Last night around midnight, Brianna lambed. We have been anticipating this for WEEKS because she was huge around the middle and her milk bag hot red and swollen. I joked with my daughter earlier in the day that based on the size of that milk bag either Brianna was going to give birth to triplets or a cow. Since there is no history of triplets in this line of sheep we have, and a cow would be unlikely 🙂 then it was a mystery. (warning: very graphic birthing pictures)
Brianna’s labor was relatively long for a sheep and went on for several hours. A huge lamb was born. She is not known for large lambs, so this definitely could explain her “enhanced” appearance. An hour later she began pushing again. First something that looked like a huge bloody water balloon came out. Having never seen a bag of waters come out quite like that it was disturbing. Then she sat on it, bursting it and two feet could be seen, so I knew we had another lambie coming.
For the next push she delivered half of the baby. Unfortunately, it was the wrong half. The front feet and head should come out first. This is the biggest part and the rest slithers out afterwards. But now I was looking at the tail, rump and hind legs hanging there as mom walked around, now caught on the larger head and shoulders still inside. Time is of the essence as the umbilical cord becomes cut off in the birth canal, depriving the lamb of oxygen and triggering the first breath–not a good scenario when the head is still inside the watery bag.
I gently pulled the hind end of the lamb while Brianna pushed-very cooperatively-and within a few second the second lamb slid out with about a gallon of fluid. He was gasping and coughing so he had taken that first breath too early but it seems to have cleared up without incident. He was just as big as the first lamb–two amazing big boys. I do not have any pics of the breech as I was in controlled panic state (sounds like a contradiction!) so I had abandoned the camera. Here is the rest of the birth on film…