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Author Topic: What a night!!!  (Read 7046 times)

Farmer Giles

  • Joined Dec 2007
What a night!!!
« on: April 21, 2008, 09:18:20 am »
Firstly apologies for the length of this post but for me it is an experience I won't forget and there are no real questions, well perhaps one at the end. I Wondered whether any other folk have had an experience similar??

Well as per the title of the post, what a night!!!

It all started when we went to put our six lambs and mums away for the night at about 7-30 (we have had two stray dogs marauding around and they killed 5 hens and two Guinea fowl  :( :( a few days ago so are erring on the side of caution) and had two sets in when I noticed one of the other ewe's that was due to lamb soon running around with the head of a lamb showing. Oh bu***r I thought I need to catch her and get her in as the lamb looked a little blue in the face and I could see it's little tongue sticking out and this was very swollen.

I called for my wife as I needed help to try to catch her, all the other ewe's were running around and the one I was after was running with them. We try, especially with the first time mum's, to watch for signs and get them indoors but this ewe was, by our reckoning, a couple of days early. Twenty minutes later we managed to corner her and she went into one of the field shelters, I managed to get in with her and concerned that the stress could have damaged mum and lamb I attempted to pull the lamb out (please bear in mind I have never aided a birth before) it wouldn't budge, My wife said shall I get some rope?? and I suggested not but to get some warm water and towels (well that's what they do when a birth occurs on the telly!!) then I put my hand in and found it's feet and pulled them as hard as I could and I felt the lamb move a little. I pulled some more and all of a sudden the little thing popped out and landed softly on the ground. I looked but couldn't see any movement. My wife had returned with the towels etc. so I rubbed and rubbed to try to stimulate life and low and behold a murmur and the little girl was away, I cleared the thick & sticky membrane from around her head and nose and it took about ten to fifteen minutes before she was properly conscious and making any noise, apart from a little whimper now and again. Her tongue was still very swollen making it hard for her to close her mouth. Slowly she rallied and after maybe half an hour she was much better. In the interim I checked mum and all was well apart from a total lack of interest in her newborn lamb, and in fact before I had finished checking her she shot out of the shelter and joined the other sheep.

After a time we moved the now named Poppy (well after some help she just 'popped' out) into a shelter nearer the house and needed to get mum and ensure there wasn't another one due and everything was well. We caught her again, after an age, and got her near the shelter where by now poppy was bleating. There was not a sound from mum. By this time I had managed to read a bit in a book of what was needed so I checked mum over and did the deed to see if there was another due but this proved not to be. We introduced mum and Poppy but she had and indeed has no interest whatsoever, we had to keep putting Poppy onto the teat but mum kept butting her away

What do I do, I was worried and needed help but who could I call??? This is where the Accidental Smallholder came to the fore. I looked for details on a mothers lack of interest in her lamb but couldn't find anything but I saw 'thewoolyshepherds' web address and it had a phone number. I called and a friendly voice answered (this was 10pm here 9pm in the UK) it was Mr. Woolyshepherd, I was soon passed over to Val who gave me all of the advice I needed and I want to say through this forum Val THANK YOU SO MUCH for your helpful advice, it was a great help to have my probably very naive questions answered. Truly, were it not for this forum I would have been scuppered!!

A heat lamp was duly installed and Poppy soon settled but mum still didn't want to know her. Eleven o'clock passed and I watched and offered Poppy to mum to feed but had to hold mum and latch Poppy on, this is still the case. At one thirty the same scenario and again at four o'clock and seven thirty this morning. I am going to make a holding crate today and try mum out in it, hopefully it will be the answer. If not then it seems that hand rearing will be the order of the day.

Now my question, is it possible that Poppy may be blind or partially sighted as a result of the delayed birth & maybe starving of oxygen?? The reason I ask is everytime we offer her up to mum she cannot determine where the teat is and even goes to mums head in search of the teat, she appears not to be able to see anything and although she bleats mum does not utter any sound. When I talk she acknowledges and comes toward the sound but if something be in the way she stumbles into or over it, I cannot help wondering if she may have a problem with her sight. Anybody any thoughts on this??

Thanks for taking the time to read this sharing in my experience
p.s. thankfully Poppy appears to be doing well  ;D ;D ;D



  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: What a night!!!
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2008, 12:45:20 pm »
Hello and good morning Andy!

Am in doing computer work as its pouring outside! Glad all is going ok after the initial horrors! Now regarding the lambs is often the case that a lamb will look all over for the teat rather than in the right place if mum is not pushing and encouraging her to go in the right direction! She should be ok however.....
I had a ewe that was a lamb we didn't notice anything different about her, her eyes looked fine and she was a fantastic lamb (Dorset Down) I retained her for breeding and she was commented on by the judge in the 2006 flock competition....he thought she was superb. However he didn't know what we knew by then!

