Shepherding 201 (Part 2) How I Became a Midwife

If you read the last post you may remember that while Duncan was being rejected by his mother, Cheviot #7 was trying to have her lamb.  We sequestered Duncan in a separate jug from his mother and went back to watching Cheviot #7.  She labored for about 45 minutes with little progress.  She was outside the ram pen; those darn rams kept poking their heads into her business, if you know what I mean.  As a mother myself, I’m pretty sure that hubby didn’t have quite the same empathy as I did.  I was hurtin’ for the poor ewe!  She was straining and straining.  She stood up (grunt) and lay back down (groan.)  Grunt…groan…uungh…umph.  I flinched each time she pushed.  She was working so hard and making so little progress.  I moved closer to check that both hooves and a nose could be seen on the lamb.  Yes, the baby was coming out hooves and nose first, as it should.  But then I noticed that the tongue was sticking out and looked purplish.  Yikes!  The sheep books say to wait at least 45 minutes before intervening.  Now a purple tongue on the baby had me completely worried.  (I have since learned that this can happen and is not abnormal.)

TH (Trophy Husband) helped me place a halter on #7 and we brought her into a lambing jug.  TH held the ewe while I put on gloves and a little lube (just in case I needed to help loosen a shoulder.)  With the next contraction, I held the lamb’s front feet and pulled down.  The lamb was out to it’s back hips.  It hung there, half in/half out, while mom took a break.  She was exhausted!  At the next contraction, I pulled again and the lamb flopped to the ground.  It laid there – motionless – for what seemed like 10 minutes, but was most likely only five seconds.  It’s dead.  I was sure.  Then, all at once, the clouds parted and angels started singing!  Well…at least it felt like they were singing…  The lamb started twitching and struggling to get out of the sack.  Yeah!  It was alive!  Ewe mom was licking the lamb while I cleaned the sack off its nose and mouth so it wouldn’t inhale any fluid into it’s lungs.

Chev 7 lamb 2009

Now I was so excited I couldn’t stand it.  The lamb was white… now I checked the back end… and a girl!!  I checked three times to confirm that she was a girl.  Little Fiona is beautiful and weighed 11 lb. 5 oz.  at birth.   So my North Country Cheviot ewelings delivered well for the Shepherdess.  We have black and white Cheviot Mule ewes to add to our flock here at Roundabout Acres.

Chev 7 and Fiona in jug 2009

I now feel like I am becoming a true Shepherdess and we indeed, are learning how to be farmers.  This, our second lambing season, has presented us with a few more challenges which we have been able to meet, thanks to the help of books, Yahoo groups, and knowledgeable shepherd and llama friends.  Thank you to all!  However, we are not done lambing yet.  We still have about four or five Shetlands left to lamb, sometime around the beginning of June.

Chev 7 and ewe lamb Fiona 2009

In the next post, I will give you an update on Duncan, our bottle lamb; Lyra and her lamb (lambs??); and the final statistics for BFL Dougal’s Mule lambs.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. I loved ready the story of Fiona’s birth. She was a big one for a first time mom. No wonder she needed a bit of a rest. Congrats on the two Cheviot Mule lambs. I’m sure lambing out your Shetlands will be a piece of cake. 😉

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  2. Do you remember that stuff lamb toy that you had when you were a kid that I somehow got from you? The lamb was sitting and looks just like the new lamb!

    I also have that huge stuffed sheep that I got from Grandma and Grandpa S for Christmas in 1986 (I think). It had a cow bell on it that you took away. >.<

    I should them both to you, Sheep Mom.

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