At 7:00 a.m. I woke up and looked out the window for a pregnant ewe check. Sure enough - Nera was pacing around the pen. I threw on my clothes and went down to my studio to observe her progression. After about 30 minutes it was clear that she was having difficulties, so I called the vet. Unfortunately, our vet was out of town at a conference. So I tried calling several other vets. None of the vets that I called were able to come to the farm to assist. They said that we could bring the sheep to them - which we decided to do if we couldn't get the lamb out ourselves.
The first task was catching Nera. She has always been a somewhat skittish sheep, but this day she acted particularly stupid. You'd think that she would realize that we were just trying to help her deliver the lamb whose nose was peeking out of her bottom. Nope. Nera thought that we suddenly decided to have sheep kabobs. When we finally caught her, I did an internal exam and discovered that the lamb was presented head first with both front legs pushed way up under its body. I was able to grab one foot and bring it around into position, but couldn't get the second leg. Even though he delivers human babies for a living, Kirk wasn't too thrilled when I told him that we needed to switch positions (he was holding Nera's head). However, my wonderful hubby stepped up to the plate and was able to deliver the lamb pretty quickly.
We then had the wonderful task of dragging Nera to the jug. I say "we." Technically it was Kirk who did most of the dragging. I was holding the slippery little lamb and attempting to help. Because we had assisted in the delivery of the lamb, there wasn't a release of oxytocin/hormones to trigger the maternal instinct....so at first all Nera did was run back and forth in the jug - trampling the poor lamb. However, after I stripped her teats and got a few drops of colostrum into the lamb's mouth Nera started to calm down. Then it was like a switch was thrown in her head and she started licking and taking care of the baby. That was SUCH a huge relief.
Due to the fact that her head was stuck in the birth canal for over an hour, the lamb's nose was swollen for the first two days. That is why it looks a little strange in the following photos. Otherwise, she is a beautiful little girl and I think that Nera and Keegan did quite well!
|Hmmmm....I think I need a little snack....|
|Mommy is moving to position herself between the crazy lady with the camera and her baby.|
|The stripe down her back is dried blood from where her mommy dragged the placenta over her.|