to go that far unless I had to so I started with warm towels to dry him off. That worked pretty well but Lara still wouldn't feed him, he needed her colostrum to get his motor started. At this point I decided to bring him inside and feed him some goat colostrum that I had frozen last year. While I got to work Sara stood watch over little Berkley while he lounged in a laundry basket on the couch. Contrary to OFG's advice I didn't turn on the TV.

While all this was going on Molly was going berserk! Yesterday I noticed that she was getting a fluid build-up by her incision when they went in to fix her. I had called the vet to see if she needed to be brought back in for treatment, today was not ideal for a call back. As I was warming the goat milk the vet called and wanted me to roll Molly over and describe what I saw - she wasn't cooperating. With the lamb in the house everyone was way too excited. The vet told me that one of the problems was that we were allowing Molly to be too active and that we needed to calm her down. I wondered to myself if they realized what kind of a puppy Molly was? I told the vet; "It is very difficult to keep Molly calm, she makes my Border Collie look like she is on tranquilizers." Not only was Molly's incision a problem, but she had been able to defeat her cone to gnaw at her stitches where her extra toe was removed. The vet kept wanting to talk and talk not realizing how much of a rush I was in. I think the vet was wondering how stable I was when I said; "Look, I don't have time for this as I have a lamb in the house." Our conversation ended pretty quickly after that.

The answer to this problem was a larger cone. OMG! The new and improved larger cone is a disaster. First Molly is outside in the slush using it like a steam shovel to dig up all kinds of mush and then runs around with it sloshing around her face and neck. Next, whenever the howling wind catches her she looks like a top heavy weeble careening from side to side completely out of control. Once back in the house she is crashing into everyone and every body because she can't gauge how large the darn thing is. The edges of the cone are stiff and sharp, she is constantly ramming everyone on the calf and behind the knee threatening to knock anyone in her way off their feet. The vet recommended using duct tape to dull the edges of the cone - this is the same dog he wanted us to keep calm.

I had to take my daughter to school so I left my mom to watch over Berkley and the dogs, a job easier said than done. It seems Sara not only was watching the new lamb, she was GUARDING it! This meant that anytime Molly, Patch, or the cats came anywhere near HER lamb she actually drove them off with growls and flashing teeth. Sara has never, ever acted like this, she is normally very docile! My mom was really happy to see me return.

Of course I had to make a stop before I got home. I needed to pick up some medication and I was still in my sheep birthing clothes. I smelled. It didn't matter because once I got home and rescued my mom by taking Berkley back out to his mother I found that Lara had given birth to a second jet black ram lamb (Brighton) weighing in at 8 pounds. None of the pictures I took of him turned out so I will have to post something later. What a crazy day - four more lambings to go!


  1. Sounds pretty normal for the start of babies arriving!

  2. Here I thought I was having a busy day! Way to go, you survived! Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day, although two lambs is not a bad day.


  3. Sounds like a typical lambing day! :P I love Berkley's far we've only gotten black and white....boooooriiiing. :/

    Eight and nine pounds is pretty big! Every time I read about an icelandic owner and their "normal" sized twins of 6 & 7lbs I wonder where my monster lambs come from.

  4. I'm exhausted just reading this post!
    Have you got the lamb BACK outside yet? Or are you all watching Dancing with The Stars? :)

    1. Carolyn - Some people out there advocate DWTS for farm animals (you know who you are) but the lambs belong with their mother. Berkley was only in the house long enough to warm up and get a bit of milk in him. The thing about sheep is they don't seem to ever feed their babies while anyone is there to watch so I never seem to know if they are eating.

  5. Teresa - The sheep performed as expected, it was the dogs that threw me off.

    Ian - I will sleep well tonight, that is until the Commander wakes me for the next round of lambing.

    Stacy - I saw on you Facebook page that Ada had 10.5 and 9.5 pound twins, THAT is huge! I am so happy I didn't have to go in and assist....

  6. *OFG spews Two Buck Chuck all over computer screen, goes all apoplectic, starts coughing and wheezing... various members of The Insane Cat Posse rush to her aid, Nicholas attempts the Heimlich maneuver....finally...she can breathe....croaks "thats not what i said! thats NOT what i said!

    ...again.. wheezes, passes out, cats swarm.......then it really gets nutty*

  7. OFG - If only I had had some diapers, they would have really liked watching DWTS!