Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Left behind

Blake, two days before being orphaned.

Yesterday Brava seemed better. I was going to give her another Banamine shot in the morning, but she was chewing her cud instead of grinding her teeth, so I turned everyone out and watched her through the windows. She laid down less and grazed more, so I was encouraged. But when I put everyone up last evening, she was back to grinding her teeth. I gave her the Banamine shot then, as well as another shot of B vitamins.

This morning when I went down to do chores, Brava was on her side, rigid and tremoring, foaming a bit at the mouth. I dashed back to the house for Rick, then ran back to be with her until he could get there. He was running magnesium IV (in case of hypomagnesiumia) when she died. I was pinched for time; I had to drive my MIL to the airport. Rick advised leaving the sheep in the fold for the day so that Blake did not slip through the arena looking for his mom. After I left he did a necropsy, then buried her, before leaving for work. He found a couple abnormalities, but none that looked significant enough to be fatal. No "hardware." No tapeworms. Another mystery case; why are all my cases mystery cases? Rick is doing more investigating; he took a liver sample so we can check her copper level, and removed her brain should the state vet insist on a scrapie test. I am so thankful for my husband.

Meanwhile, I have an orphan to think about. When I got home I went to the fold to check on Blake. He yelled a bit, but wasn't really distraught. I mixed a little lamb milk replacer I have with some sweet feed, isolated him in a corner and put the pan down. He nosed around in it, but wasn't impressed. It gave him cute whiskers, though:
When I replaced that with a pan of plain sweet feed and let the other lambs join him, he ate better:
I refilled the mineral feeder, and he ate some of that:
I cleaned and refilled the water bucket, and he took a drink:
Then he went to the hay feeder and ate industriously:
I'll keep a close eye on him, but I think he's going to be okay. Of course, I thought that about Brava, too.... Will try turning everyone out tomorrow, so they can all get fresh air and exercise. Life must go on.

That's it for today from . . .

31 comments:

MollyBeees said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry Michelle! I sure wish I lived closer...I'd adopt Blake! ((Hugs))

Kathy said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers, dear friend. I only wish I were closer to help more.

Mim said...

Oh no I worry about the babies.
Hope you find something out mystery's are no fun. I've had a few!

Kathleen Stoltzfus said...

How old is Blake?

Michelle said...

Blake, age five weeks, is the oldest of the lambs here.

roundaboutacres said...

I'm so sorry about the loss of your ewe. Blake does look like he will be okay. I hope you can find out what happened to your ewe.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about Brava. I have her last fleece which is so beautiful. My Prayers. Melanie

Laura said...

Too bad about Brava. I hope you find out what was wrong with her. Could it have been pneumonia?

Usually if a sheep has copper poisoning their eye go yellow.

For the little guy, you could try to feed him from a pan as some have suggested or you could feed him from a bottle. (I had a bottle lamb given to me a while ago who was orphaned at two weeks and she was never tame. The only way I could catch her was to use the bottle. I also had a bottle lamb who was a bottle baby from day one and he was an intact ram and was not dangerous to people. We did not pet him a lot or play with him-we just fed him.)

I think your lamb will be fine though. Many sheep farms wean their bottle lambs at 6 weeks (and then creep feed) as milk replacer is expensive. (I personally feed orphans for 8 weeks as I think they do better.)

Hope things work out for you,

Laura

PS. sorry to hear about the chicken too. :(

sheepsclothing said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Brava. It is very sad for Blake that he's lost his mama- but he looks like a strong and sturdy boy. I'm sure he'll do fine, 'specially since he's got you looking out for him.

Nancy K. said...

Oh, Michelle ~ I'm so sorry! I know how much you loved Brava. I sure hope that you can find some answers as to what caused her loss. Blake looks like such a fine, healthy ram lamb. I hope he thrives under your care. He'll probably become a master sneak and get milk from the other ewes when he really wants some.

My heart goes out to you. You must be hurting. Be kind to yourself and snuggle with your bulldog!

You are a wonderful Shepherdess.

Michelle said...

Thanks, ALL of you, for your cyber-hugs and kind words. It DOES help to have the support and care of people who understand, like you do. Brava was not only my shy sweetheart, she was my softest-fleeced ewe and one of only two known poll-carriers here; such a loss on all counts.

