Tuesday, February 25, 2014

                                                            Birth Trauma 
When delivering lambs, please always remember how fragile lambs are and how easily they may be damaged. A large number of lambs are injured during the birth process, as is demonstrated by detailed post-mortem examination. Even lambs born naturally, without any human intervention what so ever, may be injured by the crushing pressures bearing down on them during the birth process. Any additional force applied by hand will increase the risk of injury very significantly. 
   Returning lambs from the birth canal to the uterus and correcting any abnormal posture is most easily done when ewe is not straining. Up ending the ewe is helpful, since her pressing is less effective in this position. When pulling on the lamb, it is best to wait for the Ewe to strain unless she has given up. Aim to withdraw the lamb with a smooth, rather than a jerk action. The ewe may be laid down on her side when actually delivering the lamb, so that her own contractions will assist with the birth. 
   The delicate tissues of the uterus and birth canal must always be protected from the hooves of the lamb by cupping the feet in the palm of the hand when manipulating them. The lamb's teeth can occasionally cause damage especially when the head is roped, as this tends to open the mouth. Some lambs, such as Awassi dairy sheep, are born with sizable horn buds, which can cause considerable damage especially if they are born backwards. It is also taken for granted that strict hygiene will be taken, that lubricants will be used liberally and that every ewe will be given antibiotic treatment following any interference. 
 When a ewe has been examined and the lamb is found to be alive and presented normally, the birth canal is fully relaxed or in the process of opening up and the ewe is correct in every other way, then she should be left to lamb in her own good time. Frequent observations, not internal examinations, will show whether she is making progress. Further interference will only be necessary if no progress has been made after 1 to 2 hours.