Esja went into labor in the early morning of April 3rd. Sawyer had went out to feed before we were suppose to be headed to church and found Esja contracting away in a corner of the barn. Sawyer and I volunteered to stay home while Mark and the rest of the crew hurried off for the morning service. Esja never formed “bubbles” like other normal delivering ewes do prior to lambing, instead she would contract and just have “leakage”. After an hour of no progression we moved Esja to a jug and watched a bit longer and then thought it best to check her and see how the lamb was presenting.
I found two legs forward and a muzzle…good! So I thought the legs might be a bit bound up behind the pelvis so gave a gentle pull to see if they would pop up and out giving the lamb a bit more room to progress. Good thought, but nothing budged. So Sawyer tried and nothing. We knew something was wrong…it just felt wrong, so a call was made to my amazing husband sitting in worship with 7 kids. Thankfully some friends were able to sit with the kids throughout the remainder of the service while Mark raced back home.
Once home Mark also tried to give a tug and loosen the lamb but to no avail. So he started feeling around and discovered that two lambs were trying to race out at the same time. The feet of the first lamb were out with the head of the second. After quite a bit of repositioning he was able to pull the first out. He wasn’t breathing. After some swinging, rubbing and lamb CPR he was revived. Then he went in for the second, which also didn’t want to go. More swinging, rubbing and CPR and he roared to life.
After everyone was out and breathing, momma and lambs just laid in their jug for a very long time. Momma tried licking and cleaning but she was too tired to stand. The poor little guys after such a difficult entrance into the world wouldn’t stand.
We helped dry the little guys off and then gave them some Nutridrench and finally got momma up to see if we couldn’t get them nursing. Neither one wanted to suck or stand and were starting to chill. Finally we thought it just best to tube them to try and get them warm. The first guy took the feeding well and finally started to try standing and wiggled about, the second however didn’t respond and was still quite cold. We decided we had better take him to the house and try warming him up.
At the house we put in a plastic garbage bag (to keep his scent on him) and submerged him in warm water…
Mark came back down from the barn with a bit more colostrum and tubed him again. The kids came back from church and were surprised to see a lamb in the house (our first in 4 seasons) and were hopeful the little guy would make it. He started to get more wiggly and even making little baaaing noises making us all hopeful he would make it. We all started joking about what this little troublemakers name would be when he went limp and passed peacefully.
One thing is for certain every incident whether it ends happily or as in this case miserly we always glean something from it. The ordeal will play back again and again in your mind and it leaves you with more experience and ideas to try the next time it happens.
After the passing of the first we were able to put all of our attention on the first. The first day he ended up being tubed several times until he regained his sucking reflex and then was able to take a bottle. He wasn’t able to suck from momma for 2 days even though she was ever so patient for him and stood amazingly still while he tried. Finally on the second day he wouldn’t take his bottle and were a bit worried he was going down hill and then we saw him latch on to momma and go to town!
So he acquired the named Dodge because he dodged death!
We figure both Dodge and his brother were hypoxic and suffered from not getting enough oxygen during birth. The first several days we worried that Dodge might be blind but time has proven that he is definitely not and now acts like all the rest of the lambs in the nursery.
Dodge has an incredibly silky fleece and is out of one our most milkiest ewes.
- Birth Date: April 3rd
- Birth Weight: 5lbs 3 oz
- Color/Pattern: Black Grey
- Ram Lamb