It was a big single lamb the ewe gave birth to. While the heart beat, the lamb did not show any other signs of life,it seemed to be comatose. Some lambs revive after swallowed fluids have been cleared, but with this lamb that was not an issue. the shepherdess worked on it for a very long time, breathing into its mouth/nostrils, (the closest action to the kiss of life) to try and get the lungs working, applying heart massage to keep the heart beating and vigorously swaying with the lamb to try and get it breathing and bursting into life. Eventually, the shepherdess had to accept that this was going to be one lamb she could not save.
Later, the shepherdess, whose arms and wrists ached from her earlier efforts with the unfortunate lamb, explained that the lamb had probably been a bit too big, there had probably been more growth in size and underdevelopment elsewhere. Mum, she said, was an old ewe.
The ewe was resting in the big barn. She watched me intently. To me, her sadness was palpable.
The old ewe’s pen was some distance away from the pens where a few more new lambs were cosseted with their mums. The ewe in this picture was not in the least bit worried by my presence and she even seems to have proudly posed for me.