Woodland Creek Soay Rams

Woodland Creek Soay Rams
Soay Sheep Ram Assortment

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mystery solved - missing lamb found

Well, you had to know this was not going to have a good outcome, right? The dam, good ole Thumper, was looking pretty chipper and eagerly dove into the grass in the new pasture the day before yesterday. However, by the end of the day yesterday she was looking not-so-good. It finally dawned on me that the afterbirth that she was still carrying was not right. She should have passed the afterbirth within a few hours if she had lambed. She stayed up on the back hill by herself last night and when I checked on her at 4 AM this morning, she was a goner.

(Spoiler alert - if you don't like photos of dead lambs, you should stop reading now and go find something more pleasant).

I began to think that in fact, the lamb had never been born, and the protruding membranes were actually just the amniotic sac... so I had to know, and so performed a crude necropsy. Sure enough, poor old Thumper had a large ram lamb in her uterus, and it was turned completely sideways so that the back and shoulders were facing the cervix. There is no way the poor thing could have been born, nor even turned properly for a normal birth.

So, genetically, the lamb was of course a black-and-white, as the sire was Yosemite (same sire as Athena's lamb yesterday) and Thumper was our original B&W ewe. Since Athena was Thumper's daughter, the dead ram lamb was Athena's lambs "half-brother" as well as "half-uncle". The interesting part is the ram lamb's markings, shown below.

Thumper's 2010 ram lamb
If you look back to yesterday's post at the photo of Bandit, you will see that the markings are nearly identical. Oh, I'll save you the trouble. Here is Bandit, and his dam Athena, today.
WC Athena '08 and Bandit-r '10
Well, rest in peace good old Thumper. You had 10 or 11 lambs over 10 years and produced a lot of Black and Whites!
Thumper and some of her family in Apr-2006
(Thumper, her lambs Bunny, Kaya, and all their lambs Pepper, Obsidian and Kip)


Michelle said...

I'm really sorry to hear this, although I would find it somewhat comforting to have the mystery solved. I guess the take-home lesson for me is, when in doubt, go in and check!

Sierra said...

That's very sad. Poor old girl!