It's like losing Shirley all over again!
We had a rough morning this weekend. It was even my birthday. We had triplets and twins born the night before, and lost one to the cold. I had gone out to the barn to check on the remaining lambs, and feed one that was orphaned (Drax) as well as Firestar and her brothers.
I thought I was having a nice relaxing morning visiting with my sheep. Just to see that Sharon appeared to be in labor. I went to move her into the barn to see something hanging out her backside and it was NOT a lamb.
TRIGGER WARNING: the upcoming images are graphic.
Her vagina had prolapsed, and she is very very pregnant. Of course, I had to hustle my daughter to a Girl Scout cookies sales booth, so left hubby at home to meet the vet.
Dr. Flinchum is great, and he was able to put her insides back on her insides, and stitched her together to hold it all in. Of course, there is a mesh holding her together right now, that needs to be removed when she does go into labor. He also pointed out that this will likely prolapse again, (and again and again). And that she likely has a ligament that is torn, which is why her stomach hangs so low.
His parting words were that should would give birth in 2 weeks or so, and that she has 3 or 4 in there.
Have you come to the same conclusion that I have? She doesn't get to stay. The risk of her continuing to get pregnant, and repeating these prolapses... it's not OK. So once she has these babies and gets them fed and weaned, we will need to say goodbye to Sharon.
Sharon was a triplet herself, and has struggled taking care of her own triplets. I kept her, because Shirley made me believe triplets were easy. Sharon was born with two brothers, Pete and Berg. (Extra points if you ge the reference!)
She is almost 8 years old, and runs the closest chance of matching her mother in production. These lambs might just be the ones that get her over that line. But I won't get to keep her. In her 8 years, she has given birth to 14 lambs. Surprisingly, I don't have any of her offspring in the flock - I kept Millenium Falcon who turned out to be infertile. As a daughter of Shirley, I have plenty of other Shirley genetics in my flock (Daughter Persephone, Granddaughters Applejack, Mara, Rose and Janis Joplin) I am hoping Sharon has a ewe lamb that we can keep. It'll be hard to say goodbye, again, just way too early. Shirley lived to be over 11, 8 just seems so young, and Sharon is the oldest ewe in our flock.
(If you look really close, you'll see Sharon all the way to the left, she just beat her mother's production this year with the quads. She's set a new bar for the rest of the flock)
I adore my older ewes. They are calm, they are good mothers. They don't panic, they know the routine and the rules and just hang out. I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to Sharon, at all. This makes 3 ewes this year that we need to cull, and it's just a lot.
Fast forward a week, and she was showing signs of straining, water breakage and some blood leaking from her back end. I had to pull the string, so she could give birth. After a spell of straining, and nothing coming out, I gloved up and went in. The first thing I felt was a tail. That's not good. Baby was breach, so I had to reposition the back legs to face out backwards, and not be tucked up under the hips, and then I pulled. My hand being all up in there was encouraging her body to push, so she was trying to help. We got the baby out, and it shook it's little head. We cleared the airway, and mama came over to clean him up. Mr. Fantastic was born!
But mama's milk had not dropped, so we went inside to make him some colostrum. In the meantime, Sharon successfully managed to welcome Mrs. Invisible on her own. So we gave her some time for number three, but I think we wanted too long. I went in for number three, and found this one to be breach as well, and it came out stillborn. My heart was broken.
Since Flinchum warned she might be carrying 4, and she was still straining on the ground, I went in again. #4 was face first, but had one front leg pushed backwards, under his belly. I straightened that one out, and didn't wait for mama, but pulled him out on my own. Happy, healthy and alive, The Human Torch joined us. One last go with the gloves and I found nothing but squishy stuff, mama would have to eliminate the placentas on her own.
Mama still hasn't let down any milk, so all three surviving lambies have joined Firestar and Drax as full time bottle babies, while Spiderman and Iceman also come along to drain a bottle or two, cause they are little piggies.
With 7 on the bottle, we had to up the ante and get a nipple bucket to feed all these littles. Sharon's babies do the best with the bucket, with tiny Invisible realizing she can drink there an no one really bothers her!
But, seriously, Sharon, QUADS?
We have only two ewes left to give birth, and please, universe, let it just be twins!