Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ram Lamb Tough

Sara (thecrazysheeplady) says, "Lambies are tougher than you'd think." She would know if anyone would!

This week I felt like I was inducted into Sara's lamb club (not to be confused with club lambs!). I mentioned a bottle and milk replacer in my last post; are you ready for the long version, with LOTS of pictures? (Prepare yourself to be overcome by cuteness!)

Annabelle's little boys were both lively, vigorous lambs with healthy lungs from the morning they were born. I made sure Annabelle had milk and both lambs found the faucets multiple times, and turned the heat lamp on for good measure. Still, that white one was awfully noisy.

Thursday morning after Rick and Brian headed to the barn to do chores, the phone rang. It was Rick on his cell phone, telling me I'd better come down because the white lamb wasn't doing well. I grabbed some Karo syrup, hobbled quickly to the car and drove down to find him like this –

lethargic; chilled; sucking reflex gone. I tried to get some Karo into him (messy stuff), then enlisted Brian's help and tried to milk out some colostrum – with pathetic results. Annabelle seemed to have very little in her big, full udder, although the black lamb was obviously getting some nourishment.  His white twin had been yelling because he wasn't getting anything to eat! By this time Rick had left for his first appointment, and I was starting to despair. I called him and asked him to please come back and help me – and he did. While I tried to warm up the little fellow,
Rick and his assistant tried milking Annabelle, with even less "success" than I had had. So he gave the lamb some sub-Q dextrose to give him some energy, and whisked him off to town to get some milk replacer in him as quickly as possible. I dropped Brian off at his science class and followed them to the clinic, where the little guy was sacked out a big box after eagerly sucking down a serving of warm formula. Since I wasn't sure he'd passed his meconium, Lorie helped me get some Fleet enema in him, then I picked up Brian and the three of us headed home.

Hours passed and on he slept. I was beginning to think he'd used up his last energy to eat his last meal and wasn't going to make it. Then, all of a sudden he sat up! I ran in the house to get a bottle ready, and when I came back to the car (where I'd left his box because it was warmer there than in the house), I found this:

Even better, he was passing meconium!

He's alive!
Next to my size 8.5 foot, for scale

After he got his belly filled, I took him down to the lambing jug to join his mother and brother again. Thankfully, Annabelle was happy to see her missing son. Being raised as a sheep, with and by sheep, is important for a little sheep! Every couple hours I hobbled down with a bottle, and thrilled at his turn-around. His last bottle was at 11 p.m.; I worried aloud about how the lamb would do through the night to Rick, but he didn't seem concerned.

Early Friday morning I hobbled down with breakfast, and found the lambie unresponsive again – he just didn't have the reserves to make it through the night. I carried him to the house (I had a lamb to save; forget about my knee!) where Rick asked, "Didn't you feed him in the night?" Talk about a major lapse in communication! It took another shot of dextrose and a tube feeding to jump-start the lambie again; he was almost gone.
While Brian and I waited for strength and energy to return to our charge, we took him out onto the deck and stayed busy in the warm sunshine. While Brian did his math, I knit (one of the requirements of Sara's lamb club, I think).
Once we had him back on track, down to the lambing jug he went again – until bedtime. I wasn't going to risk another crash; he spent the night in his box in our bathroom on a seedling warming mat, where I could feed him easily through the night – with full rations. Ahem. That evening I needed to mix up more milk replacer. Rick told me the proportions, but I wanted to confirm it with the directions on the bag. Turns out that the first batch – all the food the poor little guy had had in his first 36 hours of life – was mixed at HALF strength! Now that we got that little snafu straightened out, so is the lamb. Last night he stayed down in the fold with just one bottle delivery in the night, and he did fine. He's still interested in nursing, so I have hopes that eventually he'll be able to get sustenance like his brother:

However, his brother seems to be working long and hard to get what he gets, so there may not ever be enough for two. That's okay; I'll provide all the bottles he needs and he can use mom as a pacifier.

Oh, and their official names? The white one is Benny, and his black twin is B-2 Spirit, more commonly known as Benny . . . and Jet. ;-)

That's the latest from . . .


Debbie said...

My goodness, you've had your hands full! So glad that both little guys are doing well. Benny looks like he might be a keeper.....sitting so at rest on your deck....yes, I know you've mentioned about only one ram but this little guy is special! Hope your knee is improving.

schoonoverfarm said...

Great save Michelle!

Monica said...

They are so sweet! I'm so glad things are working out well for them. Good job!

thecrazysheeplady said...

What a sweet post and such a sweet little lambie :-D. Good save!!!

C-ingspots said...

:) !!!

farmlady said...

I'm so proud of you and your little lamb.