Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Eudora's first lambs

Eudora gave birth to two ewe lambs late this morning -

I would like to say it went smoothly but this is Eudora. She mothered the first lamb easily, but the second, slightly smaller, lamb couldn't keep up with Mother and big sister. I spotted the first signs of hypothermia which quickly went downhill.

I rushed to the vets for a drenching tube and more colostrum, and of course instructions for how to tube a tiny lamb only a few hours old. There's only one hole for the feeding tube to go into but the road splits, so to speak. If I got it wrong, I would be pumping her lungs full of thick, sticky colostrum. By a miraculous fluke I managed to give the lamb a tummyful.

I rigged up a lamb warming box by putting a hot water bottle on the bottom of my recycling bin, covering that with straw, inserting lamb, topping with more straw, and placing her in front of the wood burner. I stoked the wood burner, and stripped down to my t-shirt while the lamb got up to room temperature. She recovered quickly.

A neighbor said if I removed her for treatment the mother wouldn't take her back. I ignored his sage advice, preferring to give it a try rather than face the prospect of another orphan lamb to bottle feed. Eudora happily took the now warm and full lamb back into the fold.

I've been obsessively watching them, looking for signs of relapse or rejection. I was so worried about constantly disturbing them that I sat at the bottom of my drive with a pair of binoculars to observe from a distance. This was fine, until a school bus full of children drove by. Now I'm the crazy sheep lady with binoculars.

I'm still concerned the little lamb isn't getting enough food so I'll mix her up a bottle of sheep formula before bed as a supplement feed. I can see her suckling but she looks smaller than her sister. This could be normal but I'm not used to looking at lambs and I can't recognise what normal is yet. The extra feed is insurance.

I tried to pen Eudora and lambs in for the night behind an electric wire to deter foxes, but Eudora was having none of it. This is not ideal. Mike and I will be getting up a lot in the night, and my rifle is by my bed. I hope that both Eudora and I still have two lambs by morning.


Hazel said...

Oh Jennifer, now you're going to have to post in the morning to let us know if everything's ok!

I'm glad she was happy to take the smallest twin back, but now I'm going to bed with my fingers's well and truly crossed...

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

Awwwww, babies... they are just adorable. I am in love. PLEASE post tomorrow so we know they both made it? And give them little sheepy kisses on their heads from me. One for Eudora, too, for being a good mommy sheep.

Kate said...

Glad they're both alive so far. And it's nice to hear your voice. I don't think it's my imagination when I detect a subtle British influence in your pronunciation and intonation. Clearly an American speaking, but something has definitely rubbed off in all those years you've been over there.

Paula said...

I could be more on the edge of my seat (figuratively speaking of course). I'm both excited and scared for you. Sure wish I could help!

Sara said...

Keep us posted. You saved the little lamb once, anyways. Hope it doesn't need saving during the night! And twins...that's good!