Why is it always the favourite ewe? Rosy has an interesting back story, I won’t go into it here. Suffice to say that she came from a friend of ours called Rory, hence her name. Rosy likes to lamb when no one is around. She crosses her legs and waits, and waits some more until no-one is around.
I have never yet seen her lamb, she gets them out, licked clean, up and suckling before I appear and presents them to me proudly, She is a mum which epitomises the phrase “milks off her back” - which means she puts everything into her lambs, losing weight herself while her lambs grow big. She is one of life’s natural mothers and keeps the closest eye on her charges.
This year, Rosie is due triplets for the first time, and she’s big. We’ve been watching her closely for a few days, going into a number of evenings telling each other that this is the one, this is the night she’s going to lamb. So when she looked increasingly uncomfortable throughout this morning I knew it was her time, and was excited that I was finally going to see her lamb. She strained and moved, pawed and turned, clearly in labour but nothing was happening. A quick investigation confirmed her readiness - other than any way for the lambs to get out. Perhaps she just needed a little more time …
Still no progress, and I can feel the first lamb pressing against the cervix. She clearly had a full-on case of a condition called ringwomb. It’s a mysterious one, some say it’s due to a mineral deficiency, others are not sure. The one thing that sometimes helps is an injection of calcium under the skin which I duly did, and tried to manually dilate the cervix, and waited some more …
It’s always a hard call. Wait too long and the lambs have come away from the ewe and they die inside, getting in too early and you’re trying to get lambs out before the ewe is fully dilated. But Rosy was clearly in trouble and with three lambs and a favourite ewe at risk, it was time to call in help from our wonderful local team of vets. Despite being a Saturday with only one vet on call, Melissa arrived just 10 minutes later and got straight to work.
The video shows the rest of the story but here’s a spoiler alert … a successful ending of three fabulous lambs.
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