Monday, April 23, 2012

Blue Monday

The old saying is "So goes Monday, so goes the week".   I certainly hope that isn't going to be the case here.  For one thing, we were smacked with a late spring snow storm.  I'm not a fan of cold weather in the first place and getting this after such nice weather - and when we should be thinking about turning the flock onto pasture - is doubly hard to take.  The sheep didn't seem too thrilled either, although Pickles was willing to do reconnaisance.

Don't bother coming out, guys.  It's totally not worth it.

More depressing than wet snow, however, was the loss of a lamb.  She presented with colicky symptoms on Thursday - mildly bloated, some fever, depressed and painful with gut cramps.  This is not that unusual for young ruminants.  It takes a while for their stomachs to switch over to being real ruminants and transient belly aches caused by a gas bubble usually resolve in a few hours.  Still, since she had a small fever we treated with penicillin, banamine (essentially injectable aspirin) and a booster shot of BoSe as she was just 5 weeks old and due for it anyway.  She had a little pasty stool but not the copious diarrhea that you'd expect from a viral or bacterial intestinal problem.  Saturday she seemed improved - no longer puffy, moving around more with the other lambs and looking much less depressed.  Sunday AM she was flat out, very depressed and somewhat bloated again.  Crap.  We repeated the penicillin and banamine and added an oral drench of water, vegetable oil and baking soda to try to relieve the bloat to help her feel better, and also drenched her with just plain warm water to stave off dehydration.  Unfortunately, this morning she was deceased.  A necropsy at the vet's showed that she had suffered a twisted gut, like a horse.  Nothing we did caused it, nothing we did would help it, and surgery probably wouldn't have been helpful either as the involved section of gut had died and made her toxic.  Sadly, she was doomed from the get-go.  We were sorry that she had to go through that, and sorry also for her mother as this was her only lamb.  We did have them penned together since Saturday morning, so they were together when the lamb died.  The ewe seems to have grasped that her lamb is more than just missing, as she was a very diligent mother but hasn't spent a lot of time looking for her lamb, just standing and calling once in a while.

But life marches on.  In the afternoon we set up the creep gate so the lambs could have access to nice hay and a bit of grain without the ewes horning in.  They were more than ready to have their own space and at one point over 70 had come in of their own accord and were nibbling and milling around and enjoying not being crowded by the big ewes.  The moms pressed up to the gate, partly cross that the lambs were ignoring their calls, but also annoyed that they couldn't get in at the choice eats we had set out for them.

Crap.  The good stuff is right. over. there.

Really?  A fort just for us with no grown ups?  Where?

So hopefully tomorrow will be a better day and spring will come back soon.