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Author Topic: Stupid lambing questions  (Read 1501 times)

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Stupid lambing questions
« on: November 16, 2021, 08:27:04 pm »
Lambing is a way off yet but with it being tupping time Iím thinking ahead and have a couple of questions that I feel like I should already know the answer to. I like to think of this forum as a safe place to ask stupid questions so here goesÖ

1) I get confused over bags. Thereís the water bag which is clear meaning lamb is on its way. But then I sometimes see a bag of red liquid too. Can someone explain how many bags there should be?

2) How do you know that a lamb isnít going to come out naturally and would need a c-section?

3) If you have a true breech, bum first, do you bring the back legs back the same as youíd bring the front legs forward if they were both back and you just had a head?

4) If you assist a lamb would you then pull any subsequent lambs?

So that wasnít a couple, it was four, but hey-ho!

Feel free to add your own questions!

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2021, 11:05:58 pm »
OK, this is the blind leading the blind, but I'll have a go!  ;D

1) There is a clear-ish bag of liquid which contains the lamb. Before this bag appears, you can get one or more dangly red bags. I have no idea what they are, and am glad you asked!  ::)

2) I don't know - in six years, I've always managed to get them out the same way they went in. Just be assured that C-sections are not all that common. I guess if a ewe is struggling with a very big lamb, or if she hasn't opened up properly, that could require a C-section. However, again, I'm glad you asked, as now we'll get to find out!  ;D

3) Yes. Usually a backwards lamb will get stuck coming bum first. Check for tail, and the direction the 'wrists' bend, so you definitely know what you're dealing with (try that on a newborn - front and back legs bend different ways and have different, er, elbows). Then, push the lamb back in, cup back hooves in your hand and bring them up and out. Then pull in a downwards direction. Once you start this maneuver you don't have long, so brace yourself and get on with it!


4) Depends on why I had to assist. If it was due to a leg back etc, there's no reason why subsequent lambs wouldn't be born naturally. If you were lambing hundreds in a barn you'd just deliver the others and move on to the next sheep, but as a smallholder you don't need to be so efficient, and can let things happen naturally. I set a timer for 30 minutes in between lambs, and if there's progress I leave alone. If nothing has happened after that time, I might go in in s minimal a way as possible, just to check all is well.

HTH!

>Feel free to add your own questions!

5) We have a ewe who has bitten tails off her newborns for two years running. She would have been mutton by now, but life is complicated, so she's being tupped again. Any ideas how I can stop her this time?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
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Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2021, 07:06:08 am »
I'm just going to answer Q2
...... any time you are struggling to lamb a ewe and really cant .... call an expert (neighbour if you are lucky or  vet)   Dont struggle on as you can make matters worse.  Vet will make C section call .... it is not for you to make.

Here we transport sheep to vets (no call out).   I have done this twice in 8 yrs..... the first time the traveling sorted the problem with lamb appearing naturally in vet car park (no bill!) . :excited:
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

http://nantygroes.blogspot.co.uk/
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twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2021, 07:39:30 am »
If I donít get any progress within 20 mins of trying to lamb a ewe I call someone more experienced. If itís jumbled I normally ring my partner (much to his disgust :roflanim: ), if itís just plain tight / stuck I normally ring the vet. Any c sections ive had in my sheep so far have been too tight, probably small pelvis or something. Iíd rather make the call to take them out the side slightly earlier, and still have live lambs, then try pulling and then have dead lambs and a bruised ewe.


A true breech will be just a tail, so push the bum back in, reach for the back hooves but be careful they donít tear the ewe as you bring them through. Need to get the lamb out quick once you start pulling.


If I assist yes I will pull the other lambs, unless the lamb isnít within reach and is still quite deep down. Then normally wait until itís come up.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2021, 11:52:25 am by twizzel »

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2021, 09:35:38 am »
Vet will make C section call .... it is not for you to make.


