Ridgetop - our place and how we muddle along

Ridgetop

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Cruising can be dangerous!!! Having recovered from my cold, I proceeded to unpack. I pulled a shoulder muscle while lifting the incredibly heavy suitcases onto the bed! LOL

:flRain expected tomorrow! Yahoo! We need more of it. The green stuff growing from the last rains is being nibbled by the sheep now and we need more for them. I hope to get the older lambs weighed this weekend. The ewe that is threatening to prolapse is still hanging in there. She is eating well, and seems to be ok. No smelly discharge from her vulva so lambs must be ok too. :fl

I have been using my Instapot to cook meals. The oven (which is only 4 years old stopped working last Friday. It got hot on the panel and started flashing the Error signal. We followed the instructions to cool it down and start it again and the same thing happened next day. We have an extended warranty on it. It is a 30' wide double oven and a beast to get in and out of the cabinet so repairing it was a better option than replacement. The repair guy came out and said that it was the sensor that controlled overheating. naturally he dod not have one since he only used his little electronic thingy to find out the problem. He would have to send the request in through the warranty people, then order the part, yadda yadda . . . . So I have been cooking in the Instapot and on the stove. I love the Instapot since I just shove everything in it, program it, and turn it on. When it is done it automatically shuts off. :love So easy and uncomplicated. But can only cook certain things - no baking or roasting. Bummer.

Oh yes, I forgot. In Ridgetop tradition, while we were gone, the septic backed up. DS1, DS2, and future DIL had to use the bathroom at Carl's Jr. for #2. DS1 had to take the grandchildren there too. We were in Hawaii when he called us so we had 4 days of cell phone service during which he could tell us his woes. We had room service and a working toilet. :lol: DS1 called Mike Diamond ("unclog for $100 or free) who checked the septic tank (cess pool? - can't remember the difference) and told DS1 it seemed to be full. DS1 had figured it might be since the toilets wouldn't flush and the shower in our bathroom was backing up. The plumber also said he might have to come out and clear the line after the pumping since sometimes lines clogged with a backup. He already had a call in to the septic pumper guy but they couldn't get out for a week. He called the second guy they recommended (who had actually dug our overflow tank years ago). They were able to come out the next day and pumped it out. Looking at the records we found that it had not ben pumped since the overflow tank had been dug 17 years ago! There was still a problem so DS1 had Mike Diamond plumber out again and he cleared the line. We think the only reason it filled up now is that when we had some plumbing work under the house done the guy told us he had found where the washing machine was not hooked to the septic. We were running our gray water out onto the field. He hooked it up and didn't tell us until the following week when he was doing some work at the apartment building! AAARGH! We had specifically hooked the washing machine to a gray water run off line! Now we will have to pay another plumber to come out and unhook that drain line from the septic and connect it to the gray water line again. :barnie

DS1 also handled the vet calls with the prolapsing ewe, her meds, and removing the stitches from Angel. We are SOOOO lucky to have him here. Without him we would not be able to go on any trips, or be able to deal with the sheep. His help is why DH and DS1 keep refusing to put up the chutes I want built. Since they think they can just manhandle the sheep around they don't think it is necessary. But with the right arrangement of chutes I can handle the sheep myself which would take a lot off their shoulders. In fact when I bought the new lambing jugs, I also got one panel as a grafting panel. It has a head catch (stanchion) in the panel and you can lock the ewe in the panel to put lambs on a recalcitrant ewe. It worked well when I was doctoring that prolapsing ewe, and would also work well when pulling lambs or helping weak lambs to nurse on a new flighty mom. Luckily I don't have many of them, but it beats haltering the ewe and tying her to the pen while I crawl under her with a lamb that is too stupid to nurse and while she keeps moving around to try to lick his bum instead of letting him/her nurse! I do like being able to stanchion a ewe in the jug instead of trying to lift her up on a milking stand. Also I have noticed that the feet on some of my ewes are getting really overgrown so I want to get the squeeze table set up so I can use it to trim feet. I can sit down on a stool instead of bending over. Easier on the back. LOL

Next month I will form up the Nomination Committee for the Bridge Club Board. Only 4 more months to serve of my term and I will be a free woman! :weeeI am NOT going to be on the Board next year. I have served in some capacity for the past 6 years and it is time to step aside for new blood - whether they are willing or not! LOL
 

Senile_Texas_Aggie

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I have realized now that at my age (almost 70) Angel might be our last LGD and this small Dorper flock is the last livestock we will own.
Does this mean you won't be moving to Texas? I thought that was one of the reasons you were considering moving, so you had more room for your flock.
 

Ridgetop

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Yes, Mike, we were congratulating ourselves on that on the ship!

STA - Bite your tongue! Texas is still on our list. Besides Bay would probably hunt me down and drag me back there!

