This morning began well enough with the discovery of four new lambs. However, things rapidly descended as we were building a new crèche or two. Luc told us that we would shortly see a “big problem” and sent Carol back to fetch her camera.
The big problem turned out to be a ewe with a prolapsed uterus. One of the new mother’s had evidently pushed and pushed and delivered more than just her lamb, poor thing. Luc upended the hapless ewe and pressed Nadine and myself into service supporting her inverted while he struggled gamely to put the ewe’s uterus back where it should be. As fast as he tried to push the uterus back in, the ewe seemed to be resisting and was straining to push it back out. After about 10 minutes of slow progress Luc succeeded in replacing the uterus. We stood the ewe back on her feet and Luc now proceeded to secure the uterus with a bizarre plastic device and some cord.
Given the existence of the plastic device designed specifically for the task, I suspect that a prolapsed uterus is not an especially rare occurrence. According to doctor/farmer Luc, if it can be pushed back in relatively easily, the prognosis is good. In this case, however, since it was clearly not easy to push back in, he was not hopeful that this ewe would survive the day.
Following the excitement of the operating theatre, we all cleaned up and went to visit Mirepoix market. The Pyrenees were covered in cloud today and we had some early rain assisted by a quite biting wind dropping the temperature to 6-7°C. However, we were under a small hole in the clouds and the sun shone more than not for our midday trip to Mirepoix.
Our afternoon session began well with a further three new additions to the flock. Furthermore, the poor repaired ewe was still with us hanging in there. She was even holding her head a little higher. I won’t get my hopes up though because it is very apparent that Luc extremely experienced and knows a thing or two about sheep. We’ll wait to see.
After the feeding process, when the ewes are distracted by their yummy luzerne, straw and barley, extra straw is added to a good covering on the floor. Amongst other things which I’ll leave to your imagination, the straw-covering is intended to keep the ewe’s teats clean and help prevent infection. There are often a few ewes that appear to be more interested in our activity that in their rations.
During our “bedding” replenishment process this afternoon, Luc discovered a sickly lamb which he separated and gave an antibiotic injection. After a while time the lamb seemed to perk up but it was a false dawn; Carol and I returned to shower and when Luc came back to the house he told us that the lamb had subsequently died.
Just one of those days, I guess.