In the fall it is always a question, when should we put the ram in with the ewes, when do we want to have lambs? March lambs have always been far superior in growth and health it seems over May lambs, which in my opinion are born just as parasites are coming out and this makes them super susceptible, even with careful pasture rotation. March lambs, and early March lambs specifically, run the risk of bad weather. Well it’s a blizzard outside and it was 5 months to the day ago that we put our ram Samuel in with the ladies. Last year it was ridiculously calm, warm and perfect lambing weather.
You may have guessed, but twins were born tonight, one outside and one inside the barn. Did I mention its a freakin’ blizzard outside? Thankfully my dear husband went out to feed the sheep later than usual after a movie next to the very hot wood-stove. He came in shortly carrying a half frozen and still very wet brand new lamb. Every year we learn something new with sheep, this year it was how to save a hypothermic lamb successfully. When I saw her shivering with mouth cold as ice and clamped shut I wasn’t about to give her a realistically good outcome, but hope drove us on and as my husband went out to set up a pen for the ram lamb and mom, I did my best to rub down and warm up the ewe lamb.
After a while she was still quite cold, especially inside her mouth, so we tried the soak in hot water method and held her in our kitchen sink in as hot of water as our hands could bare for about 10 minutes ( I have read that 30 minutes to two hours is necessary for some lambs). We then used a blow dryer and dried her next to the wood-stove as much as we could and was able to get some milk down her. It was then that she really started to come around. It was as if by magic that this lamb so near to death had suddenly found the will to live! She has now found a bottle to be fantastic and will only sleep if one of us is right next to her. She totters around and has gained much energy since midnight (it is now 4:30am…)
Her brother in the barn is doing well and has figured out nursing on his own. We hope in a few hours we will be able to persuade the mom to take this other lamb, bottle feeding on a ongoing schedule is not something I have an interest in! So far so good. It may be a blizzard but we successfully reversed mother nature’s plan this time with a robust and spunky lamb. …time for feeding…