Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dairy sheep??

Hi Everyone! I know I haven't posted for a long time!! We just got the internet about 1 month ago and I am finally getting around to it.  For some quick background as to what I have been doing for the past eight months, it can be pretty much summed up as: working at my new job!! I am now officially a mixed animal veterinarian in southeastern Missouri. 
The best thing about my job: variety!! You never know what you're going to do or see on any given day!  Yesterday we visited a sheep dairy to assist with two lambings on East Friesan Dairy sheep!  Apparently the farmer was 1 of 2 sheep farmers to raise East Friesan Dairy sheep in the whole state of Missouri!

 The first ewe (which is a female sheep in case you didnt' know) had triplets and the first lambs head was caught under the pelvic bone of the mommy sheep, which makes it very hard for her to deliver the lambs.  Unfortunately the sheep had been trying to give birth for over 24 hours so all three lambs were dead by the time we got the call. We actually had to take both of the lambs legs off and make an episiotomy (a cut in the vulva) to make enough room for it to fit through the birth canal.  Then I tried to get it out but was getting tired and didn't think it would come and mentioned C-section.  Immediately Leo was like, no way jose,  and then he pulled the lamb out by it's head (thank goodness!).  Eventually we got them all pulled out after the first, thank goodness because doing a sheep c-section is no fun, especially when you know they're all dead already.  The good news was that the sheep farmer had two baby lambs that had been orphaned, and the mom with all the dead babies accepted the two live ones! Yay!
He had another sheep lambing at the same time, and she had already delivered one dead baby.  I felt in the birth canal for another one, and there was a nose right there! The baby's feet were pushed back though so I pushed him back into the uterus and straightened him out and pulled him right out after that.  The good news is he was still alive!! He started wiggling around right after he came out, and was trying to stand up on his own right after we left (30 minutes later! ). We also were given a gift of sheep cheese, which we'll taste later. The owner said that each dairy sheep can produce several thousands of dollars worth of milk per year (sheep's milk goes for $80/pound, compared to cow's milk which is $9/pound), so saving the momma ewe was worth the $300 vet bill, which I thought was pretty cheap considering the amount of effort that went into it!
I wish I could tell my Grandpa Ray about this experience because he raised sheep when I was a kid and we used to love seeing all the lambs this time of year...I know he would've loved to hear about it! : )