We still want to move to Texas. But I am wondering if a smaller place than 50+ acres would suit better, maybe 20 acres. Easier to manage. And a smaller flock of sheep - 20-30 max. However, we need to make sure what the acreage restrictions tax wise would be. Each county has different requirements for Ag tax exemptions. DS1 would probably come with us so he would be there to help us. We will not be doing anything about moving other than continuing to declutter and dispose of stuff until after DS2's wedding October 10, 2020. We will be making our annual trip to Texas this year and hopefully further eastwards to the Katahdin show with Bay, BJ, Mike and Theresa (Take note you guys- Road Trip with stock trailers !). We are doing several things to possibly be in position to buy a property before actually selling our place. We need to be able to transport our livestock stuff to another location before actually moving ourselves, our flock, and our dogs from this place.
 

Ridgetop

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JUST WHEN I THINK I HAVE SEEN IT ALL, THOSE CRAZY RIDGETOP EXPERIENCES KEEP COMING!
So another wild story in the Ridgetop saga. This morning the prolapsing ewe finally gave birth. She had been on mineral oil and meds from the vet for the past 3 weeks to prevent her from total rectal prolapse. Her rectal processes were tremendously swollen, torpedo shaped - see picture. I have never seen anything like it before. Actually in this picture the swelling had actually gone down, and the prolapsed rectum had sucked back in. DS1 said it looked like she had a torpedo in her butt.
IMG_5600.jpg Yes, that is her rectum, prolapse tissue is inside, not hanging out, but incredible swelling! Weird right?

With that much swelling I worried that she would not be able to give birth properly. I even was worried that the lambs were dead inside her and she would die of infection due to retained fetuses. There was no smell, so I hoped the lambs were ok, but there was a very real probability that she might die from the prolapse rupturing during lambing. If that happened I was worried that I would have no colostrum for her lambs if they somehow survived the birth. I had planned to call my friend in Ventura and see if I could get any goat colostrum and goat milk to feed the lambs in case that happened. I had not done it yet though since I had no time to drive up to get it, and I was having nightmares. I was almost considering shooting her and cutting her open to get the lambs out. But again no colostrum and no milk. Besides, I was hoping it would not come to either eventuality.

This morning DH came up from feeding and told me that the ewe looked like she had a “pee bag hanging out of her butt”. I knew that it was probably the placenta since DH, even after 30+ years, has trouble identifying the birthing process. I got dressed and went down to the barn with a couple towels, the antiseptic liquid soap, and gloves.

The description of the rest of this is a little graphic so if you have a weak stomach you might want to skip everything to the last pictures.

The ewe had the sac of amniotic fluid hanging out, but when I checked her, her rump was so swollen from the prolapse that I could barely get my fingers into the vulva. Finally, I got two of my fingers inside but no lamb???!!! No nose or feet! After pushing around for about 5 minutes, I was able to get my fingers in enough to find that due to the rectal swelling the lamb had been pushed up over the pubic bones and was stuck there. I was able to push the head back under the bones and it presented but the opening was still too small to get more than the nose out. I used the soap to lubricate the lamb, and kept stretching the opening. I finally got the nose and the front part of the head out up to the eyeballs. The lamb was still alive, but too big to pass through with the enormous swollen rectal process pressing on it. I couldn’t find a leg either to help me pull. I got the birthing snare but had nothing to attach it to. DS1 was holding the ewe by the head with one hand and trying to lift up the swollen butt with the other to try to take some of the pressure off. Every time I let go of the lamb's head to try to find the leg or stretch the vulva, the lamb’s nose kept being pushed back inside the vaginal opening by the pressure of the rectal swelling. The vaginal opening was too tight to get my hand inside to find the leg, so I decided I would have to cut the vulva muscle to make more room.

I got a scalpel and cut the side wall of the vulva to try to make the opening larger. Cutting upwards weakens the rectum; cutting downwards makes a problem with future deliveries. When cutting the vaginal opening to help a ewe with a lamb that can’t deliver normally, always cut horizontally to the side of the vaginal opening. After cutting the vulva, the lamb’s entire head was able to come out but I still couldn’t get the lamb out. By now I had been working on the ewe for about 15 minutes, DS1 was still lifting up on the rear rectal swelling trying to get the pressure off the birth canal. After another 5 minutes of tugging on the lamb’s head, I had to cut the vulva a bit more. Then I felt around for the leg again since I couldn’t get the lamb to shift at all. Finally I found the right leg where it was trapped under the pubic bone on the bottom. It took 15 minutes to finally work it out. Now I had one leg and the head outside the ewe. The pressure from the swollen rectal process was still too great to get the lamb out. The weight of the swollen rear end was not allowing the vaginal opening to expand normally as it would have without the rectal pressure. I still had to make a further cut in the vaginal opening to get more room. It took another 15 minutes pulling on the lamb’s head and leg before the lamb finally came out. When it suddenly came out, I fell over backwards and the lamb flew backwards over me and landed on the ground behind me. The lamb was huge! No wonder it couldn't come out on its own with the swollen tissue weighing down the birth opening. There was a large purple bruise on the side of its nose where it had been stuck on the upper pelvic bones, and another large purple bruise on the right leg where it had been stuck on the lower pelvic bones. It was bruised from the constant pressure against the bony processes.

