Monday, April 16, 2012

Action in the Maternity Ward

I saved a life today.  Actually, probably three lives.  The pregnant ewes on my friend's sheep farm have started lambing.  There are 55 of them.  My friend tries to visit their large pasture every two hours.  Often I take a shift.  Around 1:30 I looked out over the field and saw a ewe in distress.  She was cast.  A cast ewe is down and unable to get up.  In a very pregnant ewe this is usually a fatal fall.  Her large belly makes it impossible for her to right herself, her large uterus makes it hard to breathe, and the fermentation vat - aka her rumen - continues to process food and produce gas which backs up quickly.  The end for the creature comes quickly, and can be accompanied by an explosive eruption of gas.  If you read some of the farm blogs you will learn that my ewe's situation is very typical.  Late pregnancy, early to mid day, cool and  clearning from morning rain, early grass season with fresh new growth.  Here is the "Sheep Production" message board that you might enjoy.

I found my friend and we righted the ewe.  She will live to bear her babies.  Most of the flock are having twins. 

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