• partwaythere

Day 18: My First Lambing

I was eating my dinner late last night

When a call came on the caravan phone:

“There’s a ewe over here and she’s gone off on her own

So wear your overalls and bring your headlight

Because any second now you might see a birth

She’s bleating low and wandering about

Already now her fluid sack is out

And she’s pushing for all that she’s worth.

I put on my boots and ran to the shed

My torch threw a shadow of the sheep on the wall

She stood quite still but didn’t push at all

So the farmer put his hand in to try and find the head,

But the head and the feet did not belong to each other

“A tangle of limbs,” he said leaning on the gate

So he closed his eyes to help him concentrate

“Come on lass, help me!” he whispered to the mother.

But she left it to him to pull the two tiny hooves

One mouth, one nose inching out more and more

Until down it slid to the straw, barn floor.

We rubbed it dry as it started now to move

With a shake of its head it and a miniscule sneeze

The old ewe licked its tiny, woollen side

But we knew that she still had another inside

As she stood there not pushing, not even a squeeze.

My turn, I said, got a new glove out

Took a deep breath then gently let my arm

Disappear inside that ewe on the farm

It was warm in there; I felt about:

Two legs and the head correctly presented -

I grasped with my fingers and thumb so slippery,

And heaved and pulled, the suction against me

I felt it wriggle as it slowly relented

And little by little out came two tiny hooves

One mouth, one nose inching out more and more

Then down I brought it to the straw, barn floor.

We gave it to the mother and watched it start to move

With a shake of the head and legs all quivering

The old ewe licked its tiny woollen side

We both felt elated and bursting with pride.

I sprayed iodine and pulled colostrum from the udder,

Then dried the little lambs to stop them from shivering.

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