She was always a bit clumsy and was always with her friend number 116.....when we had them sheared at a year old she walked straight into a gatepost.....her friend having been penned elsewhere. We looked at her eyes and they looked normal but had no reaction if you shone a light at them!.....she was blind! Well she went on to lamb herself.....was always shreiking for her lamb and was a very diligent mum. I sold her with her friend to a good home last year and she has since lambed with them!
So.....if the lamb does have a sight problem.....don't worry!
Keep up the good work, plug it into the udder every few hours....mum might eventually realise its hers!
Hope you get a little more sleep tonight!

Overall winner of the Devon Environmental Business Awards 2009

Farmer Giles

  • Joined Dec 2007
Re: What a night!!!
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2008, 10:17:14 pm »
Phew it appears all is well and she isn't blind, just the stress of birth.

Still trying to get mum and lamb to reunite but it seems that we will have to hand rear, that will be an education!! One thing I did notice whilst checking mum for milk was blood coming from one teat when squeezed gently. It started of as pink yesterday but today it was pure blood. Is this normal and will it clear?? I don't recall the other ewes having the same thing, definately a worry if it's not normal.


  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Normandy, France
Re: What a night!!!
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2008, 10:29:49 pm »
Phew, I am exhausted after reading this rivetting tale.  I don't think anything ordinary every goes on in the home of Farmer Giles! Your experiences certainly make the lives of the rest of us a little dull to say the least!

Well done all of you and lots of luck with Poppy and mummy.  I shall be looking in now to see what the problem is  with mums teat. Please hurry up and post Val because I shant be able to go to bed until I know!

I hope you get some sleep tonight Andrew

Lots of good wishes

Kate  :sheep: ???
Bonjour et avoir un bon jour !

Farmer Giles

  • Joined Dec 2007
Re: What a night!!!
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2008, 11:05:21 pm »
Hi Kate

Never a dull moment is true but it is very tiring. Should have grown wheat or barley, you dont get that jumping fences or having icky tummies!!

Wonder what's in store for tomorrow  ???  ???


  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: What a night!!!
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2008, 07:58:33 pm »

Have been in hospital all day having knee surgery for a problem caused by attempting to stand on a wall to observe an escaping pig in early march.....still a bit woozy but I know what the problem is.....ewe has mastitis! She will need a course of antibiotic from if I have a problem like that I give 5ml for 5 days of the antibiotic I always have to hand which is a general one. However you are in France so things will be different, call vet if you don't posess abs ....needs urgent treatment as will possibly kill sheep if left as it sounds a bad one.
Take lamb away and hand rear. put it in a pen and give 300ml feeds 4 times a day plus lamb pellets and ad lib GOOD not let it onto grass until weaned and then introduce grass carefully! Ring if you need help....I really don't mind :)


Overall winner of the Devon Environmental Business Awards 2009


  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Normandy, France
Re: What a night!!!
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2008, 08:28:43 am »
Having read the latest posting, how are mum and baby doing Andrew?

Kate  :-\ :sheep:
Bonjour et avoir un bon jour !


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What a night!!!
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2008, 09:45:54 pm »
Oh do please let us know how they are, and also how are you bearing up.


Farmer Giles

  • Joined Dec 2007
Re: What a night!!!
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2008, 10:01:20 pm »
Hi all

Well thanks for asking how Poppy & mum are. They are good, in fact great, even better than that they are super. Mum has no interest whatsoever but is being treated for a nasty bout of mastitis and is doing fine.

The little bundle of happiness Poppy , although as I have had a drinky poo I could say that little bundle of poppyness happy is just a sweetie and is loved and admired by everyone who comes here. She wanders adhoc into the house and generally has a wee on the floor, much to the dogs disgust, and then follows us around like a shadow trying to trip us over and running and jumping like a spring lamb.....................oh forgot she is!!!

So short story long = all is well and as for me????? just a little tired but ever beautiful, well I have to blow me own trumpet whenever I get a chance.

Tried to add a picture again of Popsicle but it ain't working, sorry.


  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Normandy, France
Re: What a night!!!
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2008, 11:41:39 pm »
Well without a pic to show on TAS I can reveal that I have been lucky enough to see a photograph of Poppy and she is just peachy.  She is the most beautiful coffee colour and has hair that looks like the wavy curls of a Ouessant lamb.  She is very unusual and very beautiful.

Our Farmer Giles is also very unusual and very beatiful  - cough!-  couldn't resist Andrew - sorry ;D ;D

Kate  :pig: :sheep:
Bonjour et avoir un bon jour !


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