We are still waiting for the rest of the girls to drop their lambs. They were obviously marked early on and then remarked, or everyone would have done their thing already. It doesn’t mean that we can stop doing our around-the-clock checks, however, because you never know!
In one of my recent posts I wrote about a situation that was developing that we already know is going to be dicey as it develops. One of our crossbred first-time ewes was growing well and looking healthy, her belly nice and round, and a very nice udder was already a good size. Last weekend I noticed that her belly was dropping, so I thought that she was getting ready to lamb. But by the end of the day on Sunday I realized that only one side of her belly had dropped. And it had dropped irregularly. All the way down to the right, and it is pulling on her udder as well, so that it is very lopsided. Her back right leg is stiff and clumsy as well. Not normal. We have seen this once before and it doesn’t bode well.
Poor Beezus is suffering from a ruptured pre-pubic tendon. There isn’t a lot written about it out there, although from what I understand it is quite common in horses. In my layman’s interpretation, I understand it to be a critical tendon that basically holds the belly in shape and helps keep the muscles where they should be. We had a ewe, Esme, quite a few years ago, who had this situation and we didn’t know what it was, thought it was some kind of hernia, and we couldn’t get her lambs out and ended up at a new vet, and lost one of the ram lambs. Esme died a month later, a victim of her out-of-whack organs and guts. I have to say that she was a first-time mom as well. I don’t think that that has anything to do with it, but it feels like some kind of a curse. Big sigh.
I fervently hope that Beezus can manage to deliver, or help deliver her lamb(s). And mother them. I already have milk replacer, colostrum replacer and some colostrum collected from HoneyBea, Pritchard teats and lots of bottles ready for the babies. I am so glad that our friend Chris Antonak bought Beezus’ hoggett fleece last fall and used it and enjoyed it. Her first adult fleece is a beauty as well. I am hoping that she will survive to mother her lambs and maybe make it through the summer. She would be able to at least make us some bonus sausage.
This has been a rough year. We downsized as far as we could to save money on feed and hay, and now we are going to lose the years of productivity that we would have gotten from Beezus. And the bad news doesn’t end there. But that, again, is a story for another day, I am sorry to say. Farming is not an easy choice to make at the best of times and with the numbers that we have, we get to know our animals very well. So each one is special and more than appreciated. And mourned deeply when they are hurt or lost.