Friday, April 1, 2011

rough day

Sometimes you wake up on your morning rounds and the lambs are clean, next to their mothers, belly full, and sound asleep...

And sometimes you and three friends are pressing an angry yearling against a shed wall in a snow storm so you can milk enough colostrum out of her to fill a feeding tube for her lethargic and neglected ram lamb who is growing colder by the minute....

I'm glad I stayed home today. We're not out of the woods yet.


Blogger Kelpie and Collie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 1, 2011 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Mama said...

Jeez, Jenna. My heart and thoughts are with you.

April 1, 2011 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger DarcC said...

Good luck. Sending positive energy for you and the ram lamb. Worst case, will any of the more experienced mothers let him nurse?

April 1, 2011 at 4:13 PM  
Blogger spinnersaw said...

This is not Knox is it?

April 1, 2011 at 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, there with ya. My doe finally freshened with twins and NO milk. Already lost the bigger twin (she had a hard birth), but luckily my other doe gives enough milk for 5 kids. Not everything on a farm is romantic. . .

April 1, 2011 at 4:52 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

i'm sorry milkmaid...i might lose this boy.

No, this isn't Knox. The yearling (no tag number) gave birth today around noon, but it wasn't smooth sailing after he came out. The new ram lamb is small compared even to Ashe when she was born, and his mother wasn't comfortable with the idea of him nursing. She ran off, we had to catch her and put her in the jug with him. After neary two hours without nursing him we milked her and fed him with a stomach tube.

I'm blessed to have friends nearbye with livestock expertise!

April 1, 2011 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger RabbleRoost said...

Spinnersaw - No, I think the yearling mother was due after Knox was born.

I hope everything goes okay with your little guy! Sooner or later she should get the hang of it - if not this year, hopefully the next. At least you can bottle feed him if she doesn't accept him eventually. I know, not the best situation, but at least he'll survive.

April 1, 2011 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger RabbleRoost said...

Is there any way you can bring him in the house in a rubbermaid tub or something?
I'm not experienced with bottle babies, but I really hope he makes it. Any animal lost is a hard blow. :(

April 1, 2011 at 5:11 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

He's starting to nurse, and she's letting him for about a minute before she turns around on him. He is standing up, under a heat lamp, dry, and warm in the jug with his mother. I am giving them some time.

If he becomes a bottle baby, he will go down the road to my friend's goat farm. They are already bottle feeding four baby goats several times a day. I have an office job... So at least there's a plan B if nursing doesn't work out.

April 1, 2011 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger Ruth @ Hope, Joy and Faith Farm said...

Our experienced ewe didn't let her twins nurse much longer than a minute or two, which surprised me. They are growing great, tho. Maybe she was just shocked by the enormity of it all. Too bad we couldn't explain to them what is happening.

April 1, 2011 at 5:31 PM  
Blogger The Weekend Homesteader said...

I've had a time with baby rabbits lately, so I feel your pain!

April 1, 2011 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger bellananda said...

how lucky that you had three friends handy!


April 1, 2011 at 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the new mom gets the hang of it too. It is really fortunate you were home today and had great friends to lend a hand! Good luck this evening.

April 1, 2011 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I always hated lambing out yearlings. They can be the dimmest creatures on earth, but it sounds like she's getting the hang of things. We use to tie them up and let the baby nurse so she couldn't turn around and see them or smell them. After a while she got use to having something nursing her. If you have an extra panel tie her in the corner of the barn and set the panel tight next to her side, but far enough forward so the baby can get to her teats. It goes well if you give her some feed to keep her occupied. Then let him nurse.

Keep with her. As long as the baby is eating and not in danger of being stomped on getting mama to take her lamb is worth the effort. And, like you said you have all weekend for her to get the hang of things.

Good luck.

April 1, 2011 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 1, 2011 at 6:05 PM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

It's not uncommon for new mothers to do this. The best thing to do for at least several days is to tie her up and force her to stand while you put him on her teat. Eventually she should get the hang of it. If she never accepts him, you can bottle him. Lambs and kids do quite well on 3 bottles a day. I work full time and take care of my animals by myself, and I have bottle kids right now. I feed before work, when I get home, and before bed.

I'm glad you have friends with experience able to help you. Just FYI for the future (or for anyone else who needs the info) you should never tube feed a cold lamb (or kid). Warm them first, or they may even need an injection of glucose in the abdomen to get them going before feeding.

Good luck with the little guy!

April 1, 2011 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger Flartus said...

Wow; at least this wasn't your very first lamb. And, as we all know, you were PREPARED! Good luck to you and the fleeced ones.

April 1, 2011 at 7:06 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

With everything, you still post, and then update us. We really appreciate that you do that. Good luck to all.

April 1, 2011 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Darn right I was! I had all the tools I needed to get that lamb right (even if I did need Yesh to show me how to use the feeding tube..)

April 1, 2011 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Good job, Jenna. You are learning at such a rapid pace. .. .I'm amazed. I'll be thinking about y'all tonight. I hope you can get some rest. If my memory is correct you still have at least one more to go. Proud thoughts for you from North Carolina.

April 1, 2011 at 7:43 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I used to jam a ewe in the corner, hold up a front foot (like you would a horse's if you were cleaning out the hoof) and get the lamb to nurse on that same side. Holding up the front foot makes it pretty hard for the ewe to kick the lamb off with the back foot.

Good luck!

April 1, 2011 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Ann, thank you (thank you all for the kind words and encouragement.)

I have two more to go, but both are more experienced than this girl. I'm making sure he's okay every hour or so. helped him nurse three times now, and he is starting to get it on his own. Mama keeps wanting to turn around though...

April 1, 2011 at 7:58 PM  
Blogger Carolyn West said...

Good job!

We had a lamb this spring that was very cold and weak to start with and very, very small. It took her about 12hrs to stand, 24hrs before she was really nursing and about 36 before she was doing it with gusto. We nursed the ewe and tube fed her for a day and I never thought she'd make it but she did! I know your little guy will too.

You might want to tie her up just for a day or so. I had one tied up for 2 weeks this spring before she was convinced that she wanted her baby. It wasn't nearly as stressful on her as I thought it'd be.

April 1, 2011 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger Kathy P. said...

I know nothing about sheep, but I do know a little about dogs. Sometimes first-time canine moms don't seem to know what to do with pups, either. I know longer breed, but one of the things I remember is that it's the actual nursing that stimulates the hormones that not only keep the milk coming, but turns-on the maternal instincts as well. So the more nursing you can help the little guy do, the more mom's mothering instincts may kick in. At any rate, good luck. I check every day to see if there are more lambs.

April 1, 2011 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger Kathy P. said...

That would be "no longer breed"...

April 1, 2011 at 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope everything works out okay. I'll send some good luck your way.


April 1, 2011 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

you are all in my thoughts. With your dedication and awesome friends, this little one has every chance in the world.

April 1, 2011 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

I'll keep thinking positive thoughts about your growing flock. Wow! I get busy with work and commuting and I have to catch up! When you're addicted to the Barnyard Channel you got to know what's going on with the characters. LOL. Try and get some rest or you will work yourself sick.

April 1, 2011 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Mama said...

Check out the second to the last photograph on this site--think of all the people you're speaking to even as you nurse a lamb!

April 2, 2011 at 12:00 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Cool Kitchen Mama!

hey Jenna- thanks for keeping us all in the loop. It's so great that you can get all this advice from people who know what to do. I hope it's helping, because I have nothing to add, other than best wishes for the new guy.

Have you dared to name him yet?

April 2, 2011 at 1:11 AM  

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