Euthanised lamb

Last week I posted about a vet visit for a lamb that had swollen and bleeding leg.

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Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of matters. The lamb then lost the top layer of skin on it’s leg.

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I was advised to keep it clean and dry and to cover it with vaseline. Basically treat it like a burn. So for 4/5 days, I took the lamb in, cleaned the leg with a drop of iodine in water, dried it and covered it in vaseline. The leg, however, got progressively worse.

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By Sunday morning, I feared the leg was dead. It was black and cold below the knee. For some reason, blood was not circulating as it should.

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I phoned the on call vet and discussed matters. I didn’t want to shoot it, just in case there was something the vet could do, but I already knew the outcome. As it wasn’t an emergency, I told the vet to stop by if she got a call-out in Ness, which she did around 6.30pm.

The diagnosis didn’t take long.

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Whatever was affecting the front left leg had also spread to the other 3 legs. There was little option but to have it put down. This was a swift and painless injection. I’ve seen it done to numerous other animals, but never a lamb. Because they’re so small, it’s injected straight into the heart, meaning they die instantly, instead of the few seconds it takes for a larger animal.

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I think the worst thing about this experience was how lively the lamb was. If you didn’t see its legs, you would have thought it a strong and healthy lamb, as shown here.

Last fortnight of lambing

Saturday 26th April. I still have 2 sheep left to lamb. My first lamb was 32 days ago and I have been up at 5am for 29 of the last 33 days. I cannot wait for this to finish!

The last fortnight has seen mainly ups, but a few downs too.

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I had some difficulty delivering this monster lamb and was is such a rush to run and get the pickup, that I didn’t notice one of my chickens sleeping on top of the wheel. One live lamb but one dead chicken :/

I then had to get the vet out to help deliver this lamb. 2 of us had tried to deliver it, but no joy. I expected a dead lamb, by the time the vet arrived, but he managed to get it out alive. He said another 5 mins and it would have been a goner. The main problem here was that the sheep has a very narrow pelvis and the lamb was as big as she could have managed.

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I’ll have to consider her future, but they’re outside now anyway. The lamb has interesting markings

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This sheep lambed last Thursday (17th), meaning there were 4 left to lamb. Things went very quiet after that, with only one more lamb in the following 9 days!

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I had a set of twins waiting for me at 5am today, so down to the last 2. A set of twins and a single. I cannot wait to get it all finished!

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Late night lambing

As tends to happen, things got busy while I was away. I was playing for Ness last night, over in Point, and my father was keeping an eye on things. My brother Murdo was watching the game, and came up behind my goal with 10 mins left, saying I had to get home asap as there were problems. Not what I wanted to hear!

Anyway, I got home and two had lambed, one which needed some help. As she was a gimmer and had some difficulty, I decided to take her in for the night. It was quite straightforward getting her in.

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I was a little suspicious about another one, so went out to keep an eye on her. It was a beautiful, moonlit evening.

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One of the chickens keeps escaping from the hen house, I found her sleeping under the wheel arch of the 4×4

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By the time I reached the sheep again, the first twin had been born, and the second wasn’t far behind. A successful evening all round.

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Poor Bud

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Seeing as I was going to the vet, I took Bud along with me, as he was booked in for a vaccine booster this Friday anyway. I just chanced it and he got seen.

The vaccine went fine, as did his check up. The only thing I queried was whether or not he had both testicles. He’s only 2 and last time he was over, there was a chance that the 2nd one would still drop. A bit late now and I was advised that it was a cancer risk, as the other one was in his abdomen. So poor Bud went over for a chance visit & ended up with an appointment for the snip!

Vet visit

Well, what a day. I had loads planned. Was going to drench the sheep that have lambed, while catching up on castrating & docking lambs, and also clean out the hen house. What did I manage? None of that. First thing was go to the barn to let out the twins that had been in since Friday night. There was some difficulty lambing them, but they came out ok in the end.

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One of them was a little funny, so I was holding the sheep every so often, to make sure it got a feed.

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So off I went to let them out today, as they seemed fine last night. The lamb I’ve been helping was slow to it’s feet and I noticed fresh blood down it’s leg. Uh-oh. Looked like a cut around it’s knee.

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Off to the vet we went, for a look.

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Turns out it wasn’t a cut, but some kind of blunt force trauma, with lots of bruising under the skin, about an inch either side of the knee. Who knows what caused it. No infection, as temperature was normal.

The lamb was given an anti-inflammatory jag and is now back with mum. I’ll keep them in for a few more days.

Ducks & ducklings

A few weeks ago, I ordered some duck eggs online. 6 came, and I put some of my own in too. The eggs were due to hatch this week, which they did, with mixed results.

I was a little concerned with the eggs, bought off eBay, as the packaging was damaged in transit.

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Nevertheless, in they went, and four weeks later, out pops this wee one

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In the meantime, Innes and I had been busy getting things ready for the adult ducks. They’ve been roaming around for a while, but plans were afoot to get them penned up permanently. Firstly, we dug in the paddling pool for them.

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Then this week, I had Feisean nan Gaidheal’s Coig Latha group visit on Tuesday. They helped build the run for them, as well as learn lots about all the different animals.

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So the ducklings have now hatched

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And will be in the brooder for the next wee while, nice and cosy. 4 of them made it out alive, while a further 3 died during the hatching process. I’m not sure why the mortality rate was so high, but I fear a couple of power cuts in the latter days may have had something to do with it.

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Soon enough, they’ll be able to join the rest in the run – happy days!

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Lost Triplets

My start to lambing 2014 has been tough. I’ve been really busy this past week, so I haven’t been keeping the blog as up to date as I would have liked. I’ve been posting updates on the blog facebook page, but I prefer to keep the blog as a more permanent record of crofting activities.

Anyway, last Sunday was a tough one.

Around 6pm I noticed that one of my sheep due triplets was prolapsing. I phoned the vet and got her penned asap.

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The vet came, fixed the prolapse and then said that the sheep had started lambing. This was actually the first prolapse that I’ve seen and was surprised at how quickly it was resolved. The lambing itself was a slow process, as the sheep took a long time opening up. At this stage, we believed the lambing had caused the prolapse, maybe due to ring womb.

After about 2 hours work, the lambs were out. All 3 alive, and all 3 female. What a high!!

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I had fully expected them to be dead, but was over the moon that they were alive. I left them for a wee while and came back to make sure they were on their feet and had fed. They hadn’t.

I was getting more & more concerned about the black ones, as they were weaker and quieter. I took them into the kitchen, to make sure they were warm, dry and fed. It didn’t take long for one of them to die though.

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I took the two live triplets out to my parents house, where we made sure they were fed and left them under the heat lamp for the night.

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At this stage, the white one was looking strong. It was walking about and drinking from the bottle. The black one wasn’t as strong. By 9am, the white one had died, and the black one was gone shortly afterwards.

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Heartbreaking stuff. I’ve spoken to the vet since then and deduced that the prolapse sent her into early labour, meaning the lambs were born before their lungs has correctly formed. There was little I could do, which is a shame but also reassuring.

A week on from then, the ewe is still not back to normal. She’s a little flat and obviously in discomfort. I’ve given her penicillin during the week, but the vet gave me an anti-inflammatory and stronger antibiotic to give her. Hopefully that’ll do the trick.

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