Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Twin becomes an Only

Lambing season is a time of miracles and disappointments.

When I went to the barn at five o'clock Sunday morning, I saw that Esther, the overly large ewe, had lambed. A brown lamb stood near Esther who was licking and calling to a spotted lamb lying in the stall. The lamb was not moving.

What happened, we do not know.

My husband checked the ewes before going to bed at 1 a.m. and she was showing no signs of lambing. Sometime in that four-hour span, she'd delivered two lambs, chewed their umbilical cords, and dried both off.

Judging by the dead lamb's size -- she was several pounds heavier than other newborns, I suspect it was a difficult birth.

My job was to remind Esther that life was for the living.

I removed the dead lamb, and within minutes, Esther focused on her standing brown lamb.

For the past few days, we've kept Esther and her lamb in the holding pen. Because she was in full-milk when the lambs were born -- and she now only had one lamb -- we fought to keep mastitis at bay. After several shots of antibiotics, milking her out, and cutting back on her rations, she and her lamb are thriving.

In a few days, they'll join the other ewes and lambs for romps in the field.

Photo: Esther with her ewe lamb. Esther and Price (twin ewes born in 2007) have produced some exceptionally nice lambs this year.

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