Search This Blog

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bad days are like potato chips after so many years...

We all have them I'm afraid.....
bad days.
And it's usually because something went wrong and you weren't there to help.
So, we kick ourselves in the rear for the rest of the day and we go into a frump over it.

My first spotted lamb is dead.

Well, after 11 years and since most all of my ewes have lambed already this year, I was having a good year up until now. I didn't have to assist one birthing. With 50+ head of sheep here, I didn't even have one lamb found still in it's sack. Until today.

I have been watching my girls closely. Since 7 am I've been out there every 2 hours. I didn't notice any funny tails, but since I'm buzzing around the place all the time I check them often anyways.

A friend dropped by.....a pleasant visit and break in the day. We went over to see the sheep and she noticed a string from Fairy Slipper. I hopped into their paddock and looked around! Oh good I thought, she's not delivered yet, I'll jug her up! Yay! Finally one of the Missouri Five was ready to lamb!

After jugging her, I went to grab some hay...and saw a little bit of black and white. Under some straw I found a ram lamb still in it's sack, not even cleaned, completely covering it's head. I quickly ripped it off and stuck my finger into it's already, I swung the lamb then pumped the chest. Not even a reflex. Best I can say is it all took place about an hour before, the umbilical was nice and full of blood and the teeth were there, so this little boy would have been viable without a 2nd thought. What WAS curious tho is that not any of the other ewes were interested in it either. Usually someone is right there, perhaps trying to claim the lamb as their own or just curious and sniffing and licking. Nope, this poor little guy had no fan club to save him. It is warm and sunny out, he was born out in the sun...his mother just ran way. First time mothers can be that way, they don't know better, and we can't hate them for happens with first time mothers of many species, regrettfully.

I just feel like a bad shepherd right now. I'm not telling you because I am looking for sympathy, but I know some of you will empathize tho...if you've bred livestock long enough, then I know you've been there, done that...we all have our bad days and I guess I was overdue for this one. Perhaps another young shepherd will not feel so terribly alone when they too loose a lamb. We try our best, but sometimes things don't work out the way we hope.

For the record, he was a black Topple lamb, 4 white socks above the knees, white tail, perfect Yuglet/Smirslet. He might have been a glorious ram lamb for someone in need of a lovely spotted Shetland boy.

I hope you are having a good day instead.


Nancy K. said...

I am SO sorry for your discovery! What a huge disappointment for you. He sounds like a really pretty spotted boy too. Not that it helps, right now, but I'm sure you'll get more spots from that MO. crew...

Hang in there ~ you're a wonderful shepherd!

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

Oh my, Nancy, thank you for those kind words! Another just lambed and this lamb is so tiny, looking like it should be part of twins instead...she's weak and I've gotten colostrum in her, her mom and she are jugged, but it doesn't look good, mom just stares at her from the other side of the 4 by 4 jug. Too weak to demand her mother, I'm hoping the colostrum kicks her into gear. I will bring her a warm bottle of fresh goats milk as soon as I'm done milking...Sigh...and yes of course white socks and Yuglet and white tail...