We have been waiting for the last of our ewes to lamb. We were relatively sure she was pregnant but there was no sign of her lambing any time soon. On Sunday we wormed the sheep and heptavaced the lambs and it looked like she had gone into labour but then nothing happened and she was calm and settled with the flock. This morning she had seperated herself off and was behaving as if she might be about to lamb. She was skittish though and nervous of me being around. I left her to it. When I checked back later she was settled and showed no signs of distress. I left her to it. After work I went on and she had obviously been straining for a while and had a dead lamb stuck. With Kath’s mum’s help I managed to get the sheep into the catching pen and get hold of her. The lamb had presented head first and was stuck. I couldn’t even feel its feet. We called our friend Malcolm who came up immediately. Initially he couldn’t get to the legs to pull them out either but eventually he managed and pulled the lamb out. There was a second but it was coming head first again. Malcolm couldn’t get the legs out. He talked me through what I should be able to feel and I tried hoping that my smaller hand and wrist would give us enough room to get the lamb in the right position – I couldn’t do it. We called the vet who seemed to take forever to come. When he did arrive he managed to pull the second lamb out – this one was enormous. It looked more like a large single than one of what turned out to be triplets. It was however also already dead. There was then a third which the ewe pushed out herself into the vets hands. It was tiny and it was breathing. We swung it in an arc to clear its lungs, we dried it and kept it warm tucked in my fleece between my bodyheat and the fleecy lining. It tried, it kept breathing and fighting but it was too weak and by the time I got it to Anne’s house to even start trying to feed it had slipped away.
The ewe was exhausted and in pain. She just kept looking at me and just before the vet arrived she was groaning and kept trying to lie down. She was also starting to just shiver a little. Once the lambs were removed the vet gave her a shot of strong painkiller and antibiotics. He is confident she is going to be absolutely fine. I was happier when I saw her head straight for the rest of the flock and settle in with them. I will check on her in the morning. She’s such a gorgeous little thing and I really hope she will be ok.
I am gutted. It is just so sad. I know it is the way it is, I know we did everything we could but it is still heartbreaking.