I moved the lamb's head to a better position and began to clean his airway. There was no response. I put my hand to his heart and felt its very strong beat. I got to work. I cleared the mucous from its face. I lifted him up by the legs and gently shook to clear out the lungs. He gasped. And so life above water began.
His head and face were quite swollen. I worked a few more minutes and Cotton was unresponsive and uninterested, likely traumatised, the poor dear. The lamb was cold so I wrapped him up and headed for the house. Hubby saw me coming. He said, "Ray said you'd bring the animals in the house". "Oh", I responded "Didn't I tell you that part", and we laughed together.
In this photo I had just arrived at the house. Poor Tiger's head was very swollen and his lifeless body just drooped.
I worked on baby more in the warmth of the entrance way. He was breathing, although it was wheezy. After a few minutes he was holding up his head and then sitting up on his chest. This was a miracle. As I worked on him and spoke to him, I named him Tiger - this baby wanted to live.
I had thawed cow colostrum the night before, planning to give some to Dot's baby that for some reason was appearing hungry. Baby Tiger got a warm bath and colostrum, then took up temporary residence in a box in the warm bathroom on the main floor.
Back at the barn, Cotton was quite quiet, not looking for her baby. I put her in a pen. I finished morning chores. Later when Tiger was more stable I brought him out to Cotton. She did not fight him away but was not motherly. I was afraid to leave them alone together for too long in case she did bash him, physically rejecting him.
As I was watching these two under the heat lamp I had set up, I noticed Dot lying down, chewing her cud, and very very uncomfortable. She then proceeded to show signs of birthing. I was concerned that she was going to pass a dead lamb as she had lambed two days before. I had to eat so I slipped back to the house for twenty minutes. When I returned she had two more lambs! Her single birth of Tuesday had now become triplets as of Thursday! Although not usual, it is not unheard of for sheep to give birth to say twins, and then two weeks later deliver another set of twins. At any rate, Dot was loving them up, they were strong and heading to the food bar.
I decided to take Tiger back to the house. He was offered more colostrum several hours after the first meal. He was not sucking well at all and his throat was swollen. The swelling on his head and face had quickly subsided but he remained puffy under his chin. In the evening - with lots of encouragement from hubby, something about sleep difficulty with a bleating lamb in the house - I took Tiger out to the barn. Cotton allowed him to nurse without pushing him away. By my bedtime she was talking baby talk to him and it all seemed okay. Baby Tiger was still bellowing the hungry lamb song.
The next morning as I stood in the doorway I could see Tiger's tail wagging madly as he nursed. Cotton was making appropriate noises and there was no hungry lamb song heard again.
Company had arrived on the Thursday afternoon as I was finally catching my breath from my Baby Tiger morning. Tiger was still in the bathroom then. Dot's additions were fine.
Just after midnight on Saturday, Tall Girl presented one very large lamb. The next morning I arrived at the barn at about 6:30 and Polar Bear had twins.
I was in the Small Barn which is quite close to the house. I got there. I took off my boots. I kept going. I climbed the stairs. I was at the top. I entered the bedroom and quietly called to hubby as I flopped into the chair at hand. He was right there. Various first aid things happened. I eventually got my barn jacket and pants off. It was all okay.
Later on Sunday, after company had departed Marmalade insisted on lambing on the far side of the front pasture. I had followed her around a few times hoping she would go to the barn but she kept going back to that spot. Finally, from the bedroom window I could see she had one lamb. By the time I walked out there - again - she had a second. They were up already, strong, and looking for their dinner. I returned to the house to get towels and a milk crate. Hubby brought the camera and after a photo session we put the lambs into the milk crate. Mother did laps around us as we walked through the field and we eventually got her into the barn.
In all, the day had brought us five new lambs. I was pretty beat with fatigue... and beat up by the look of my eye. Although I checked the barn at bedtime I planned on sleeping through...