I should know better. I should never second guess the Polarbears.
Bruno snapped out of whatever was ailing him almost immediately after being allowed to come in and sleep with his head on my lap. It appears that he may not have been fevered after all, (as i had no thermometer there was no way to be sure) but instead it seems that the combination of having sold the goats and then confining the dogs to the small pasture with the sheep for a few days to let them bond better caused him to both grieve the loss of part of his 'family' and somehow feel that I was not happy with him. At any rate, he is a happy, hardworking dog again. That didn't keep me from misjudging once again though.
The next day I turned them out again with the sheep, in the back pasture. It wasn't long before i saw Cletus in the front of the house again. So I walked him back out where Bruno was guarding the sheep and told Cletus in no uncertain terms to stay put.
A couple hours later, I went out to check on everyone and both dogs were exactly where I had left them...but there were NO sheep! Not one. Not even a trace. I excitedly said "WHERE ARE MY SHEEP???"
The dogs nonchalantly got up, stretched and began walking slowly thru the pasture. I followed Cletus, with Bruno walking beside me, quite a long ways until he came to the wide, rocky, dry streambed. Certain that there was no earthly reason the sheep would leave all the feed in the pasture behind me to cross the rocks and recalling the wild goose chase EmmaLou had led me on, I headed back the other way to see if they were hidden in the tall grass, or had found a hole in a fence somewhere. Cletus sort of shrugged, and laid down where he was. Bruno followed me a few steps then stopped and laid down himself.
I searched everywhere but found no trace of the sheep. I got the 4 wheeler as I couldn't walk much more and came back to search again. Cletus joined me this time and I checked through the willows, through Mister's pasture, out where the calves were, back at the corrals, but no luck. At one point, Bruno suddenly jumped up from where he lay and took off like a shot towards the horse pasture a mile away where the cavvy currently grazes. He didn't stop or slow down until he was almost in the center of it, just in front of a bank of trees.
I never saw what he was after, but I could just barely see him at a distance, stopped with his tail tightly curled. I finally went and got Randy and told him all I knew. He came down with me and we searched again. Bruno showed back up and he and Cletus followed me around totally unperturbed, with not one concern or thought of the missing sheep. I was terribly disappointed after all the bragging I had done on them.
After about another 45 minutes of searching, Randy hollered out that he had found them. I headed over and saw that they were about 30 yards from where I had stopped following Cletus. Not only had he been leading me to them, but he and Bruno both stayed close by the flock while I searched everyplace they weren't!
I have to think a coyote must have tried to sneak up on them which is what caused Bruno to take off in hot pursuit. It is hard to see the dogs when they lay in the high weeds. At any rate, it seems they do a lot better job than I was giving them credit for.
Last night when I went out, the sheep and dogs had come into the little pasture for the night. I looked and noticed someone was missing. Madge is the only mature ewe as well as the only one bred early. I went out to Mister’s pasture where they like to gather and sure enough, there was Madge. She has always been the odd one out, as she almost never hangs with the rest of the flock.With a lot of coaxing, Cletus and I managed to get her most of the way back. Her bag has enlarged a great deal in the past couple of days and her ‘girly parts’ are lookin’ pretty floppy so I decided it’s time for her to go to the lambing shed. THAT took some work on the part of both Randyman and myself as she did not want to go. After fussing around and failing with her for 15 or 20 minutes, I went and got some grain. She immediately followed me to the shed. I love a greedy animal. It’s only a vice in humans, in critters, it’s an asset as they will do anything for food.
This morning she is very much in labor. I am hoping against hope she can do this on her own this time, as well as hoping for twins.
I grabbed a cup of coffee and settled on the couch to watch her on the closed circuit camera that is in the lambing shed. I could see that she was definitely in the beginning stages of labor. Things moved along quickly as she paced, ate a bite of breakfast and paced some more. I had been hoping for twins as they tend to be smaller and the last lamb she had was enormous and I had a hard time helping her deliver him as we could not get his head and shoulders out even though everything was quite normal. I looked forward to staying in and watching the show on camera this time.
It wasn’t long before the baby crowned. I smiled and as I looked closely at the monitor, I noticed there were no feet!
I grabbed some lubricant, latex gloves, disinfectant and baling twine. The dogs met me at the door and we went in to check. I waited for Madge to relax a bit and did a quick check...there were no feet in the birth canal. I had to wait until she stopped pushing and try to get the lamb back inside, but he started breathing already. I lubed up and managed to push my arm in past the cervix and found the shoulder and one leg... After several attempts I was able to bring the one leg forward, but I couldn’t get to the other one. Randyman showed up while I was elbow deep in sheep and I had him tie the baling twine onto the foot of the leg I had already gotten forward and hold tension on it when needed. I tried twisting the lamb into better position, but no matter what I did, I could not get the other leg forward. Not being able to push the lamb back into the uterus made it very difficult as there was not enough room to work with. I figured there must be a second lamb which made it impossible to push the first guy back even for a minute. In spite of all the time it was taking us, and the stress on both of them, the lamb would occassionally shake its head which encouraged me to do whatever I had to, to keep it alive. We kept traction on the lamb and when Madge pushed again we were able to extract him. No sooner had I set him aside for her to dry off, number 2 crowned. It was in the exact same position as the first lamb. This time, I was able to push the head back in and had more room to reach in and bring the leg forward. This lamb was smaller and but I had just as much trouble with the second leg so we chose to deliver it with just one leg forward also. It came pretty easily and Bruno resumed the drying off of the first one while Madge worked on the newer lamb.
Twin ram lambs. I have named them Thing1 and Thing2. They are typical boys. Thing 2 has already gotten himself stuck behind the tarp which acts as a roof for the shed, has gotten his leg stuck through the cattle panel that holds up the tarp that acts as a roof on the shed and continues to walk around until he runs into a wall, gate, leg or other immovable object. They are dry now and actively looking for the cafeteria. She didn’t have much when I checked to make sure her teats weren’t plugged, but I think she will let down once they start nursing. At least she is letting them try, unlike last time, when it took her 3 days to let Stewie nurse.
All in all it was a pretty good morning. Bruno stayed with them for awhile, watching from his chosen spot in the back of the shed, out of Madge’s way. Everytime a lamb wobbled by him, he gently reached out and licked it clean a little more, just like its mama does. Madge is happy. I called the boss in town and asked him to bring me home some oxytocin to help her pass the afterbirth if she needs it and an intra-uterine bolus to help prevent infection, since I had to intervene. He couldn't find any. She managed to clean on her own, so I used a teat infusion from my milk cow as a preventative antibiotic for the uterus. Hopefully, that will do.
It always makes me smile to see the miracle of life happen right in front of me. What an amazing and creative God we have. The little guys are knuckled over because their tendons in the front are too short. I'll have to splint them today, meantime, they are doing GREAT!