Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cold lamb

"I always slow down when I get to the barn door," I explained to Abi as we walked toward the barn. "If the ewe is a first time Mom and is frightened or if she's have a hard delivery and she's anxious, I don't want to scare her out of the barn. It's much easier on her babies to be in the barn in this cold."

21 orange was neither frightened nor anxious. She stood just inside the door, a gangly white lamb standing beside her. 21 orange licked her lamb. The lamb shuddered.

Cold lamb! Not surprising, it was still below zero outside.

I grabbed a couple of towels from the cabinet and handed them to Abi,  then  hung a heat lamp over a pen and turned on the light. I untied the corner ties on the front panel of the pen and fluffed up the straw on the floor. Then I picked up the new lamb and carried it to the pen. I walked slowly, backwards, holding the lamb down for 21 orange to sniff and follow. "Come on Mom," I murmured. "We'll get you into a nice warm pen."

21 orange is an old ewe; she knew the routine. When I set her baby down and moved away, she walked right into the pen and began licking him again. I gestured Abi in after him. "Dry him off with the towel." Once the lamb was dry, I cut his umbilical cord and dipped it in iodine. Then I stripped milk from his mother's teats. Abi filled a bucket with water and hung it on the pen wall. I added a slice of hay.The lamb was still shivering, so we hung a second heat lamp.

When we returned with the barn to introduce Dave to our newest addition, the lamb was still shivering.  I ran back to the house for a thermometer and a lamb bottle. Dave milked 21 orange into a jar while I took the lamb's temperature. Normal. The shivering was probably due to the cold, not to an inability to keep his temperature up, a problem that has haunted us for several years. If we could get him nursing, he'd be fine.

Dave put the lamb onto his mother's nipple, holding mom in place with his shoulder and the lamb in place with his hands and knees. The lamb sucked a little, but got distracted easily. Finally, Abi poured the fresh milk into the bottle and held the lamb while I fed him. He nursed well. When we left the barn his shivers were almost gone.

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