Dinner and a show.

One week ago today I was working away from home and I suddenly got the notion to call my neighbor to check on a ewe that I knew would be lambing soon. Not five minutes later he called back to let me know the lamb had literally just hit the ground. I had a moment of excitement about the lamb.  Then it struck me. Have I gone mad? Gone absolutely mad? I knew exactly when the lamb was being born. I must have ESP! I must have a special connection with my ewes!

And they say only crazy people milk sheep…

I rushed home to find a little ram (boy) lamb. I turned the heat lamp on, and he was good to go. I was thrilled because our friends were coming over that evening for dinner and having a newborn lamb would be so much fun for them all to see.

While feeding later that afternoon, to our surprise, we saw a ewe about to give birth. {So much for my “special connection”/ESP theory — I had NO IDEA she was about to lamb. I really wanted to have that special connection…but maybe this means I’m not so crazy after all? Maybe….?}.

Her waterbag was already showing so we knew she was close. Wade put her in a “jug” (jug = smaller, safer pens to give birth) in the barn. We watched her for a couple hours and still no signs of anything other than the waterbag.

Our friends came over and we enjoyed cheese, wine and BBQ. We showed them around the dairy, they got to see the big ewes and the little lambs. Still no lamb from the ewe in labor. We went to the house for dessert.

After awhile we headed back up to the barn and found the ewe struggling. Something was wrong. The lamb stuck in the canal. We quickly “assessed” the situation (aka: we don’t know what on Earth we’re doing but we better figure this out quick). I began to pull the lamb. We quickly figured out why the lamb was stuck, it was breech. This is when the lamb is coming out backwards, rear-end first. It was too late to push the lamb back into the canal and turn it around (which I have read you’re supposed to do with breech lambs) so I just kept pulling. And pulling. And pulling. As I pulled I repeatedly apologized to the ewe. I’m sorry, I really am. I’m sorry. (she would let out a horrible noise) I’m sorry! Poor mama. I’m sorry. I really think she understood me. Maybe I do have ESP…

Once I had pulled the lamb completely out, I heard a gurgle. There was fluid in the airway. So what did I do? I did what any logical, panicked, lamb-pulling person would do: took the lamb by its back legs and swung it around in circles.

Note: I had seen this trick done by old-time sheep people and figured I could do the same.

While spinning circles Wade was looking at me in a way I can’t even describe. It was a mix of sheer horror and complete amusement. As I was spinning, he calmly asked me “what ARE you doing?” Although he was calm, he was probably thinking: how did I end up married to someone swinging circles with a newborn lamb?

(explanation: the gravity of being swung around forces any fluids stuck in the air tubes out).

It was another ram lamb. He was weak from being stuck in the birth canal, so we dried him off and helped him nurse.

Our friends watched as he took his first steps.

He is up!

They got to experience the miracle of life. The bloody, breech, wet, crazy-lady-spinning-circles miracle of life.

Lindsay & I. Don’t mind the towel covered in afterbirth. Come over and shower any time!

We all began to laugh about our farm life. A nice relaxing dinner followed by pulling a lamb ass-backwards (literally) out of a ewe. Some people watch movies. We watch lambs being born.

It really was dinner and a show.

The crazy circle-spinning-sheep-lady,

Alexis

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2 thoughts on “Dinner and a show.

  1. I love everything about this story! I can just picture it. Never a dull moment at Negranti Dairy- wish we were closer to join in on the fun! xoxo

  2. Too much fun, drinks, dinner, AND new born lambs?! Does not get much better. Thanks for sharing your beautiful home and look forward to another dinner and a show!

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