That's a good point! I have twice called the vet thinking we might need a C-section, but the first time it turned out to be a dead lamb who was unsurprisingly not being very co-operative (delivered 'normally' by me, with the vet shouting encouragement from a safe distance). The second time the ewe had been pushing for ages, but was just very tight. The vet talked me through how to stretch her using my hands (am I really even typing this? It took ages, and was really tiring), and the lambs were born normally.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2021, 11:28:15 am »
I had to look up q1 as i have never bothered how many fluid sacs , just so long as i saw one , occasionally there can be 2or 3 of different sizes at the same time .    Quote - The lamb is surrounded by two fluid filled sacs , the Allantosis  and the Chorian which protect the foetus from injury                                                 q2   In 50+ years i have only had 4 ceasers out of  many many thousand lambings ,if after  hours of looking uncomfortable /pushing there is no sign of a lamb and when you examine internally then you can find no reason for a prolonged effort eg head and legs twisted , breach , two lambs at the same time then you have to feel for the cervix ,  which will be open so you can feel some part of the lamb or closed so only maybe a finger or2 can go through , this is when help is needed in whatever form vet or experiance .  It may be possible to open up with gentle manipulation  and time or it may lead to a ceaser.  Very small  pelvis with legs that feel thick can lead to a ceaser  or a young small sheep that has accidently mated to a large ram  will need a ceaser . There is no cut and dried reason .                                                              q3 has been well answered                                                                                                                    q4 depends on how long she had been lambing and how difficult a birth the first lamb was  and if the second lamb is on its  way or still a long way back in the womb                                                                   q5 some sheep will nibble or bite one of a pair only and some may do it one year and not again  ,rare for a ewe to do it every year but i suppose the only way i can think of to stop her is remove the lambs at birth and dry them yourself then put them back   or try to fix  a paper towel roll center  over the tail ??
« Last Edit: November 17, 2021, 12:31:37 pm by shep53 »

silkwoodzwartbles

  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2021, 01:10:07 pm »
@Womble, at what point does she bite the tails off? Is it when they're new born and she's cleaning them over-enthusiastically or does she wait til you've checked all's well and left, and then do it? If the former, I'd take @shep53 's advice and clean them off yourself. If the latter, I'd be very inclined to put her in an adopter/tie her up/put a cone of shame on her so she can't grab them until they're big enough (and hopefully smart enough) to dodge her teeth.

Either way, she'd be on a one way ticket here as I'm not very patient with ewes that have been given every opportunity but still can't find it in themselves to love their babies.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2021, 01:17:54 pm »
It happens at birth. Once they're licked off, she's fine with them.

The first year, I saw it happen, but I was too far away to intervene. Then last year she lambed at night and I missed it - just two stumpy lambs first thing in the morning.

If I catch her lambing this year, I guess I could in effect hold the lamb while she licked it, and then put them in the adopter until dried off?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2021, 02:39:53 pm »
C-sections are really quite rare in the traditional sheep breeds, esp if they are purebred, or to a tup with a smallish head and shoulders (so no texel or Beltexes..). As others have said, the vet will decide.


First-timers can take hours to get on with lambing, I only start to worry if she has seriously pushed for half an hour or so and no progress is seen. I have found slow progress/opening-up in my dairy goats is often solved by a sub-cutaeneous injection of the usual quantitiy of Calciject over the ribcage (anything bewteen 30 or 60ml, depending on ewe size and Calciject concentration), they usual produce within the hour after that.


The best you can do to prepare is to go on Tim Tyne's lambing course, if he is still doing them. It is a week away from home, usually in mid-March and very hard work. But the best preparation for a "normal" lambing, rather than just the "worst case" scenario you get at the usual vet-led courses.


I don't usually pull any subsequent lambs/kids after asisting the first. However if the vet is already here (I had a few bad kiddings) then it may just be quickest to bring the remainder out (esp if the the first one was dead, as the chances are second one may be as well). It is always the first lamb that causes problems, after it is out, the second one has room to get into the right position.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2021, 03:55:55 pm »
I don't usually pull any subsequent lambs/kids after asisting the first. However if the vet is already here (I had a few bad kiddings) then it may just be quickest to bring the remainder out (esp if the the first one was dead, as the chances are second one may be as well). It is always the first lamb that causes problems, after it is out, the second one has room to get into the right position.



