2012 Lambs

The Lambs of 2012

There were three lambs born this first year of lambing at Waving Pines Farm, to two different mothers. The sire of all three is Freyr.

 

1Z Tryna/ Freyr Ewe “Solfafill” aka “Solfi”: Registerable

Solfi at 69 days old, or almost 10 weeks.

Moorit solid spotted heterozygous polled ewe. Born April 14, 2012.

For a complete profile, click here.

 

 

2Z Tryna/ Freyr Ewe “Hyacinth” aka “Cinthi”: Registerable

Cinthi at almost 10 weeks old, taken June 22, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moorit solid spotted horned ewe. Born April 14, 2012.

For a complete profile, click here.

 

 

3Z Lilija/ Freyr Ram “Sam”: Registration Pending

Sam at 35 days (5 weeks) old, taken May 28, 2012.

Black solid horned ram. Carries moorit and spotting. Born April 23, 2012.

For a complete profile, click here.

 

 

Thus concludes the list of this year’s lambs. Stay tuned for updates as they grow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Posts

The Odyssey of Misha and her Broken Leg

Misha out on pasture not too long before her ordeal would begin. 11.14.2012.

It was a lovely fall morning, not unlike any other. The air was cool and crisp as I approached the East Pasture, current home of Freyr the wether and the five ewe lambs. The adult ewes had already left for the grove pen for their rendezvous with Ferdinand the ram. As usual, Freyr and the girls came running full speed to receive their morning hay. It was like a race, with the prize being first dibs at the best blades of newly laid hay. So it came as a surprise to notice one fuzzy head missing: Misha.

Here they come! Wait a sec, there’s one missing… what’s she doing all the way back there? 11.29.2012.

I surveyed the pasture for my missing moorit sheep. Ah, there she was! She was on her way. Maybe she had been snoozing, and didn’t get up as fast as the others. Soon she would be upon the hay too.

Except that she wasn’t. In fact, she was barely moving. I could see her trying to come, but with great effort as she struggled along on three legs. Now I was worried. I tore off running to see why she was limping so badly. Had she sprained something? Knocked her leg- oh. Oh my… I stared in shock at the sight of her lower right hind leg flopping to and fro like the pendulum of a clock.

My adrenaline was pumping now. No, not this. What do I do? I carried her back to the gate and tied her to a fence so I could think. The break was bad, I could see that. This was no simple little cracked bone. There were bone splinters poking through a gaping wound about halfway up her cannon bone. What did she do?!

If you want to see what I saw that day, click here, or scroll to the way bottom of the page, well past the end of my story. If not, when the story ends, do not continue your journey down the page. It is quite graphic.

What followed next was a series of calls on my cell phone; first my husband, then every vet I could think of in the area. All around I got the same answer; put her down. No one even wanted to look at her. But I couldn’t give up on her just like that; it was just a broken leg!

Except that it wasn’t just a broken leg. It was a compound fracture, with exposed bone. The risk of infection is extremely high on such an injury. And as I would later find out from both books on the subject and the internet, the prevailing advice is to put a sheep down with such an injury.

But I had to try.

Misha enjoying some hay and a pumpkin with her stallmate, Cinthi. 12.01.2012.

I splinted the wound as best I could, first cleaning out all the debris and dousing it down with peroxide and antibiotic cream. Then I sealed it all with honey. Yes, honey. A little unconventional, but used with success by others in similar situations. This was all topped off with a round of strong antibiotics. As supportive care, I put together a daily drench containing various vitamins and minerals, plus some herbal tinctures that aid in bone healing. I sound calm as I talk about this now, but in all honesty, I was barely holding it together. I had never before faced such an injury on a living creature, and it horrified me. But I prayed for strength and pressed on, for what other choice was there?

I put her in a clean stall in the shed with Cinthi, a very quiet and gentle ewe lamb about her same age. Other than a few splint changes and her daily drench, there was nothing left to do by pray and wait to see if her leg would heal.

Day by day I tended that little sheep, and day by day she remained her spunky, strong-spirited self. You’d be amazed at how quickly she got around on three legs if she decided she didn’t want her drench that day! The days turned to weeks, and still Misha was alert, eating well, and showing no signs of fever and infection. It seemed like she was going to be okay!

Misha trying her best to heal while stalled in the shed. 12.21.2012.

I waited until the eight week mark to remove the splint for what I hoped would be the last time. What I saw dismayed me to tears; the bone had not healed. There was dead flesh around the wound, and I feared I was looking at a dead leg as well. There was still no foul smell, no fever, no signs of infection. How had this happened? Why hadn’t it healed?

My heart sank low as the old horror of facing that wound again set in, but this time facing it would do her no good. I was resigned at this point that I had tried and failed to save this little gal’s leg, and it was time to call it quits. As she stared at me, her strong spirit shining through those large eyes of hers, it made it seem all the more the shame to give up before she did. But I didn’t see that there was much choice.

All the same, something inside me wanted to try one more time to call those same vets that had before said there was nothing to be done. It’s hard to explain; I just had to. I wonder now if it wasn’t God’s nudging me, His quiet way of saying, wait. Misha was in no pain; A few more minutes would do her no harm.

