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 gave her some colostrum replacer to try and get her going.  She got a milk mustache!

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!


Mom L said...

Oh, my! I commented on FB - congratulations to Leslie, assuming she was the one who kidded. I'm sorry little sister is having so much trouble, but I am in deep awe of you for taking her to class. "Claire had a little lamb...."

You and Kelly are in my thoughts tonight, as are your babies.


Flartus said...

Wow...can't imagine taking notes with a lamb on my lap! That first picture of her sprawled adorably on your kitchen floor is the cutest thing I've seen in a while.

Here's hoping for some kind of success with Li'l Sis. And bon courage for the rest!

Susan said...

Wow, I sure hope the little one catches on to nursing! You took such great care of her today! I'll be checking back to see how they are doing.

Susan (Animalcrazy on Ravelry)

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

as darling as the critter babies are, I prefer the Grandma role over the Mama role. I want Mama to do the all the work of looking after 'em and I just want to play with 'em.

Apifera Farm said...


Carol said...

Claire....Congrats! Very cute little ones. Have you tried tube feeding with a stomach tube? It seems that tube feeding gives them the full belly and nutrition they need until they get strong enough to nurse on the ewe. Too many bottles and they forget about the udder. With tube feeding they still seems to search for the udder as they gain strength. With the bottle it seems like they shift their focus from "udder searching" to just wanting the bottle. At least that's what we're seeing this year with the few that needed supplementing in the beginning.

Although after a week of bottle feeding one little guy I found him one morning nursing on his mom. He never did the whole first week. So I guess it's a crap shoot!

Taking the lamb to class! You're gonna end up with one smart lamb out in that barn :-)...Congrats!

Melodie said...

How sweet! I hope the little one figures out what she is supposed to do soon! We had the exact thing happen to our last sheep babies too.Luckily for us after one night inside he went back to his momma and started nursing,whew! I will gladly do a bottle baby to keep them alive but I would rather not if I don't have to!

Louise said...

Fingers crossed that the little one is nursing this morning.

polly's path said...

I thought Leslie would be first...oh, well. Precious babies...and it sounds like you got yourself another house baby!
And just for the record, taking a newborn baby animal to class officially makes me suspect that we are related by blood. I mean...this is straight out of my files!
I hope both babies do well today-I will be thinking about you guys.
p.s. we had Tardy disbudded last night by local goat friends who raise goats for a living. I cried my eyes out when i saw him after the procedure. I don't think I can ever have it done to another baby.
And, p.p.s. I may have found a family in the area who has a fainting doeling for sale! Tardy wants a playmate really bad!!!

Animals with Opinions said...

lol my first thought was also "claire had a little lamb". the human thinks they are adorable and wishes she had a bottle lamb. they are sheep and thats all i have to say about it. hope she makes it though cause i know how upset you will be if she doesn't.

gerald the sympathetic goat

Becky Utecht said...

Congratulations on your first BFL lambs Claire. I sure hope the one you have been bottle feeding will catch on to nursing soon. Sometimes it takes a day or two of supplementing before they take to the real thing.

Claire said...

Carol - I've got the tube and syringe in case it's needed. The Storey's Barn Guide gives good directions. I didn't use it this time...maybe I should have. When I tried her back with her mom though, she was head-butted across the pen. No luck there!

Polly - I'm right there with you on disbudding. I just can't do it. All our goats are horned. Convenient handles. Keep an eye on bucks, but with wethers there usually isn't a problem. I just can't do disbudding.