Elbow Deep In Sheep - Home on the Range Blog at Allrecipes.com - 287959

Home on the Range

Elbow Deep in Sheep 
Nov. 5, 2012 12:42 pm 
Updated: Nov. 15, 2012 8:13 am

I should know better. I should never second guess the Polarbears. 
Bruno snapped out of whatever was ailing him almost immediately after being allowed to come in and sleep with his head on my lap. It appears that he may not have been fevered after all, (as i had no thermometer there was no way to be sure) but instead it seems that the combination of having sold the goats and then confining the dogs to the small pasture with the sheep for a few days to let them bond better caused him to both grieve the loss of part of his 'family' and somehow feel that I was not happy with him. At any rate, he is a happy, hardworking dog again. That didn't keep me from misjudging once again though.

The next day I turned them out again with the sheep, in the back pasture. It wasn't long before i saw Cletus in the front of the house again. So I walked him back out where Bruno was guarding the sheep and told Cletus in no uncertain terms to stay put.

A couple hours later, I went out to check on everyone and both dogs were exactly where I had left them...but there were NO sheep! Not one. Not even a trace. I excitedly said "WHERE ARE MY SHEEP???"
The dogs nonchalantly got up, stretched and began walking slowly thru the pasture. I followed Cletus, with Bruno walking beside me, quite a long ways until he came to the wide, rocky, dry streambed. Certain that there was no earthly reason the sheep would leave all the feed in the pasture behind me to cross the rocks and recalling the wild goose chase EmmaLou had led me on, I headed back the other way to see if they were hidden in the tall grass, or had found a hole in a fence somewhere. Cletus sort of shrugged, and laid down where he was. Bruno followed me a few steps then stopped and laid down himself.

 I searched everywhere but found no trace of the sheep. I got the 4 wheeler as I couldn't walk much more and came back to search again. Cletus joined me this time and I checked through the willows, through Mister's pasture, out where the calves were, back at the corrals, but no luck. At one point, Bruno suddenly jumped up from where he lay and took off like a shot towards the horse pasture a mile away where the cavvy currently grazes. He didn't stop or slow down until he was almost in the center of it, just in front of a bank of trees.

 I never saw what he was after, but I could just barely see him at a distance, stopped with his tail tightly curled. I finally went and got Randy and told him all I knew. He came down with me and we searched again. Bruno showed back up and he and Cletus followed me around totally unperturbed, with not one concern or thought of the missing sheep. I was terribly disappointed after all the bragging I had done on them.

After about another 45 minutes of searching, Randy hollered out that he had found them. I headed over and saw that they were about 30 yards from where I had stopped following Cletus. Not only had he been leading me to them, but he and Bruno both stayed close by the flock while I searched everyplace they weren't!
I have to think a coyote must have tried to sneak up on them which is what caused Bruno to take off in hot pursuit. It is hard to see the dogs when they lay in the high weeds. At any rate, it seems they do a lot better job than I was giving them credit for.

Last night when I went out, the sheep and dogs had come into the little pasture for the night. I looked and noticed someone was missing. Madge is the only mature ewe as well as the only one bred early. I went out to Mister’s pasture where they like to  gather and sure enough, there was Madge. She has always been the odd one out, as she almost never hangs with the rest of the flock.With a lot of coaxing, Cletus and I managed to get her most of the way back. Her bag has enlarged a great deal in the past couple of days and her ‘girly parts’ are lookin’ pretty floppy so I decided it’s time for her to go to the lambing shed. THAT took some work on the part of both Randyman and myself as she did not want to go. After fussing around and failing with her for 15 or 20 minutes, I went and got some grain. She immediately followed me to the shed. I love a greedy animal. It’s only a vice in humans, in critters, it’s an asset as they will do anything for food.

This morning she is very much in labor. I am hoping against hope she can do this on her own this time, as well as hoping for twins.

I grabbed a cup of coffee and settled on the couch to watch her on the closed circuit camera that is in the lambing shed. I could see that she was definitely in the beginning stages of labor. Things moved along quickly as she paced, ate a bite of breakfast and paced some more. I had been hoping for twins as they tend to be smaller and the last lamb she had was enormous and I had a hard time helping her deliver him as we could not get his head and shoulders out even though everything was quite normal. I looked forward to staying in and watching the show on camera this time.

