The yearling ewes due to lamb this spring have started delivering. Two days ago, I awoke to find a ewe with a ram lamb along side. Both doing well.
Today, after spending some time at the sheep auction I came home to find a ewe in labor and under stress…..only one leg exposed to the knee and a nose. Her heavy panting told me she had been trying to deliver for awhile. I spring into action feeling for a second hoof, then hoping she only has one lamb, and if she has twins, I have the right hoof. Gently, but firmly pulling the second hoof out, I was able to put a small rope on the leg above the hoof and pull moving the leg forward. I felt the shoulder straighten out. When she pushed, I gently but firmly pulled and we delivered a ram lamb. I instantly placed him under her nose. I could see his ribcage moving, so he was alive but not moving. I rubbed him with some straw to stimulate him, and legs started moving and head came up. Mom was staring, not making noise or noticing her lamb… she was in shock from the difficult delivery. I rubbed my wet hands from the birth on her noise, she came alive with low chuckling calls to her lamb and started licking. Soon the little guy was up looking for the teat.
Of the hundreds of times the ewes have lambed, this is my fifth lamb delivery where I needed to assist. The need to assist was with first time lambing ewes, and a leg did not come forward with the other.
I had to learn how to help my ewes. I had assisted horses with foaling several times, but sheep are different. There is only room for three maybe four fingers to assist a ewe with delivery of a lamb. I am thankful for the knowledge I gained of delivery from raising horses, as that knowledge is helpful in delivering lambs.
But I did not always know how or when to assist an animal with delivery of a baby. I had to learn. I made mistakes, and will make mistakes as I am not perfect. But the only way to achieve success is to gain knowledge, then put the knowledge to use to gain experience. More experience means less mistakes. Because we are human and not perfect, we will make mistakes. In order to continue with our success we have to learn from the mistakes, not let fear keep us for continuing in what we choose to do. In my life, it is to raise sheep.
I do not consider myself to be the best shepherd, but I am a good and caring shepherd. I am always learning on how to better take care of my sheep. And I do not beat myself up when I make a mistake and loose a sheep or lamb. I learn and try better next time.
Always keep learning and trying to get better at what you are doing.