Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Growing Flock

Yesterday was another really good and peaceful day for the kids and I. We started by going to the zoo where the 3 older ones took classes and the youngest and I wandered the zoo looking at the animals. Then we hit up Burger King, though I'm not big on fast food, so we could go straight to the store for some things. Went to JoAnn's to pick up glue sticks and their Valentine stuff was 70% off and the No-Sew fleece blankets were still 50%. Plus I had a teacher discount card for an extra 15% off. We ended up getting a couple decorations for next year and a blanket kit for my brother-in-law, who was super excited to get it. Then we stopped by Costco for a few things. It was about 5pm when we finally got home and amazingly no one had had a meltdown!

Again, my husband came home in the later evening. He told me he noticed something was going on with one of our pregnant ewes. Just before midnight he came and got me. Her water bag had appeared. We rushed out there to standby. The first lamb came out and she quickly began to tend it. We heard our dog barking outside of the barn. At first, when my husband checked, it didn't seem to be anything. However, when he went back to the house to do something, he realized our dog had been sprayed by a skunk. While he took care of that mess, I stayed and kept an eye on our new mama. I could tell she was gearing up to deliver again. Thankfully, my husband came back to the barn just a couple moments before she pushed lamb number 2 out. Immediately we both noticed something was not right about this lamb. As the head came out, it was so tiny. We watched for a couple moments and then my husband went in to check the lamb. It was stillborn. In fact it looked like it hadn't completely developed, with white eyes and a small size. My husband tried to feel for a heartbeat and tried to see if it would breath, to no avail. So he took the lost lamb aside to encourage the mama to turn back to her live lamb and tend to it. Mama did and did a wonderful job. Even though she was so attentive and the baby was making some effort to get up and move around, the lamb just didn't seem to have the energy, strength, or drive to really get up and latch. My husband moved them to their jug in hopes of getting the lamb under the heat lamp and encouraging more bonding. We even harnessed mama, stripped her wax plug, and put lamb to teat. It didn't work. We ended up having to bring the lamb inside to warm it up and give it a little colostrum formula and some milk we'd pumped from our first mama a few days before.

It amazed me to watch my husband, the shepherd, tending to this little lamb. The care and tenderness he expressed. The patience and the drive to do whatever he could to make sure this lamb survived. This is one of the things I saw in him as a possible father and fell in love with. It is one of the reasons I married him. 

The lamb is now back out in the barn and we are frequently checking on it and mama. Never checked to see if it was a boy or a girl. So far the 2 seem to be bonding very well and the lamb has latched a little. I'm hoping that the lamb finally does get a good latch and that the mother continues to tend her lamb.

Later when I have a chance, I will post pictures of all our new lambs.

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