It wasn’t long before the baby crowned. I smiled and as I looked closely at the monitor, I noticed there were no feet!
I grabbed some lubricant, latex gloves, disinfectant and baling twine. The dogs met me at the door and we went in to check. I waited for Madge to relax a bit and did a quick check...there were no feet in the birth canal. I had to wait until she stopped pushing and try to get the lamb back inside, but he started breathing already. I lubed up and managed to push my arm in past the cervix and found the shoulder and one leg... After several attempts I was able to bring the one leg forward, but I couldn’t get to the other one. Randyman showed up while I was elbow deep in sheep and I had him tie the baling twine onto the foot of the leg I had already gotten forward and hold tension on it when needed. I tried twisting the lamb into better position, but no matter what I did, I could not get the other leg forward. Not being able to push the lamb back into the uterus made it very difficult as there was not enough room to work with. I figured there must be a second lamb which made it impossible to push the first guy back even for a minute. In spite of all the time it was taking us, and the stress on both of them, the lamb would occassionally shake its head which encouraged me to do whatever I had to, to keep it alive. We kept traction on the lamb and when Madge pushed again we were able to extract him. No sooner had I set him aside for her to dry off, number 2 crowned. It was in the exact same position as the first lamb. This time, I was able to push the head back in and had more room to reach in and bring the leg forward. This lamb was smaller and but I had just as much trouble with the second leg so we chose to deliver it with just one leg forward also. It came pretty easily and Bruno resumed the drying off of the first one while Madge worked on the newer lamb.

Twin ram lambs. I have named them Thing1 and Thing2. They are typical boys. Thing 2 has already gotten himself stuck behind the tarp which acts as a roof for the shed, has gotten his leg stuck through the cattle panel that holds up the tarp that acts as a roof on the shed and continues to walk around until he runs into a wall, gate, leg or other immovable object. They are dry now and actively looking for the cafeteria. She didn’t have much when I checked to make sure her teats weren’t plugged, but I think she will let down once they start nursing. At least she is letting them try, unlike last time, when it took her 3 days to let Stewie nurse.

All in all it was a pretty good morning. Bruno stayed with them for awhile, watching from his chosen spot in the back of the shed, out of Madge’s way. Everytime a lamb wobbled by him, he gently reached out and licked it clean a little more, just like its mama does. Madge is happy. I called the boss in town and asked him to bring me home some oxytocin to help her pass the afterbirth if she needs it and an intra-uterine bolus to help prevent infection, since I had to intervene. He couldn't find any. She managed to clean on her own, so I used a teat infusion from my milk cow as a preventative antibiotic for the uterus. Hopefully, that will do.

It always makes me smile to see the miracle of life happen right in front of me. What an amazing and creative God we have. The little guys are knuckled over because their tendons in the front are too short. I'll have to splint them today, meantime, they are doing GREAT!
Nov. 5, 2012 1:38 pm
What a great post. Thanks for sharing your life with us!
Nov. 5, 2012 6:17 pm
Awesome, as usual! What cute little things you delivered!!!!! Bruno licking that baby is tooooo sweet! God is good!
Nov. 5, 2012 6:40 pm
Petey, you are one heck of a gal, living one heck of a life! Thanks for sharing both.
Nov. 5, 2012 7:07 pm
All things bright and beautiful....
Nov. 6, 2012 12:19 am
Your story makes me think of the calves that DH delivered.Wonderful to see them start breathing an wobbling around.Your story was great.Helping or just looking is wonderful to learn so many different things.Birth is wonderful, when you haven't seen the country life. It's all in a day's work for others.Love your stories.
Nov. 6, 2012 5:28 am
I have learned so much from your blogs. Please keep it up and I love happy endings!
Nov. 6, 2012 5:45 am
Your dogs never fail to amaze me. I am glad that you were there to assist in the delivery of those two cuties. Your story had me on the edge of my seat.
Nov. 6, 2012 7:33 am
Thanks TippyJoe. It is very satisfying to be a part of it! Thanks DogFish, I like the happy endings too! :) B'Nana, I was a wee bit tense myself haha!
Nov. 6, 2012 1:20 pm
I am so glad to see you blue again petey!!!! Great blog. a suspensful one. Glad everything turne out well for the sheep and her babies.
Nov. 6, 2012 1:23 pm
Petey!!!! what a wonderful story. I must admit you had me cringing as I read the part about you pushing your arm in past the cervix. I can only imagine poor Madge having to endure. Haha. Thing 1 and Thing 2? Thats hilarious, but still a blessing from God. Congratulations to all.
Nov. 6, 2012 5:30 pm
Thanks char! I was a little tense going thru it, I have to admit! Rosebud-Madge was a trooper. I know it had to be hard on her, but she was with us all the way and immediately started taking care of her babies!
Nov. 11, 2012 9:16 am
Amazing, as always!
Nov. 11, 2012 6:48 pm
Love to read your blogs, so interesting! Thanks for sharing.
Nov. 11, 2012 6:53 pm
Petey,loved this,it reads like a novel,can't wait till the end to see what happens.Your dogs are amazing,so glad Bruno is better.Those little lambs are so cute.Hope their legs are ok.Thank you so much, i love reading your blogs.Looking forward to the next one.
Nov. 15, 2012 8:13 am
Such a beautiful blog about a beautiful part of your beautiful life! Once again, I thank you ever so much for letting me live this life vicariously through you.
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Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden. forpeteysake.blogspot.com http://throughthedarkestvalleys.blogspot.com/
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A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
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