I expected it to be dead, but surprisingly it was trying to gasp for air. I swung it head down and rubbed it vigorously, but the gasping was not normal. It would gasp and shudder then stop. I kept rubbing and suddenly it would gasp and shudder again. After another 5 minutes of rubbing, the lamb stopped gasping. I tried breathing into its nose and mouth. I thought that might have worked but the lamb's nose had been trapped inside the ewe (as it kept being sucked back inside) without the umbilical cord for too long and had aspirated fluid. I checked the sex expecting an enormous ram lamb from the size but to my surprise it was a huge ewe lamb. I don’t like singles since they are often larger and harder on the ewe.

The poor ewe kept licking her dead lamb laying on the floor of the jug. This ewe will never be bred again, and will be put down, so I decided to try milking her out. If possible, I hoped to get some colostrum to keep in the freezer for emergencies. I sent DS1 up to the house to get a canning jar so I could milk her out. Then I had him hold her near her dead baby and I milked her as she continued licking it. She actually milked very easily and filled the half pint jar right away. I decided since she was milking easily that I would empty her out. If she continued to let me milk her over the next few days, I thought I might be able to milk enough to save in the freezer for emergencies. I can use dry formula but like to cut it half and half with regular ewe or goat milk.

When the jar was full, I went up to the house and got another half pint canning jar. I filled half of that jar and then told DS1 to turn her around so I could reach the other side. As he turned her, I saw something white and slimy hanging out. I took a closer look and - WHOA! A second lamb head was coming out!!!

I told DS1 that this lamb would probably be dead too. It had been a while since the birth of the dead lamb. We had spent time trying to revive the first lamb then I had milked some colostrum, gone up to the house for a second jar, etc. DS1 held the ewe and I checked to see if I could get the lamb out. Again, the legs were not in position, but this lamb was about ¾ the size of the first one, and having cut the vulva there was more room. I was able to pull it out. SURPRISE!! It hit the ground wriggling and I quickly cleaned its face. Mama stepped right in and started licking baby number 2. This baby was very lively and vigorous since her cord was intact. It was another ewe lamb! DS1 said that I better not milk out any more colostrum!!! :gigActually, since this twin is much smaller than the first lamb, there was plenty of colostrum left for her.

IMG_5598.jpg IMG_5599.jpg IMG_5601 (1).jpg
You can see from the amount of merconium that both these lambs were in distress for a long time before being born. The only reason the second one survived is because her cord and placenta were still functioning. The first one would have survived if I could have gotten her out before she aspirated fluid after her sac ruptured. I am so glad I decided to milk this ewe since that lamb would probably have been trapped and would have died if I had not been crawling around in the muck under that ewe's udder! Oh yes! And I have 3/4 of a pint of sheep colostrum in the freezer too! It was a good result, better than I had feared.

I am not sure if this ewe lamb will be a butcher lamb or not. It is possible she will go to slaughter since we don't like to keep any offspring from prolapsing animals. At least this mama has a nice little ewe lamb to take care of now. I really felt bad for her trying to lick her baby back to life. The ewe had probably been in labor for several hours before DH found her. In the normal course of things, without the rectal prolapse, that ewe would have produced her lambs without any fuss around dawn. It is such a shame too that this ewe had twin ewe lambs on her first freshening and can't be bred again.

This afternoon I went down to check on mama and baby and another ewe looked to be lambing. Some straining, getting up and down. Put fresh straw in the jug and had DS1 come down to herd her off the field, into the barn from which we can easily put her in the jug. Love DH’s barn gate that shuts off the barn opening. Instead of several people having to block off the barn when trying to move sheep we can just shut the gate and they are contained inside the barn alleyway. So easy to handle sheep that way. The sheep don’t freak out, no shouting by family members when someone lets a sheep through the blockade, just quiet moving of the sheep the way it is supposed to be.

Having put the ewe inside the jug it looked like she was bleeding from her vagina. AAARGH! More complications? DS1 caught her and held her while I gloved up and checked her. She was tight so not lambing, and the “blood” was actually liquid diarrhea. We had stopped giving them grain for a couple weeks hoping for easier lambings with lower birth weights. Apparently, DH had given them grain the past 2 days. Hopefully stopping the grain again will stop the diarrhea. I will drench her with Pepto Bismol or an anti-diahrreal tonight. She has a nice full udder so she is not too far from lambing and can stay in the jug.

Tomorrow we will weigh, band, and vaccinate the month old lamb who is still in the barn. Then he and mom can join her sisters on the field. That will free up the 3rd jug for another ewe to lamb.
 
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