Lambing so farRSS feed

Posted: Wednesday 28 March, 2012

by Rosemary at 9:46am in Sheep 2 comments Comments closed

I visited my sister last weekend and got a hard time over the lack of diary entries - I am resolved to do better.

Our lambing this year was due to start on Sunday 25th March. Jinx, however, hadn't made a note in her diary and I got a text from Rebecca (who feeds the ponies about 6.30am) on Thursday 22nd to say that there was a lamb in the field and that both it and mum looked fine. Rebecca was correct - Jinx had a black tup lamb, weighing 4.5kg.

Jinx and lambJinx and her tup lamb

This is Jinx's fourth lambing and her fourth single tup - I've never seen her give birth, though. She's my favourite and she'll have a home for life, but she only seems to be able to produce one lamb at a time, so I'm glad she has tups as I wouldn't want to keep her daughters.

Nova lambed bang on time on Sunday. However, this wasn't quite as straightforward as Jinx. Nova is a first time lamber this year and a small sheep too. I bought her and her twin sister, Niamh, as ewe lambs. Both are expecting single lambs. Now, a single lamb is great for a first-timer to manage but unfortunately, singles can also be big lambs. And Nova's was a stonker.

I saw her starting at 5pm when I went to bring the ewes in. I could see one hoof and a big nose - not good. We caught her up, I donned gloves and had a wee feel. I could locate the second eg but couldn't get enough space to bring it round. I could see the lamb's tongue protruding and swelling. After about 15 minutes, I decided I wasn't able to deal with this and we called the vet. Fortunately, Alistair was on call and he's about 15 minutes from us. Typically, he was about three mouthfuls from the end of his dinner!

Alistair managed to get the second leg round, but then there wasn't room for the head in the birth canal :-( .  The only way that lamb was coming out was by a caesarean section. I held Nova while Alistair clipped the wool and injected the local. Dan's job was to stimulate the lamb once it was out and Rebecca's was to inject penicillan into the open wound. It was a tense few minutes as Alistair cut into Nova, carefully avoiding the rumen, and into the uterus. He worked so quickly - you could tell he'd done it before :-) .

Caesarian in progressCaesarian in progress

The lamb came out back legs first - a white tup. Dan started to rub him and clear his nose - immediately, he took a breath and started to shake his head. As Alistair cleaned up and closed up the wound, Dan almost had to sit on the lamb, which was trying to get up and get to his mum.

After the wound was stitched up, painkiller and antibiotic administered, we put Nova and the lamb in a pen. She didn't seem very interested (not surprisingly) but the lamb wasn't taking "no" for an answer. He was right in there for a feed. Fortunately, she had plenty milk and with a wee bit of assistance from me, he had three good feeds overnight. By morning, Nova had got the hang of the whole thing and had clearly bonded with the lamb. He weighed in at 5.5kg, so a big boy and he's bigger than Jinx's boy.

Alistair said the first 36 hours were crucial for the ewe. We administered a long acting antibiotic after 24 hours and yesterday morning, about 40 hours after giving birth, Nova and her lamb went out into the sun. Both look great - and sun's such a good healer.

Nova and lambNova getting oatcakes, her lamb tucking in to the milk bar!

Lyra is due to lamb today - she's scanned with a single but is a second timer and a big ewe, so I'm not too concened about her. Niamh, Nova's twin, is due tomorrow - another single - so I'm a wee bit anxious about that. Niamh is a bit bigger than Nova, but not much, so I'm hoping all goes well this time.

Alistair says that there is no reason why Nova shouldn't lamb normally next year but she might be hard to get in lamb this autumn. In the meantime, I'm just glad to have a healthy ewe and lamb.



Thursday 29 March, 2012 at 8:16am

Oh dear, this does not bode well for my two girls. They were sired by a Suffolk tup and currently resembly a barrel on its side with a peg at each corner. Fortunately I break up tomorrow and have two weeks to watch their every move.


Thursday 29 March, 2012 at 5:24pm

Might just be fluid :-)

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