Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm SO Proud of Myself!

"Why?" you ask. Well, I'm glad you asked that question.

Let me first begin by saying we're done with lambing - that is to say all our ewes who were pregnant aren't anymore. We had 6 ewes lamb this spring with 3 sets of twins. I'll do the math for you - that's 9 new lambs, plus the one that was born last November, makes 10 we can sell next fall. That'll pay for winter hay and feed. All births went smoothly - no breeches, no twins trying to come out at the same time, all mothers taking care of their babies.

Well, almost - I did have one that got rather confused and thought the lamb in the next pen over was hers, rejecting her own. I put a piece of plywood between the pens so she couldn't see into her neighbor's pen, then had to pin her up against a wall so she would let her lamb nurse. As it was about 2:00 in the morning at this point, I went to bed figuring I'd have to deal with a bottle baby in the morning. By 7:00 a.m. she figured the one that was with her was good enough and was taking care of it. I'm not sure whether she was just confused, being a first-time mom, or was having a severe case of the post-partum crazies. Whatever it was, she seems to have worked it out.

Also had a lamb from one of the sets of twins that got scours when it was a day old. That's a bacterial diarrhea and the smell is unmistakable! Almost lost the little one but after a day of antibiotics and some electrolyte replacement it was as good as new. Kept up the antibiotic for several days though just to make sure it was under control.

Then the last set of twins, as a matter of fact, the very last lamb born, just wasn't as vigorous as I would have liked. So I coaxed him to nurse frequently. Now lambs are kind of scrawny when they're first born, looking sort of like white, wrinkled old men. Their skin is kind of big for them and they have to fill it out. I noticed after a few days that last lamb still wasn't fitting in his skin so I figured his mom may not have quite enough milk for twins and his more vigorous brother was pushing him out at feeding time and grabbing all the goodies for himself. So I started supplementing him with goats milk and, sure enough, he puffed right out and got stronger fast. Now he's trying to crowd out his brother. I'll still supplement a little just to make sure he continues to get enough.

But the reason I'm really proud of myself (now you knew I'd get to this eventually didn't you?) is that one of the ewes prolapsed after lambing. For those who don't know what that is, maybe you don't want to. But for the brave, or those with a strong stomach, it's when her insides begin to move outside! This was a vaginal prolapse where the vaginal wall basically falls outside, or turns inside out. I won't go into detail about why this happens, but suffice it to say it's not pretty. Anyway, I put on a glove, washed her off, put her insides back inside, and put in a prolapse retainer, which is kind of like a flat plastic spoon that fits inside to hold everything in place. Then I gave her a shot of long-acting penicillin. After 3 days (which is the recommended time) I removed the retainer. Next morning she was prolapsing again. So back to gloving up, washing her off, putting her insides back where they belong. This time I put some stitches (also a recommended thing) in her vulva to hold everything shut and gave her another shot of penicillin. So far, so good - she's holding everything together.

When I was a kid I wanted to be a vet when I grew up. Well, I'm not a vet, but I'm at least able to do what I need to, when I need to. This was my first lamb with scours, my first lamb I have to supplement, and my first ewe to prolapse. I'm starting to feel like I might actually know what I'm doing.


grammy said...

Wow, you go girl. That was a lot to get thru. Do you ever readthe Chickens in The Road blog? She has been learning all about farm stuff. She does good, but I would say you have her beat. (o:

Andrea said...

WHEW! I am so happy to hear everything is looking up. Having grown up on a dairy farm I understand how tiring and rewarding it is. You just have to remember to take care of you too. A~

Shellmo said...

Sandy - you are amazing! You should be proud of yourself!! I can only imagine that you go into a sound sleep at the end of one of your hardworking days!