I knew it had to happen sometime, but I feel just sick about it. We lost our first lamb this morning. River Oaks Abby was unable to deliver her big crossbred ram lamb during the night. I really didn't want to bred the three smallest of my ewe lambs last year, but I couldn't resist the offer of using Kimberwood Harrison for 4 weeks. After he went home, hoping she was already bred, I put all the ewes in with Granite, the colored BFL ram lamb, because he and Dougal didn't get along.
It recently became apparent that Abby was indeed pregnant with Granite's lamb and I was watching her. She wasn't overly large and we haven't had the good alfalfa hay for about two weeks now. Jemma's crossbred twins were small, and I was thinking Abby and Cora would have smaller lambs too.
I put Abby in a jug last night when the ram lambs were chasing her all over the paddock. That's a sign that labor is coming on soon. She had no other signs though. I pointed the barn cam at her jug and checked it at 11:30 p.m. She was up walking around, but I didn't see labor signs. I checked the barn cam again at 6 a.m. and all was quiet, I couldn't actually see her, but since it was so quiet, I figured all was okay and went back to bed - big mistake!
When I finally went out about 7:30, I found her laying down with a big swollen head sticking out her back end. The hooves were tucked under the chin. She wasn't having contractions at that point. I pulled hard to get the baby out. I held him up and cleared his mouth, but it was already cold and stiff at that point. I guess I was so lax about the possibility of a night lambing because all the other ewes lambed during the day this year. If only I could have been there to help out poor little Abby!
The ram lamb was a grey katmoget with head spots. He weighed a whopping 11 pounds! Unbelievable, because Abby didn't look very big at all.
So now I'm thinking of milking Abby and saving the colostrum for future emergencies and getting some milk for soap making. I'm not sure what the protocol is for ewes after losing their lambs...
Cora is bred to Boggart, a Shetland, so she shouldn't have any problems lambing. But I think I should collect the colostrum anyway.
I feel so awful about this and can really relate to Rayna's post about losing her gulmoget ewe lamb the other day. But things happen and it can't be undone, I can only learn from it and go forward.