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Making a List

January 16, 2011

And checking it twice is an activity usually reserved for Santa, right? In this case, it’s something I need to do in advance of lambing. The first lambs start arriving around the 7th of February, and I want to be prepared for any contingency. When the first lamb hit the ground this past September, I was at my nephew’s football game in Bridge Creek, an hour-and-a-half away! So, if for some reason I’m not here when the first lamb arrives in a few weeks, I want to have a lambing kit ready. I have a toolbox that works well for holding the necessary supplies, and now I am making a list of things to put in it.

Milo was one of the first lambs born last fall. Note the blue navel clamp.

Navel clamps. These are very important. The umbilical cord is the freeway for infectious organisms to enter the newborn’s body, and these clamps help to block that road. Once upon a time, before there was crystal meth, we dipped the cord in strong tincture iodine, which was cheap and worked beautifully. Since I don’t have a permit from the DEA to possess this, navel clamps are the second best choice, even at 50 cents each. While I have a good stock available, I ordered some more from Premier this morning.

Halter. Say what? Sometimes a ewe needs assistance during labor, but she’s in too much pain or stress (or she’s too contrary) to welcome help from me. In those cases, I have to halter her and tie her to the closest post to prevent a rodeo.

Straw. Now, I don’t put this in the toolbox 🙂 But I like to have it handy to bed down the jugs. What’s a jug? It’s a 5′ x 5′ pen where we put mama and her newborns to have some bonding space the first 24 hours after lambing. Not every family needs a jug, but just in case…

Tagging/Marking Supplies. *This* is the year when I tag/mark all lambs within 48 hours of birth. Doing this simple task will save us sooooo much time later. Previously, we used small ear tags on all the lambs. This year, we’re going to use a spray marker on the boys and ear tags on the girls.

Sprayline Marker from Premier Supplies.

This will save some money (enough to pay for the boys’ navel clamps) and simplify tracking. Here’s an example of how it works:

In this case, the number on the ewe corresponds to the number on the lambs. In our case, we'll just put the name on the lamb. Image from Premier Supplies.

Bottle-Feeding Supplies. While we always hope that we don’t have any bottle lambs, we’ve yet to go through a lambing season where we didn’t have at least one. I’ve got plenty of bottles and Pritchard teats (good for newborns), but I need to buy a fresh bag of milk replacer next time I go by Tractor Supply.

Jug panels are like socks in the dryer — they are always disappearing! They get used for this ‘temporary’ pen or that, and then that pen becomes permanent. I have some 20′ lengths of 4″x4″ panels that I’ll cut up into smaller panels the right size for jugs. The weather looks to be nice next weekend, so I’ll plan to do that on Saturday.

Syringes. We use the 35cc large syringes to administer 2-3 oz of colostrum to any lamb that we think hasn’t nursed. I found a bag of 5 or 6 of them the other day when I was looking for something else, so we’re good there.

2-3 oz of colostrum really helps a lamb get up and get going

 Nitrile gloves. These are to protect us from any zoonotic diseases and to protect the ewe from any germs we might introduce into the birth canal.

So, what’s missing on my list? I’m sure I’ll come up with 3 or 10 things in a few hours. Can you help a girl out? What else do I need to order from Premier?

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