When I got home from work last night, my husband, Bob, and son, Warren, were heading to the barn with grim expressions. A ewe was down behind the barn. She was hugely pregnant and lying on her side, moaning and straining. This was no normal labor. I can't exaggerate the distension of her body.
Bob, who is a veterinarian, prepped for an immediate c-section. One, two, three, four big lambs, all healthy, were pulled from her uterus. I cleaned off the lambs while Bob euthanized the ewe. She had ruptured her abdominal cavity hours before. Carrying quads of that size to term was too much.
We got the lambs under a heat lamb and used a stomach tube to fill their bellies with colostrum mixed from a powder. I tried to teach them how to suck a bottle.
Bob sees these kinds of things daily in his job as a vet. I am more traumatized by them. I couldn't fall asleep last night, thinking of that good ewe. We raise all of our ewes, so she had been in our herd her whole life. She was certainly one of our best ewes, carrying big quads who were kicking and squirming to be born.
Now I have four bottle lambs. We may sell them on Saturday at the local livestock auction.
You don't know what is involved in raising livestock until you do it. Just like giving birth, I guess.
Three males and one female in this set of orphaned quads.