This spring has been super busy. Lambing, getting hay cut, alfalfa out of the field and wrapping up our school year has kept me hopping. Since this is our last summer before my oldest heads off to college in the fall, we decided we should take our first ever family vacation.
Now, farmers don’t take frequent vacations. There’s always something being left undone and planning for all of the critters and their care is difficult. But, we thought we could do a short trip to one of the nearby state parks. So, I made the reservations and marked the calendar.
We watched our spring lambs being born one right after the other, but there was one huge ewe who just wouldn’t give birth. She grew bigger and bigger. Four days before our scheduled departure, I went to the barn. This ewe had prolapsed.
The pressure and weight of her lambs along with weak abdominal attachments pushed a blob of her vaginal tissues outside of her body. Gross. I know. We cleaned the mess with warm soapy water and squished it back in there.
An hour later, it was back. This procedure was repeated every few hours. Finally, we improvised a sling that would hold her innards in place. We took a strip of netting from a potato bag and safety pinned the strip across her backside. This sling supported her from the outside so that when she laid down the pressure wouldn’t squirt her innards out.
The problem was that with lambs being due any day, she would need to be carefully watched. Birthing may be difficult with the sling in place. So every three hours, day and night, I had to check her.
And I worried about our trip.
When the day arrived, we resigned ourselves to the inevitable.
We were once again going to do something totally weird. We were hitting the road with sheep in tow.
Two adults. Four kids. In a truck with no a/c, driving for two and a half hours hauling two sheep (sheep get lonely) on vacation.
And we did just that. We parked the trailer next to our cabin, the wheels carefully chocked. (Yeah, it was on a serious slope) The sheep were content to hang out in the trailer, and I dutifully trooped out there to check on my ewe every three hours, night and day.
Weird. But, I was going to get that vacation with my kids. And we had a great time.
Wouldn’t you know it, that ewe birthed her twins unassisted two days after we got back? She even managed to somehow give birth with that mesh in place.
Oh, well. It still makes for a good story. And once again, I’ve proved that I’m one of those weird people.
The kind who take their animals on vacation with them.