Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lambing and kidding oh my!

The season of blessed events got started with Charity a first time lamber.  All was well until the 10 pm barncheck when a very confused Charity was excavating with determination but no understanding of the impending event.  The bad part was she was exactly a week ahead of schedule.  I knew there had been an altercation in the morning about feeding space arrangements but didn't realize how serious the dispute was.   Of course since it was a week early I had to leap into collecting all the lambing gear for the "what if" situations that can sometimes develop.  

 A week early is right on the edge of survivability for preemie lambs so I was not optimistic about the outcome of this endeavor.  Charity was confused until I let her smell the fluids from her waterbag and the lightbulb came on with a vengance.  Its a BABY!!!  She proceeded to push and a tiny 2 pound lamb arrived cold and confused, gasping in the chilly air.  She licked it and I suctioned the airway and the tiny heart continued to beat like a hummingbird.  I milked out some of the lifegiving colostrum and got a bit down the little fellow by dribbling it into his mouth.  He lacked the sucking reflex but got enough colostrum to keep him warm until he adjusted a bit. 

His sibling must have been the one that got whacked in the fray as it teetered on the edge of survival and then slipped over.    I distracted Charity and covered the little body with a towel and moved it off to the side.  

To help keep the little one warm I filled several bottles with hot water and placed them under the straw in his box.  Nestled between them he slept soundly without shivering; his young mother watching his every breath.

Charity is a superb mother to this fragile infant, gentle and comforting.  She was so cooperative when I was milking her out I had a feeling she knew this was the only way her little man could get nourishment right now.  Several times that night we worked together to get colostrum into the baby.  In the morning I knew I would have to tube him if he didn't start to suck but I hesitate to do that until there is no option.  Before work I gave it one more try and SUCCESS!   That lightbulb reappeared and what took 15 minutes to get down him earlier disappeared in a flash!  He never looked back after that!   

With a full tummy and a loving mom he started to bounce.  Two bounces and a nap at first.  Then a few more and another nap.  He curls up in his box of straw and grows.  Now he is bouncing with the best of them and looking forward to meeting the other lambs.  He is still a tiny little guy but he is catching up fast.  He has a great future ahead of him I think.  He has presence and he has already won his first place in mom's heart.


  1. What a wonderful story, in spite of the loss. And a sobering reminder of what can happen; I need to move the wether out of the ewe group because he is not always a gentleman. He mostly picks on one unbred yearling, but no use taking unnecessary chances.

  2. Sorry about the loss, that's never easy. But glad to hear the tiny one is doing okay, he sure is a cutie.