Sunday, March 30, 2014

One Week In

Lambing started last Sunday evening and here it is Saturday night already.  Wow, that week was a blur.  Lamb count currently stands at 35 from 18 ewes.  Two pairs of twins this morning, a single and a set of triplets in the afternoon and another pair of twins at chore time.

Brand spanking new twins from Ginny
"Mom, what are they doing out there?"

Chloe was keeping us all company
Fiesta's triplets love to sleep in a pile.
Bacardi had a pair of twins
Good old Gem had a great big 17 lb single ram lamb.   She loooooves her baby.
This lamb has a bit of a problem which I hope I can correct - contracted tendons in the ankles of his front legs.  I've seen this before although very infrequently and it's been in big ram lambs.  Maybe it's due to not having enough room in there to stretch out more.  Anyway, he can't plant his feet sole-down as he should.  This is as extended as his hooves will go - not even a straight line down from his cannon bone. 

The result is that he walks on the front of his ankles, not his hoof.  It would certainly spell doom before long if this were a National Geographic special.

It doesn't seem painful at this point and hasn't stopped him from nursing but he wouldn't be able to function like that for long.  He's a lovely big lamb with black and white marbling in his fleece so I hope to be able to fix him.

So, we'll attempt to splint his ankles with support behind his fetlocks so that his ankles can't fold.  His weight on the joints as he gets around should stretch those tendons gently with every step.  I'll change the apparatus every day as (hopefully) progress is made and the soles start to impact the ground.  The good part about being this young and flexible is that there's hope the condition can be corrected.

Each brace is a thin piece of wood about the thickness and width of a ruler.  These are 5 inches long - cut to fit the back of his front legs so that he can bend his knees without interference but the ankle is kept from folding.  It's well padded with a heavy duty paper towel folded around it and a roll of paper to fit the notch behind his ankle.  Super low cost, but functional.

With the brace taped in place his toes will just touch the ground when he stands, thereby putting a bit of weight on the joint to stretch it in the direction it's supposed to go.

They look clunky but they are light weight and easily replaced if they get wet and dirty.  Not too likely as he'll be penned with mom till improvement happens, but they'll need adjustment every day anyway.  I would have preferred to use vet wrap to secure them but I didn't have any close at hand. 

He has to hold his front legs forward which is awkward, but the ankles are staying un-flexed.  He's penned where nobody can hurt or harass him the next few days while gravity helps him do his PT.

The oldest lambs have started going into mixing pens.  They start playing and hopping around instantly when given more room.  These little ones were trying to climb on this ewe but kept sliding off.

I sure wish I could harness that energy!


  1. What a delightful time lambing is although I know such hard work.
    I do hope your little ram does well with his PT, great job with his PT splint !

  2. Congrats on a good lambing year :)
    We started spring lambing last night.

  3. I so admire your attitude towards your sheep, Although they're your business and income, you treat them SO well and care for something like that little lamb ram with gammy ankles. I believe your ministrations help many a lamb whereas in Africa it would be left to limp along and eventually die. I saw your lambing posts but our Internet was so slow. Off to scroll down now and read them properly. Have a blessed day. Greetings, Jo

  4. Such sweet little ones. I sure hope you can save that leg! I am confident you can do it, and you take such good care. Thanks for sharing, the internet is the only way for me to get my "woolie" fix :)

  5. Do you have issues with Selenium? I have had goats that were not overly large but would walk on the top of their ankles, Gave them BoSe (I think it was LoSe for lambs) worked within a few days, haven't had any problems like that since I moved here.

    1. We are selenium deficient here. The ewes always have free choice mineral mix containing Se and the lambs receive a shot of BoSe within 24 hours of being born and another shot around 30 days. That seems to tide them over until they can consume enough mineral mix to do themselves some good.

  6. I'm so glad I found this blog. I'm a new sheep keeper and just had a lamb born with contracted tendons - your explanation on the splint is perfect! Will have to try tomorrow morning, ram lamb is drinking from a bottle fine (triplet), but just can't stand up and walk properly. Thanks for the tip!

    1. I'm glad this might help! Fixing this problem is very satisfying. I hope it goes well for you!