4 March 2012

Loss & Gain

You may remember the post from this day last week in which I told you that I'd won an award. I have time to address it properly now.

Like most awards, it comes along with a checklist:

1. Add the award to your blog.
2. Thank the person who gave you the award.
3. Mention 7 random things about yourself.
4. List the rules.
5. Pass the award onto 15 bloggers
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.

I am infamous for breaking these rules. I can try to mention seven random things about myself, but eventually I will run out of random, and I need to save my random for another time. I'm a cheating scumbag as far as the seven things about me goes.

I'll give you one random fact, though. Last summer I became a writer of fanfiction, and so as a result, the writing on this blog should have become better. So, I'm going to tell you a story instead; a story of life and death, loss and gain, and one very, very chubby sheep.


At the time in question, life had only just begun to get more crowded. My Mum had badly broken her shoulder the afternoon before, leaving her with one working arm for the time being, the ewes just kept on getting into trouble of one sort or another and my family - thanks to my inability to cook a decent meal with the time available to me - were living on a diet of tinned soup and sandwiches.

Our lambing system doesn't lend itself well to intensive lambing, so with an average of thirty ewes lambing every day, soon family units would have to go into the fields. We selected a pen with lambs that appeared strong enough for life outdoors. We catch the lambs first, then Pip helps us to herd the ewes onto a livestock trailer. To reach the field that this particular group of sheep were destined for, our convoy of two tractors had to drive through a field of what we call old ewes; ones that are too thin or old for a life in the sheds. One of the ewes in this field, however, was there for a very different reason.

Suckie can be very annoying.

We knew to keep an eye on her, since she has never managed to lamb on her own. As both tractors drove past - one containing Pip and I, the other my Dad and Granny - eyes searched out Suckie among the crowd. We spotted her on a rise, standing beside another ewe and her own lamb. Suckie was restless, and to our trained eyes, we knew that Suckie was having problems giving birth. Again.

We had no choice but to unload our cargos of lambs and ewes first, and when we came back to Suckie she was still in the same place. Dad clambered out of his tractor, and since he was the one who fed her tasty meal every morning, Suckie, true to form, came trotting over to him. With the little ewe captured, I reversed my tractor over to the pair and Suckie was placed in the link box.

On reaching the yard, I haltered Suckie and she happily walked alongside me. Both Ben and Pip were with us now, but she wasn't phased. When it became apparent to her of our destination, she pulled ahead. There was no time for meal now, so into a small 'bonding pen' she went. I decided that Dad, with his many more years of experiance, should be the one to help Suckie give birth. He pulled on his lambing gloves.

At first he thought that the lamb was coming with its head bent over to one side, but on closer inspection, it seemed that the lamb was coming backwards. There was nothing for him to do but pull on the two back legs. As we know, Suckie is a very small sheep and her love affair with food means that she has a tendency to get overweight. In this case it meant that the lamb was far too big for the birth canal. In the end, it took three people and Suckie's pushing for the lamb to be born.

A lamb's kicks are the sheep equivalent of a baby's cry, but the lamb didn't move a muscle. It happens sometimes, just like with human babies, and the solution with lambs is to swing them by their hind legs upside down so that any fluid in their lungs is spilled out. The lamb should sneeze and kick. Suckie's newborn did none of these things either.

Beginning to worry for the lamb, we fetched the resuscitator. There was a pulse, though it was very weak. His heart stopped. After a few lungfuls of air, it started again. It stopped. We resuscitated him again. His heart started beating again, but still he lay completely still, without a kick. We tried a different method, puring some liquid stimulant into his mouth. He heart had stopped beating again in the time it took us to do that, so we resuscitated him once more. After a few minutes, his heart had stopped again. 

He was gone.


It's always sad when these things happen, but happen they do. There was nothing we could have done for Suckie's lamb that day. As Suckie had tried in vain to push him out backwards, fluid had flooded his lungs and he was unable to breath properly. With every push that Suckie made, more fluid entered into his nose.

But however sad that day was, there is a happy ending to the story.

An orphan lamb was in need of a mum, and Suckie had plenty of milk for the job. Here he is:

The following day, we introduced this little girl to the family. She was one of three lambs from the same ewe and she couldn't feed them all. She was also really small:

Now both lambs and adopted mum are happy. The boy lamb was named Veyron (this year's theme for lamb names is cars) and the girl, Kia.

The size difference is really funny, actually. Veyron's this huge lamb, Kia's a tiny one and Suckie's well, just Suckie.

They really do make an odd family.

But they all saved each other in their own way.



Now I have to pass this award along to 15 other bloggers. I try my best to stick to this rule.

1. Bailey Be Good!, 2. BZ Training, 3. Two Dogs, One Camera, Priceless Moments, 4. Eva the Sheltie, 5. Schnauzer Days.

...That's rubbish, isn't it? I just can't stick to those rules.

With thanks to With My Collie By My Side for giving me the award - I'm sorry I'm so rubbish at posting about them.


  1. We love a happy ending!!

    -Bart and Ruby

  2. You are too sweet! Congrats on your award, and thank you so very much for passing it to me. :)

    Woofs & hugs,

    Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)

  3. I'm so glad to hear that a new family was born out of the losses. And you write and take pictures well - so what if following rules isn't your strength? :-)

  4. Congratulations on your award and many thanks for passing it to us!

    We love happy ending story and we enjoyed reading your story. Those pictures are beautiful. I always love to hear news abut your farm animals.

  5. Congrats on your award! What a happy/sad story. I did have to laugh at your "cheating scumbag" comment about yourself though. It just sounded like something I would say! LMAO!

  6. sad story with a happy ending :)