Thursday, January 19, 2012

White Lambs = Bad Luck

We got home rather late; there was an accident on the way home.  It was nearly dark when we drove up the driveway.  My husband greeted me at the garage with the news that the ram lamb was down and could I come see. 

I still haven't named this one.  He is attractive with the Barbados markings and a white coat.  He was down and in an awkward pose in the sheep pen.  He looked like a bundle of clothes thrown on the ground in a heap.  He kind of flailed away from me, all legs in a different direction. 

Unfortunately, I am still a novice shepherd, so the next step was to run to the Raising Sheep the Modern Way, the internet, and email (thanks, yet again, Deb).  Looking over my shoulder, my son remarked, "There sure are a lot of things that can go wrong with lambs, aren't there?"  So I have a list of possible culprits: selenium deficiency (in spite of free choice minerals, the county extension, and a vet telling me no selenium deficiency in volcanic soil), tetanus (in spite of me giving him an injection when I castrated him), lamb polio, meningitis, an injury (maybe Elvis stepped on him?), and worm overload. 

To cover a few bases, I gave him a dose of ivermectin to cover the possibility of meningitis from a snail and worm overload, a dose of electrolytes and children's vitamin to cover thiamine/B vitamin deficiency, a shot of anti-toxoid to cover possible tetanus issue, and a shot of penicillin, just because.  Basically, I threw everything I had at the little guy. 

This morning, his neck and front legs were under better control, but his back leg muscles are still flaccid - there is no tone to them at all.  He can kind of get up on one of them and scramble along, which is an improvement.  I called a few vets - no one really treats sheep and no one really has BoSe, so I am going to try a cattle version available at the feed store. 

It seems that our white lambs are under a cloud of bad luck - last year, we lost all our white lambs to predation, a uterine torsion, or smothering by other sheep.  It's too bad, because they are so much more attractive than our more usual black lambs with the white patches on their heads.  This is how superstitions are born, I suspect.  It's getting to the point where instead of greeting a pretty white lamb with appreciation, I feel a frisson of unease. 

On a happier note, I just talked through a gardening project with a math teacher.  Part of the māla space in the back is opening up.  We'll keep up with the taro planting, but we're also going to do a vegetable garden.  We laid out our learning goals, skills, and products and we're both excited!  I still feel that urge, even in my novice stage, to spread the message about personal food production.  I love to check in with my dad and to hear about his "inundation" with vegetables from his lanai garden.

Good news is the better than coffee to pick me up at the end of the day.  

1 comment:

Chai Chai said...

I have the same thoughts as your son...I use the cattle version of the BoSe as well. On the bottle I bought for cattle it has a warning; "Do not use on pregnant ewes".