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Day 14: The First Lamb

That morning, there was a little crumpled heap of a jumper shivering in the straw, all slimy and wet, alone by the side. It was wrinkly, light brown and yellowish-white, and luckily had escaped the feet of the ewes all shouldering each other out of the way, filling up the lambing shed with their not-yet-borns bouncing off each other as they assertively made known their desire for food, food and more food. Once the airways were opened, I picked it up and put it out of harm’s way in a pen in the corner, and watched while the mother, distinguishable by the long, deep red placenta dangling from its rear end accepted it, pushing it a little with her nose and licking its face.

We surrounded it with straw to keep it warm and safe from infection, its umbilical cord still bloody, an open wound. After that, we rubbed her sides and back to stimulate the blood and dry her off, and sprayed iodine on the cord. She was up on her feet in no time, wobbling around unstably before collapsing in a heap for another nap after only a few minutes.

We kept an eye on her that day and the next; watched her start to suckle; heard her calling when she’d slipped out of the pen and didn’t know how to get back in. She was the first lamb of the year. I wondered how many more were still to come.

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