I never though this is something I would ever do – milking a sheep. This morning when we checked the villsau (Norwegian wild sheep), Josie had given birth less than an hour before to two beautiful little black lambs. So far all our lambs have a black fleece with a little white. Villsau actually have black skin but the black wool might just be their birth colour and later they will go grey – but we will see.
The lambs were very strong and warming themselves in the sun. By lunchtime the lambs were a little slow and lazy. We hadn’t seen them drink from Josie yet and watched them for a while to see what was happening. The lambs were trying to drink but Josie kept turning round to the other side. We felt we had to intervene. I jumped in the pen and Moose held back Josie. I reached under and Joise’s udders were different. One was small and the other felt swollen. It seemed like she was engorged. Having had kids, I know what being engorged was all about and so I guessed what it could be – there was likely a blocked milk duct. I tried to get the lambs to drink from the engorged side but they couldn’t. Something was still blocking the teat. Finding myself half under the ewe I had a closer look and ended up squeezing out a kind of plug. Josie was very still, she knew that we were trying to help her. I then placed a lamb to the teat and heard the sweet sound of suckling.
Half a day later I felt Josie’s udder again. It was very full. I tried to encourage the lambs to drink by holding the teat and shoving their faces in it. They did but as lambs only suckle for shorts spurts, Josie wasn’t going to get relief anytime soon. She needed help. Moose and I thought it best to take action. I started to massage her udder and she was very willing for me to do it. I squeezed down and to the end of the teat like squeezing icing down a piping bag. Milk finally came out – all over my pants! Josie freely stood there and allowed me to milk her to release her engorged udder. I wasn’t very good with direction, by the end I had milk all over my shoes. But I evened out Josie’s teat to the size of the other one – still leaving a little milk in it. I didn’t want to empty it as I thought it best for Josie’s lambs to take over from me. I must say, I do feel a lot closer to Josie now…lol.