Laura, we're not worried about copper poisoning, but about copper deficiency. Some NW shepherds have had problems; when the livers of culls have been tested, they show dangerously low levels of copper. Copper deficiency can masquerade as many other health problems, so it will be good to know if we have that problem or not. If we do, that could explain some other problems.... And it's not just a matter of supplementing. There is an element in our area that has been implementing in binding copper so it's not available.

MISS PEACH ~(^.^)~ said...

On Michelle i am ever so sorry to read this sad news about Brava....please know how much I wish we could hug youXOXOXOX
the cozy cottage cares so much

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Blake is so very handsome! I'm so sorry that you have lost your beautiful Brava.

Jody said...

How heartbreaking...I am so sorry .

Tammy said...

Hi Michelle,
Just saw that you lost Brava. So very, very sorry. What a terrible shock. I think Blake will be fine, a little lonely, but okay. He has his buddies, and you are creep feeding him, and he is eating hay etc. Like someone mentioned he might sneak a drink here and there too. Take care,
Tammy

ewespin said...

I have had experience with orphan lambs about that age learning to drink milk (the same amount you would put in a bottle) directly from a small bucket.

He may already be grabbing snacks from other ewes. He probably was dealing with a diminished supply of milk over the past few days when Brava was sick.

Sorry for your loss. It is always hard.

Michelle said...

Ewespin, I think you are correct about the diminished milk supply. When she was down Tuesday morning, Blake nosed about her udder but never sucked. I had checked her teats the day before and suspected she had dried up. I did hold the ewe of a single for him, and again, he nosed the udder but didn't nurse. I am so thankful he is as old as he is, and that Brava gave him such a strong start in life before leaving us.

A wildlife gardener said...

I marvel at all you go through with rearing your sheep and lambs...you are a hero in my eyes :)

I know nothing about lambs but this one looks as if he'll pull through...he looks so sturdy :)

Shula said...

I am so sorry to hear about Brava :( My thoughts and prayers are with you; I hope you can get an answer to your mystery. Blake looks like the picture of health, Do you have one of those weight slings? You can always monitor his weight to make sure he is still growing.

Michelle said...

Shula, weighing him is an excellent idea! Thanks!

HisTek said...

Michelle,
I just saw that you lost Brava. I am so sad for you. What a loss! I can't even express it.
We lost a llama when her cria was just 4 months old. (They are usually weaned at 6 months). He was eating hay and grain at that point. He grew up to be a strong healthy guy. I think Blake will be fine too. Poor guy.
Jackie

Jenny Holden said...

So sorry to hear of your loss Michelle. My thoughts are with you and Blake x

Juliann said...

Michelle, my sincere sympathies for your loss.

Juliann said...

Michelle, my sincere sympathies for your loss.

sheila said...

I'm so sorry Michelle. It must be hard not knowing what happened. He looks like a healthy young lad. Please keep us updated on him.

Claire the Shepherdess said...

Just catching up Michelle and so sad to read about Brava. I've been studying for final exams here and not on the blogs much. We've had some losses here too lately, some for known reasons and some not. It has been a tough year for lambing and kidding for so many people it seems. I hope you can find some answers on Brava, but I know that never really puts the heart back together the way it was. Blessings to you and Blake.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Oh Michelle {{{hug}}}

Tammy W. said...

Oh Michelle - so sorry to hear about Brava. Sometimes these things happen, and there is nothing we can do about it. You are a very good shepherdess - and I know that everything will go well with little
Blake.

Angelique said...

Sorry to learn about the separation of Blake and Brava. Blake is ESPECIALLY handsome and EXTRA strong for a reason afer all...and I imagine he will be just fine!

Can you imagine the great loss our Shepherd must feel (when despite all His very masterful attempts at saving a lost or wounded sheep) when one of His sheep (one way or another) continues on the way to its end, as sheep will inevitably do?

Blessings for a restful break and much peace on the coming Sabbath.

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle said...

Thank-you, Angelique. Yes, I often think of how much God's heart must hurt every day over His children, and can't fathom surviving that level of pain! It also helps to know that it makes Him sad when His "lesser creatures" - even sparrows - fall; I am not alone in my sadness.

I am very thankful for the Sabbath's approach; I don't know what I would do without that "time-island of peace" every week!