Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Sure-Fired Way...

A sure-fired way to get your sheep to give birth is...

Take a shower, put on clean clothes, and get ready to eat a nice meal with your husband!

I was all clean and refreshed, dressed in clothes that actually didn't smell like sheep, and the oven timer said 6 minutes to go before the wonderful-smelling casserole would be done. So, naturally, I picked that moment to go out and do a quick check of all the sheep in the lambing pens to make sure that none of them were lambing at the moment. Poor Paisley is as wide as a house and has been panting and grunting all day, so it can't be long now for her.

She was still uncomfortable when I went out, but not in labor yet. No one else was in labor yet. Everyone had been fed and watered. I was ready to have a nice supper!

I stepped out of the barn, and as I headed for the gate I happened to glance back into the "Ewes in Waiting" paddock where all the pregnant-but-probably-not-due-today ewes are. There was little Bylgja lying by the fence, having a contraction!

And furthermore, there was Savannah staring mournfully at me from the thicket of weeds ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE! Now, maybe on some farms, sheep getting out of the fences is a fairly common event, but not on our farm. We have 4-foot high fences with 2" x 4" wire mesh, tightly strung on stout wooden posts. Our gates have good latches, and they were all latched.

I have no idea how she got out, or how long she had been out. There's no gap she could have squeezed out of, no place she could have crawled under. For all I know, she could have flown, or teleported, or had the other sheep give her a boost! She is a Leadersheep, after all. They can figure things out!

There she was, sad and mournful amid the thick green grass, not only because she was separated from the flock, which is never a good thing for a prey animal, but also because it had been a warm day and there was no water available to her.

Ken came out just then to tell me that supper was ready, and I got him to help me lure Savannah back into her paddock. Then we lured Bylgja into the barn and shut her in a lambing pen. I watched her for a few minutes, but she didn't have another contraction, so I figured I was safe to go eat dinner.

After eating quickly, I hurried back out in time to see Bylgja straining with a contraction, and there was a nose and one toe showing. She's a first time mom, so I didn't have faith that she would be able to deliver a one-leg-back-presentation lamb without assistance, so I climbed in there and with a bit of struggle, helped her get it out.

The poor little black badgerfaced ewe lamb was so limp when it finally slid free, I thought it was dead. But I wiped its mouth and nose, then picked it up by its hind feet and swung it to shake any fluid from its lungs. In a second, it gave a gasp, and came to life.

Now mother and daughter are in the barn working on figuring out the nursing thing. And me... well, suffice to say I'm no longer quite as clean and refreshed as I was.

After all, what's an outfit without a little placenta and 7% iodine on it, anyway. Right?


Anonymous said...

Placenta and iodine. What a delightful exotic mix. You must market it, perhaps at a health store. Conjure images of Icelandic Gods and Mother Nature, and charge an astronomical fee. Solve all your money worries!

Glad everything worked out. Too bad you had to rush your nice meal though.

Ness said...

From my friends in L.A. I hear that placenta is all the rage now. All the top designers are releasing their 'birth goo' lines soon. So really, you have started a trend. :-)

Nancy Chase said...

Darn, if only I had patented the formula, I could be rich! :-)

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Been there done that! What's worse is when people show up before you get to change again :-D (They never do shake hands though!)

Rhea said...

Savannah the amazing, flying wonder sheep!! lol That's soo funny.