Friday, February 27, 2009
Excessively Tidy Momma
~This little ram lamb has a momma who is excessively, compulsively, tidy, and that can lead to some serious problems for little boys of all species...it has not been a good thing for this little guy. Isn't he cute? ~But look at his tail......it is hard to see, but his momma has cleaned the flesh right off his little tail and there are at least 2 inches of bare bloody bone showing. The poor momma keeps cleaning off the dripping blood so compulsively that she creates more blood which needs more cleaning which takes off more flesh which...you get the picture! ( note the yearling ram in background. He has battered down the boards that are kitty-wampus) ~It all started this afternoon. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was skirting wool ( sorting through sheared fleeces and picking out debris and clumps, etc., before washing) and I heard the unmistakable bleating of a new lamb. Yay! I could tell Sassafras was going to lamb so had been keeping watch. I was pleasantly surprised to see twins! Twin ram ( boy ) lambs. Sassafras was doing a good job of cleaning and mothering. She was a good momma last year and is fiercely protective of her lambs. I was not worried and went back to skirting wool. ~I checked up on the lambs every 20 minutes or so and ..hmmmm.....there is a bit more blood than I am used to seeing on new born lambs, but they were up and about and seemed fine. They were trying to nurse and Sassafras was squatting to accommodate them. O. K. I'll get more work done. ~Then I saw the bone showing at the end of both lambs tails. Uh oh! So, I brought them into the house and Hubby and I banded the tails, that is, we put very tight rubber bands made especially for lambs tail and testicles, on the tails just 3 inches down from the spine. This would stop the bleeding and eventually the tail will fall off. I normally don't do this til the lambs are 3 days old, but this little guy would continue bleeding all night and that can't be a good thing. I dipped the tails ends into a strong iodine solution and gave the little lambs a squirt of nutritional supplement and let them rest in a basket in our laundry room for awhile. ~It is dark out, the chickens are sleeping on their roosts. I take the lambs back out to Sassafras who is screaming and battering the gate to her pen, trying to get to her lambs.
~Here she is, checking out the new addition to her lambs' tails. She is also licking the tail. ~Sassafras, STOP THAT !~~The bleeding seems to have stopped, the boys are bedding down. This Momma has even cleaned up all the birth matter. Most of my sheep leave it for me to clean up. ~I have had momma dogs excessively clean their newborns and start in on little legs....I stopped it and it never led to maiming or death, but sheep are not carnivores. So eating the flesh is a bit of extreme cleaning. Lanny had a case of such excessive lamb cleaning that they ended up with 2 little special needs lambs. ~Miss Marple is supervising the activity in the lambing shed. All is well for now. She has vermin and spiders to catch. It is time for me to go inside, and I'll be back out later to check in on Sassafras and her boys. Good thing they're sheep, or they'd end up in therapy groups later on, blaming all their problems on their excessively tidy mom. Blessings: lambs, a peaceful evening in the lambing shed