Monday, March 1, 2010
First Lambs of 2010!!
Today, much to my surprise, Alystyne had her lambs. She was actually officially due tomorrow, but four of our ewes were (officially?) due before Alystyne, so I was really floored when she was the first to go. She had twin ewe lambs, with a remarkable size difference - one weighed in at 7 lbs, while the other is a hefty 13 lbs. I was amazed at their sizes. The little one seemed somewhat lethargic, while her big sister was nursing from the outset.
When I went back to check, little one was shivering, unable to stand, and nearly non responsive. I quickly took her in to the house and commenced with vigorous toweling and gentle blow-drying. I also gave her a squirt of "Survive" which is a liquid vitamin complex. Slowly she began to come around.
I knew she was going to need a coat because it's still pretty cold here and she needed to stay in the barn. I sewed up a little pink coat to fit her because I wanted a double layer one. I took a larger blue one that we already had out to her sister.
When I was fitting the coat on her, Stickley had to come over and have a look.
I'm not sure what he thought. He sniffed at her and then took up a position to watch from a distance. He's usually a little bit timid about things he's not familiar with.
I took her back out to the barn and put her back with Alystyne. I sat in the pen and watched, and watched, and watched. No successful nursing. I finally got down on my knees and latched her on to the teat, but she would only take a couple of sucks and then come off. She would not latch on for any length of time, and the rest of the time, she just lay in the hay. By the time 11:30 rolled around, and I had to leave for my classes today, little sister STILL wasn't nursing, although she was standing, with a lot of wobble. I didn't want to risk her life, so I took her with me. She lay quietly (for the most part) on my lap though Land Use Control, Gaming Law and Property class. I gave her the bottle between classes and she was drinking well.
When we got home again, I immediately took her out to Alystyne, who appeared to be happy to see her. I sat, and watched, and watched some more. No nursing. I put her on the teat, repeatedly, unsuccessfully. She might take a couple of sips, but nothing more. I checked out big sister and found that her umbilical cord was oozing blood and not drying up like little sister's had. I had done the iodine dip but it wasn't working very well. I tied her cord stub off with dental floss and it seems to be drying now.
Poor little lamb would not stop screeching. I had to leave the barn. She really had a "distress" sound to her and yet she had been fed. I don't know what more to do. Alystyne licks her and mumbles at her from time to time, but she's not super attentive. I will check on her before we go to bed. If she is still wailing, I will have to bottle feed again. I didn't want another bottle lamb right now, but that might be where we are headed this time if she doesn't catch on to nursing really soon.
In the meantime, I'm waiting for the next ewe to start laboring!