Not necessarily. Iíve had quite a few where the first lamb(s) have come normally but the last has been true breach, backwards, leg back.

silkwoodzwartbles

  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2021, 06:54:14 pm »
We bought a lambing camera last year and it's been so helpful as we were able to nip down as soon as we needed to. In your troublesome ewe's case you could go down as soon as she started nesting and be there for the birth? We bought a Livestock Eye but it's actually just this much cheaper camera (https://micronic.co.uk/products/camhi-app-wireless-wi-fi-3g-4g-cctv-security-video-camera-recorder-2-way-audio?variant=32651259150420&currency=GBP&utm_medium=product_sync&utm_source=google&utm_content=sag_organic&utm_campaign=sag_organic&utm_campaign=gs-2019-10-19&utm_source=google&utm_medium=smart_campaign) with a Livestock Eye sticker on it ::)

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2021, 07:49:52 pm »
I donít scan so I especially look out for bags after one lamb has been born - would it be safe to say a bag (of any colour maybe!) means thereís still a lamb to come?

The c-section thing makes sense. It would be no progress for a while at which point call a vet, (Iím not lucky enough to live in an area where people like to help each other). Someone I spoke to about lambing earlier in the year said theyíd had a not a great time with more than one c-section so good to hear it may not be that common. The only time Iíve called a vet for help before is when I couldnít make out what was coming, and it turned out the lamb was both dead and deformed with all legs bending the same way.

So with the lamb coming forwards but one/two legs back Iíd cup the hoof and push the leg up into the body as I draw it forward. And the breech would be the same in reverse? I remember going to a vet course that said if it was a true breech it was best to call a vet. But for more than one reason Iíd rather avoid this!

The pulling the second lamb I was thinking if first one has been delayed for some reason and I donít know how long itís been waiting. My first year I had a big first lamb and then the second was small and coming back legs  first so I just got him out. Another time I helped the first one, checked the second which seemed to be in good position so left it, but by the time it was coming it had changed and needed help.

Womble I have nothing extra to add to advice given already. I know the guy who sold me my first sheep said ewes can do this being over-zealous cleaners. I guess it would be strange if they bit them off any time after cleaning! Itís something Iíve watched for ever since, and also for cleaning their tummies as also heard they can lick their umbilicals too hard and draw their intestines out (or maybe I have completely imagined this can happen, or just worry too much  :D )

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2021, 08:07:30 pm »
Rare for a ewe to pull out the intestines but it does happen .        The best and easiest way to tell if there is a second lamb is to push the stomach just in front of the udder and you should feel a lamb or something hard  , if no lamb then will be soft & floppy
« Last Edit: November 17, 2021, 08:15:12 pm by shep53 »

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2021, 09:41:56 pm »
I guess it would be strange if they bit them off any time after cleaning!


Yes, very rare, but it can happen. A few years ago, a Zwartbles breeder near here found tails missing on most of their newborn lambs. They originally suspected foul play (sheep showing can be pretty competitive  ;)), but actually it turned out to be a ewe who was going round chewing tails off!! :o
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Backinwellies

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  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Stupid lambing questions
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2021, 07:30:12 am »

 And the breech would be the same in reverse? I remember going to a vet course that said if it was a true breech it was best to call a vet. But for more than one reason Iíd rather avoid this!

It really depends on how much the ewe is pushing and if you can easily push back in ....  as push it right back in you will have to to get legs round in a breech... 

The first one of these I did with a full class of primary children watching (I was terrified I would lamb a dead one!) ... fortunatly outcome was full success with lively lamb and very happy children!
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

http://nantygroes.blogspot.co.uk/
www.nantygroes.co.uk
Nantygroes  facebook page

 

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