Birth, babies, and fresh starts..... It just doesn't get any better!
** Birth talk and a lambing video follow. Quit now if you are squeamish.**
This year we had two dairy ewes (mix of mainly East Friesian and Lacaune) pregnant in addition to our Icelandic ewes. The Icelandic ewes we have lamb easily and are great mothers. The Icelandic breed is known for these qualities and that is part of the reason we started with them. I have heard different things in regards to the mothering ability of dairy sheep. In my very limited experience it seems they don't excel at lambing and mothering quite like our Icelandic girls do.
(Read more about predicting when your ewe is going to lamb here.)
I found Sprinkles in labor on the morning of March 12th. The amniotic sac had already broken and I could see two little hooves beginning to make an appearance. We put the other sheep into the run area so she could have a little privacy. We let her labor like this for well over an hour. She was making progress but very minimally. Finally, we made the decision to assist.
Assisting in labor is always a hard decision to make. I believe that most of the time birth happens just the way it is supposed to, but sometimes it doesn't. My priority is for both ewe and lamb to remain healthy.
I checked her to make sure there was nothing preventing the lamb from coming out. Sometimes if there are two lambs they can become entangled. Once I found nothing obstructing the lamb I helped to ease the lamb out. Sprinkles seemed exhausted by this time and while she was pushing, her pushes weren't being very effective. This part is not in the video since my husband had to put the camera down in order to help keep Sprinkles calm and prevent her from walking away while I tried to check her.
Once the lamb was out it took her awhile to begin 'mothering' the lamb. This surprised me since our Icelandic ewes (unassisted birth or not) always begin cleaning the lamb immediately and become very protective. This is where I'm not sure if it is a breed difference, an individual difference, or just because she is a first time mom. We had a similar experience with our other dairy ewe, Doughnut, which makes me think it could be a difference in breeds.
But who knows? We are still relatively new to sheep and learning as we go.
Here is the video of Sprinkles lambing. It is very shortened since from the time I found her to lamb on the ground took almost two hours.
Check out this post for more lambing info and a lambing kit supply list.
P.S. This post may be linked up with the following blog hops: Monday- The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Tuesday- The Homestead Blog Hop, Tuesdays with a Twist, Wednesday- The Homemaking Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Thursday- Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Friday- From the Farm Hop, Awesome Life Friday, Saturday- Simply Natural Saturdays.