Friday, April 15, 2011
On March 28th I had another set of twin Shetland born. I arrived home early afternoon to find my lighter shetland ewe (sorry, not sure her 'real' color, and she has no name) had given birth to a set of ram lamb twins. Both where dry and appeared healthy. But first looks can be wrong. On closer inspection one of the little lambs was not getting up to nurse. I caught mom up and put her in a pen with her ram twins and still the one was not getting around. I held him up to the ewes udder and he quickly nursed for a small amount of time and then he became almost limp and his head went back and his eyes kind of rolled back in his head. I was devastated, what was wrong with the little guy! By this time my vets had gone home for the evening so I turned to several of my yahoo groups I watch. Boy, did I get LOTS of responses. Most where to the tune of giving up on him and putting him down. But some where very encouraging, like Connie, thank you so much Connie!!
I felt terrible! I went to check on them and he was struggling so hard to get to his feet and nurse, but the ewe would not stand still long enough for him to get in the right spot. He was just taking way too long, he was basically crawling on his belly trying to find the teat.
I began to warm up some colostrum that I had frozen and brought him inside to really check him out good. I could not see anything wrong with his back legs at all, other than he just had no strenght in them. I thought he would not make it, but once the colostrum was warm I offered him the bottle and he took it immediately and sucked it dry.
After several hours of monitoring him inside I took him back to his mother to see what he would do. He quickly latched onto the teat and got a big drink then he did the same thing as before, he went limp, rolled his head back and rolled his eyes. I watched for about 10 minutes and he seemed to come out of it and act 'normal' other than not standing. When he did try to stand his hock joints would just buckle and he would be back on his belly again.
I left him with his mother for the night. His belly was very full and she was being a good mom to him. But by morning his belly was empty and he was still struggling to get to his feet. I took him inside and made him a bottle of formula ( I was out of colostrum and the ewe would not let me nurse her). I decided to take him to work with me and take him to the vets in the morning.
The vets found nothing wrong with his legs and put hobbles made of tape on his back legs to help him out with standing. WOW!! What a big help that was!! He could stand on his own! And even walk a little. But as far as the head and eye thing the vets had no clue and said "Don't bet the farm on him". So I left encouraged, but discouraged at the same time.
During the rest of the day he really worked on moving around on his hobbled back legs. He was getting around pretty good and taking the bottle every few hours with no problems. So when I got home that evening I thought I would try and reunite mom and baby. Momma was great, called to him, licked him, and let him nurse, but once again he had a little 'episode' with his head and eyes. So I started to think maybe he was having some kind of reaction to her milk even though the other twin was doing great. So he became a bottle lamb at that point.
Several days went by and he seemed to progressing good, nursing good, walking good, even trying to kick up his heels. So I decide to take him for a little walk out with the other sheep and goats. He did good for about 3 minutes, then he started to crawl on his belly and then he did his head and eye thing again. I scooped him up and took him back into the house and into his tote.
The next evening he was in his tote in our bedroom with the dog gate across the door, and I heard him 'talking' in there and something sounded a little different. I went to check on him and he had jumped out of his tote and was walking around our bedroom! He had definitely built up some strength in those legs!! So I had to find a taller tote! And finally a dog kennel. So a week after he had the hobbles put on I took them off and he did great!!
Ok, are you tired of the story yet? I will try and wrap it up.
Things were touch and go. Some days I felt he was getting better and other days I really did not think he would make it. But, he started to stay in a pen out with the other sheep and goats. He could see them and they could come up to his pen and visit. He still had 'episodes', but not as often and not as pronounced.
Monday, I decided he needed to 'face his fears' and join the rest of the flock. I was going to be able to watch him closely for several hours so I gave it a try. He did pretty good. He knew to stay away from the 'big' ones and the 'little' ones seemed kinda of fun. He had several 'episodes', but they consisted of his back legs going weak for a while, but he recovered quickly and went to playing again.
I have still been taking him to work with me (he plays in a stall all day). But starting next week he will be with the flock 24/7. I will still bottle feed him, but I think he needs to be with his flock to learn 'sheepy' things.
So that is the tale of "Batman". I hope he makes a nice fiber wither.