Mama Sadie spent a good part of yesterday standing around and rocking back and forth on her hind legs. At 10PM last night more of the same. At 12:30 she looked a little wet on her vulva but was acting totally normal, and she tends to get everything wet when she pees. So I went to check her again a little after 3AM. As I walked up to the barn I could hear that sweet nickering sound that new moms make to their newborns. Sure enough there were two wet lambs struggling to get up and placenta hanging out. I ran back to the house to get my lambing kit and towels and when I returned I saw a third lamb lying very still in the hay. I tried to resuscitate it to no avail. There was a little meconium on it and not so much on the other lambs, but Mama was doing a fine job licking her lambs so I don't know how much meconium there really was. I don't think the lamb ever took a breath since amniotic fluid poured slowly from its mouth.
Mama was very intent on cleaning off her babies, but not so much on letting them nurse. Each time a lamb would move towards her udder Mama would bat them away with her head. After the lambs attempted many times I finally haltered Mama and let the lambs get their colostrum. They were so happy to nurse and their little tails went crazy.
Once the lambs had nursed I needed to move the new family into a jug since where they were now was the section of pen I was going to fence off for my third jug and I have two other ewes who should be lambing any hour now. Mama wanted no part in following her lambs and just kept looking for them in the pen. I tried bribing her with some grain and that didn't work. Finally, with one lamb in my arms and the feed scoop, Mama saw a barn cat come into the barn and followed us with no problem. Did she feel threatened by the cat and moved to protect her lamb?
In the jug, a smaller space I was hoping would work better for nursing, Mama still would not let her lambs nurse. Out came the halter again. Mama had a nice drink of warm molasses water and some grain and hay and everyone was tucked in. The lambs found the heat lamp right away.
When I went back two hours later to check on everyone Mama had delivered the rest of her huge placenta and was laying in it. The lambs were crying to eat and I could not get Mama to get up no matter what. Back into the house worrying about milk fever. Grabbing the calcium gluconate and needles and syringes I ran back up to the barn to see Mama Sadie standing there looking at me like nothing had ever been wrong. Still she wouldn't let the lambs nurse so it was back to the halter. The lambs, a ram and a ewe, nursed for a good 10-15 minutes without much direction. Once their bellies were full the halter came off and the lambs went back under the heat lamp. I hope Mama figures out how to let her lambs nurse, she has had at least one other pregnancy and raised up two good sized lambs when we purchased her. So I know she can nurse.
Triplets explains why Mama Sadie was so big. She had 33 pounds of lambs inside. The ram lamb weighed 12 pounds and both ewe lambs weighed 10.5 pounds (yes I weighed the stillborn lamb.)