Rain, snow, sleet, Arctic temperatures in store. Hardship, adversity, challenge -- I'd say "Bring it on!", but that phrase has been tainted. Anyway, the weather's a little more normal this week.
Happily, I'll report that some stored away knowledge or instinct, or something led me to correctly recognize a uterine prolapse in the ewe of another farmer acquaintance. I even knew somehow what to do -- Internet research after the fact confirmed that.
Last Sunday, he called and asked me to come over as he thought his ewe was "trying to give birth" and having a hard time. He knew I'd assisted at hundreds of goat birthings. He had also witnessed a good number of births in both sheep and goats.
When I got there, it was immediately clear to me that this was not a lamb presenting. Observing the situation, I realized that the ewe had pushed out her entire uterus. I was then told that she'd been trapped outside in the mud by baling twine around a big round bale. She was likely there for several hours before being found and freed. I'm guessing she panicked and that's what caused the prolapse.
I asked the farmer if he had a vet he could call. He responded that a vet visit would cost more than the maximum value of the ewe. If we couldn't figure out what to do, the ewe would die shortly, because he couldn't afford a veterinarian.
I asked for a bucket of hot soapy water and a towel, washed off the muddy parts, and had him push from the lower part of the protrusion while I held the head of the ewe and try to reassure her. I'm certain the pushing was painful for her.
Luckily, he managed to push it back in place and she looked more normal. He had penicillin, so we gave her a good dose and I reminded him to repeat the dose for several days. We got her a bucket of clean water and she had a good, long drink. She seemed to be coming out of shock. I left her in a dry, covered shed to recover, went home, and looked up "uterine prolapse" on the Web.
'New lesson learned in the School of Hard Knocks.