The first vet was as expected; leg is dead, put her down. The second vet, the same. I asked about the possibility of amputation, but no, not on a back leg. The weight of that large rumen would quickly destroy the remaining good leg. Third vet office, same story. But wait, they told me, there was one more vet who wasn’t in at the moment, but knew sheep. Could she call you back? I agreed, then hung up the phone, not expecting this final call to be any different than the others. I went back to my husband, who had been watching Misha while I made the calls. I was about to tell him it was time to put her down, when my cell phone rang. It was the sheep vet, Tracy.

This phone call went very differently than the others. This vet was willing to take a look at Misha’s leg before putting her down. With little to lose, I agreed, and we were off to the vet for what I thought would be Misha’s final journey to her end. It tore the heart so to hear her crying out for Cinthi as we left, and Cinthi calling back. The two had become quite bonded. Cinthi was not at all happy with her replacement companion, Bianca, another ewe lamb. She wanted Misha, and none other. Poor girl.

Things did not go at all as expected as we handed Misha over to the vet, who promptly sedated the little fighter. As the vet examined the wound and removed the dead flesh, there was blood. The leg was still vital. Oh? The slightest spark of hope came into the room. And there was no infection. The injured flesh just hadn’t all died and fallen off yet, which is why it looked like it did. The leg tissue was healthy! The cleaning and antibiotics had worked to stave off infection! Thank God for that miracle.

Then an xray revealed why the bone had not healed; about an inch of it was crushed, pulverized so badly that there were a whole bunch of little dead shards of bones between the two ends of living bone. Tracy explained that the body could not heal around dead flesh or bone; that if those shards were removed, Misha stood a very good chance of healing. OH?? That was the first time I had heard any vet give her a chance. I thanked God even as my stomach churned at the sight of an inch of bone being removed from Misha’s leg. It seems that it was not yet her time.

If only I had found this vet when this all first happened!

Misha the day we got home from the vet, sporting her new splint, complete with a waterproof “Medipaw” to keep it clean and dry. 01.13.2013.

The vet gave us a new improved splint for Misha, and instructions for how to change it at home. She even gave us some sedative to help with the task, as Misha does not acquiesce easily to what she views as an assault on her poor leg. I watched carefully, locking away each step in my mind.

Suffice to say, it was a happy reunion of sheep when I got home.

The day came for the first splint change. To say the least, I was nervous. I had nearly broken down that last time, the time when I realized that the leg had not healed. I had no sedative then, and she had fought me fiercely. I couldn’t help but feel horror that day as I saw her leg flopping around, and imagined the pain that it must be causing her. My husband had helped me restrain her so I could resplint the wound, but I’d had nightmares for days.

As I stared at the splint on the prone sheep who lay sedated before me, images of the last time came back to mind. I wanted to scream, I wanted to run, but I would not, for it was necessary for me to do this for Misha to heal. I would not allow my weakness to control me, and worse, to cause harm to a living creature. So I prayed for courage, and indeed, courage I found. I followed each step in the changing of the splint; I kept my cool, and all went well. The relief that one feels when they have faced down fear and conquered is amazing; there are no words to describe it. Now I knew I could do it. I face fear, and won. After that day, each subsequent splint change was easier for me to do.

Misha after her first of the new splint changes that I performed, still in her happy place from the sedative. Look at that smile on her face! 01.23.2013.

As before, Misha never lost her spunk. She’d even spar with Cinthi for a place at the food trough! (Though all in play. Misha cannot bear being out of sight of Cinthi.)

Six weeks later Misha had a follow up visit with Dr. Tracy to see how her leg was doing. The news was excellent! The missing inch of bone had regrown; the gap was filled! Her cannon bone was once again in one piece, and the large wound was well closed and healed. The risk of infection was over, and Tracy said that in another six weeks, her leg should be strong enough to support her weight again. Barring some unforeseen accident, her leg would be fine.

Misha and Cinthi eating together, with little Bianca in the background. Bianca had been added to the recovery stall because of a minor limp, which healed well. She remains with these two because I see no reason to send her back out with the others. 02.02.2013.

Misha is still in her splint on the day that I write this; her final six weeks are not yet up.

The lessons that I learned through this trial have improved me as both a shepherd and a human being. But isn’t that generally how God works? Turns bad things that happen into good? I know I found the support of a wonderful group of shepherds on the ISBONA forum, who offered both advice and sympathy. I found a wonderful vet who I will go to for all my sheep needs from now on; it is wonderful knowing there is a vet out there who actually knows sheep! I have found courage, and proven to myself that with God at my side, I really do have the courage to face things that I don’t think I can. I have proven to myself there is more strength in me than I give myself credit for. Bad things happen in this world, but at least I know that good things can come of it.

Misha’s leg is well on the way to being mended. 03.04.2013.

For those curious as to how this could have happened, the best guess is that 200 pound Freyr accidentally stepped on her while she was laying down. The injury was a crushing one, not the clean break you’d expect if she caught her leg on something and snapped it. Freyr is one of the gentlest of sheep on the farm, but I suspect his horns block his peripheral vision just enough that he doesn’t always see where he steps. And being so heavy as he is, little 60 pound Misha’s leg did not stand a chance even from a misstep.

When at last Misha is splint free, I will conclude this story with photos of her using her leg again. I look forwards to being able to post that update.

-Becky
Original posting, 03.10.2013

And now, for those who wanted too see..

Picture of Misha’s wound below… warning! Very graphic!

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The bloody and broken mess that just the day before had been a functional hind leg. 11.29.2012

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