Monday, April 29, 2013

Whoa, what a lambing season! (AKA: the blind lamb blues.)

By far this has been the most dramatic lambing season I've had yet. Thank goodness it was my 4th year because if it had been my 1st, I think I might have decided I'd never do it again. I'm still on the fence about breeding again next year, but then again I'm still "in the weeds" in dealing with a problem baby.

We first started off with an expereinced mother that had to have her twins pulled by the vet. Thank goodness everyone is doing fine now. My checkbook is a little lighter, but crisis #1 averted.

Crisis #2 is a lot more of a challenge. It appears this year I have had a blind lamb. The night she was born I went from euphoric to devastated within 5 minutes. She came out normally and I couldn't believe all the flash she had! I was so excited because it was what I wanted to breed for all along.

Then as I helped mom clean her off she started to scream. Not the cries you usually hear from a newborn as they try to get to their feet and find mom. This was different. I quickly realized she was in trouble. She wasn't able to find mom and was very weak. To make a long story less long, she was hypothermic right from the start. We warmed her with a heat lamp and sweater. The vet came the next day to give her a BoSe and B-complex shot.  He said her eyes looked fine, but I told him she seemed to be blind. Once she got warm she was able to feed herself. Since then she has gained weight and strength.  She is figuring out how to step up and down off uneven surfaces and is interacting with another new mother and her twins in the evenings.

She is almost two weeks old now and has finally learned to follow her mother by the sound of the bell we put around her neck. We haven't let this little family back in with the flock or out of the nursery pen because all our fence is electric. If she can't see it, she certainly could get caught. I've been saying a little prayer that her blindness has been caused by a thiamine deficiency and have been supplementing her with a b-complex shot every day. So far I haven't seen any changes in her vision. She seems normal and healthy in every way except for her eyesight.

There has been very little that I can find for advice on the internet in dealing with a blind sheep. Has anyone else ever dealt with one?