It’s that time of year again. The incredibly wet, incredibly windy winter has passed into memory and we’ve switched from floods to proto-drought with nothing but full sun forecast for the next fortnight. The weather only does extremes these days.
We have four ewes lambing this year and the first three were all due within days of each other so we brought them up to the lambing pens the moment the rain stopped. The first ewe had triplets last Friday night. The second had twins on Monday…
And then came Tuesday.
The third ewe started lambing early Tuesday morning but had ring womb which meant a trip to the vet to get muscle relaxants, injections, anxious waits…
Afternoon came and she was still straining to no effect. More injections, more waiting. It wasn’t looking good for the ewe or her lambs. Shelagh managed to deliver the first lamb in the late afternoon. It was a difficult breech presentation and a very large lamb. The lamb wasn’t breathing. A fraught five minutes passed before Shelagh managed to resuscitate the lamb. The ewe then had another two lambs – one leg back presentation followed by a head back one. By the end the ewe was totally spent.
This was the closest we’ve come to losing a ewe. She was so exhausted she couldn’t even stand up to let the lambs suckle. And she barely had any milk anyway. So we’ve been bottle feeding three lambs, four times a day since Tuesday night. The ewe managed to get to her feet for a minute on Wednesday morning but spent most of the day crashed out and not looking at all well. She wouldn’t eat so we fed her by syringe – making a mash of her food concentrate and squeezing it into her mouth. And we used rescue remedy – brandy and flower extract – to give her a boost.
Since Thursday she’s been up and about, and managing to partially feed one of her lambs.
This determined lamb – the one with the ear malfunction – is one of her daughters. She’s the pushiest and races over to be fed whenever she sees us.
These pictures were taken yesterday. All three families spend the day on our lawn basking in the sun before returning to the lambing pens for the night. The first two family groups will return to the main field tomorrow. They’re strong enough. It will be a few days more for the other four.
Chris Dolley is a NY Times bestselling author living in France with a frightening number of animals. His novelette, What Ho, Automaton! was a finalist for the 2012 WSFA Small Press Award for short fiction. More information about his other work can be found on his BVC bookshelf . An Unsafe Pair of Hands – a quirky murder mystery set in rural England charting the descent and rise of a detective on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Which will break first? The case, or DCI Shand? Medium Dead – a fun urban fantasy chronicling the crime fighting adventures of Brenda – a reluctant medium – and Brian – a Vigilante Demon with an impish sense of humour. Think Stephanie Plum with magic and a dash of Carl Hiaasen. What Ho, Automaton! – Wodehouse Steampunk. Follow the adventures of Reggie Worcester, consulting detective, and his gentleman’s personal gentle-automaton, Reeves. It’s set in an alternative 1903 where an augmented Queen Victoria is still on the throne and automata are a common sight below stairs. Humour, Mystery, Aunts and Zeppelins! French Fried – the international bestseller – true crime, animals behaving badly and other people’s misfortunes. Imagine A Year in Provence with Miss Marple and Gerald Durrell. International Kittens of Mystery. If you like a laugh and looking at cute kitten pictures this is the book for you. It’s a glance inside the International Kittens of Mystery – the only organisation on the planet with a plan to deal with a giant ball of wool on a collision course with Earth? Resonance – “This is one of the most original new science fiction books I have ever read. If it is as big a hit as it deserves, it may well be this book which becomes the standard by which SF stories about … are judged.”