Monday, January 30, 2012

Overnight Delivery

In all the years we’ve been shepherds, during all those middle-of-the-night trips to the barn, we have never had to deliver lambs in the middle of the night. I did all those nocturnal checks just to keep from feeling like….maybe I should have done more.

Most of the time, the lambs are born in the early morning or at least in the light of day. I can only remember one time where we were lambing out a ewe at midnight. (and that project had started earlier in the evening) I just figured we’d keep checking…and finding nothing.

Until now.

Last night, on my final check before bedtime, it was obvious that one of the ewes was in labor. I decided to take the cautious approach and give her a little more time. When I went back an hour later, there was a nice ram lamb up and looking for a meal. YES!

It was then obvious that two other ewes were in labor. No sleeping tonight! I backed off and waited to see what would happen. One was in hard labor and appeared to need a little help. As I checked out the situation, suddenly the lamb was born. Wow! Another big one! I got her up and nursing and put the pair in a jug pen.

Now, I was going to need a third pen, so I began to make some arrangements in the barn. This caused all the other sheep to flip out and it got to be somewhat of a madhouse. A little treat of hay settled everyone down nicely.

The third ewe was beginning to moan and cry and wander around the barn in an anxious manner. Oh Bother! That is my cue for becoming the vet. Despite my best efforts, she was having none of my interventive care. I looked at my clock, 1:15…hate to do it, but, guess I better wake the Boss.

When he came into the barn, he was startled at the turn of events. Neither of us had expected to see one lamb in the middle of the night, let alone multiple lambs.

He held onto the ewe as I began my exam. Thankfully, everything was in the right place…unlike the other day. The lamb was quite large and the ewe is rather small, so it took more than a little effort to get it born. However, she was born, she was healthy, and mama-sheep took over. Since the lamb was quite large, I didn’t even think about the fact there might be twins. I was tired and forgot "the rule". The general rule is…if you gotta go in…make sure you get them all out! We jugged them as well and headed back to bed. I checked the clock again. Just past 2am...not too bad.

Imagine my surprise when I went back after about an hour to check on everyone and found ANOTHER lamb! Yes, skinny, little Freak (one of the barn’s many characters...she's the "sheep that flew"...) had TWINS! She’s got two little ewe lambs, bleating around, looking for food, seeming quite healthy.

How’s that for overnight delivery?

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