Any ideas on this lamb. UPDATE

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6 years 2 months ago - 6 years 1 month ago #538892 by muri
She was born November, her brother was not much bigger than her when born but grew normally, although we were already in full drought in November and December so grass was not great quality and the Nov born lambs are all smaller than would be expected.
I have had a similar sized lamb once and I thought the other was because she was the third triplet and mum did nt really give her her due but I am not sure this is the case with this ewe.
She spends a lot of time with her back legs stretched out when she is just standing
She also grazes with her tail sticking straight out, most sheep with tails, they just hang down when grazing or relaxing - see last photo.
Got her in yesterday and drenched her, not because I thought she indicated she needed it but because she could be health compromised.
Estimated weight around 15kg, no more.
Very lively, eating grass etc
Just seems something not right, any ideas?
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Last edit: 6 years 1 month ago by muri.

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6 years 2 months ago #538894 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Any ideas on this lamb.
There's something nastily wrong in her innards! She has a twist or an adhesion or something causing a partial blockage in some part of her gut, so she's not able to eat or process as much as she needs for growth and health and she holds her tail out because it's always bothering her.

When you kill her, have a good look through her insides and see if you can find it. It should be reasonably obvious.

Disclaimer: I am not a vet, I do not know if any of this is true, nor with certainty that it could be.

But I'd put money on it!
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6 years 2 months ago #538906 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Any ideas on this lamb.
Its probably a good analysis Ruth and not too dissimilar from what a vet said when I sent photos to her too. She thought liver damage, gut or urinary. I could blood test her for liver damage.

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6 years 2 months ago #538907 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Any ideas on this lamb.
Why don't you just put her out of her obvious misery? It's not something that will get better - unless, if she's really special to you for some reason, you opt for a surgical investigation and potential correction. Keeping her like that is not a good welfare outcome.

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6 years 2 months ago #538911 by Mudlerk
Replied by Mudlerk on topic Any ideas on this lamb.
I agree with Ruth...is this a $2,000 lamb? In any case, you should do something quickly...she's obviously in a lot of pain.

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6 years 2 months ago #538914 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Any ideas on this lamb.
Muri, when you say she is lively, does she do the odd skip and dance, move easily with the rest of the mob, is happy to sit down and stand up and generally do the things you would expect to see in a lamb of her age?

Cheers,
Ronnie

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6 years 2 months ago #538920 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Any ideas on this lamb.
The lamb is lively, eating normally, playing with the other young lambs, at the head of the flock and it took two of us to hold her down to do her feet on saturday.
I have actually detected an improvement, and have been giving her something to see if it helps.
Will keep you posted if the perceived change is an actual change

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6 years 2 months ago #538945 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Any ideas on this lamb.
What I see here is a lamb standing oddly and it's tail at an odd angle. I have nothing to measure her size against but while she isn't going to make prime lamb, she is well covered. I don't see any ribs, hips, shoulder blades or chest bones poking out. She is eating and appears to be doing all the things one would expect a lamb to be doing. I don't see a lamb in obvious pain or misery. If she was that bad she would be hiding in the reeds, fly struck, sick and waiting to die.

Yes Muri, I will be interested to know how she goes.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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6 years 2 months ago - 6 years 2 months ago #538946 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Any ideas on this lamb.
Thanks Ronnie, for your positive response and I have to agree with you as her demeanour has definitely not been that of a sick or stressed sheep
This is matched with a vast improvement, tail hanging normally now, I havent seen that stance again, but havent been able to observe so well in this weather
Last edit: 6 years 2 months ago by muri.

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6 years 2 months ago #538949 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Any ideas on this lamb.
Ruminants mask pain. For a sheep to be demonstrating as much visible abnormality in behaviour is very concerning. Your vet has told you that it is likely there is internal illness. Talk to your vet about what you ought to do for this animal's welfare.

Did you just want us all to agree with you, as Ronnie has done? I firmly restate that I do not.

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6 years 2 months ago #538952 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Any ideas on this lamb.
I agree with Ruth here in view of what happened to my 3 month old calf. He fed, he ate grass, he was growing, although not as well as he should have been, but he spent a lot of time sleeping, and I never saw him frolicking or running about as other calves do. Nothing I could really put my finger on. Leading up to his final weeks, he got scours on and off, and when he went down, it was in a spectacular way and we couldn't save him. I think he had an internal problem that became an infection.
Work with your vet on this one.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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6 years 2 months ago #538954 by Bibby
Replied by Bibby on topic Any ideas on this lamb.
If it was me I would wait and see, and give her a chance.

While sheep are good at masking pain, a generally happy and active lamb is still quite a step up from one that is clearly miserable and not thriving at all.

If you put her down now you won't ever know whether she would have come right, gone downhill, or stayed the same.

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6 years 2 months ago - 6 years 2 months ago #538956 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Any ideas on this lamb.

Bibby wrote: ...
If you put her down now you won't ever know whether she would have come right, gone downhill, or stayed the same.

Well you would if you did a pm to see what on earth was going on - and if you're so determined that she's an important sheep, you pay your vet to do it so they can more expertly see and say what isn't right. You'd have an answer (most probably) and you'd have acted responsibly for the animal.

This is one of those cases, I believe, of what the North Americans call "barn blindness", i.e. you look at your own animals all the time so they become the norm and you fail to see how they really look in comparison to a normal, healthy specimen. We all do it. I've done it. A farming friend came round one day a few years ago and said, regarding an abnormal heifer, "I'd have put her down by now". That was embarassing and we did the deed the following day. I'd got used to what I was seeing, excused it any number of ways in my own mind, mostly along the lines of "you won't ever know whether she would have come right, gone downhill, or stayed the same" and kept her going for longer than was reasonable. Over time I've got a bit better at making that call. Not always though. It's just easier to see with someone else's animals, that aren't outside my window every day and in which I have no emotional investment.

Sometimes we need someone else to point out what we may no longer be able to see because of our own best intentions and wishes that things were otherwise.
Last edit: 6 years 2 months ago by Ruth.
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6 years 2 months ago - 6 years 2 months ago #538960 by Kilmoon
Replied by Kilmoon on topic Any ideas on this lamb.
I agree with Ruth and Stikkibeak for the reasons they've both mentioned.

Plus, I ask myself will I breed from this animal? If I can't say 'yes' immediately and with 100% certainty, if there is any hesitation at all on any issue from hoofs, teeth, confirmation, size etc then I cull.

You breed best to best, aiming for a damned good outcome every time. Anything else is just dicking around because of your emotions getting in the way. By having such a 'harsh' attitude I no longer have:
- daggy sheep, no matter how lush the grass. Imagine that, no shitty rear ends to constantly clean up (plus very little need to drench for worms). No risk of fly strike from shitty rear ends either.
- I don't really have hooves to trim (well, no more than the normal trim each year for normal growth) because of wet winters/summers causing scald, footrot, or shelly hoof.
- I don't have to pull lambs out apart from the odd first timer doing the 'up and down' lark and turning in circles looking for a lamb still hanging from the rear end because it's all so new to them. I also can go up to each and every ewe whilst lambing to check all is good and make sure the lamb is up and feeding - no panicking because a human is near. Which also means a nicely quite flock at other times of the year.....if they start to startle then I know the neighbours bloody dogs have been over (again) and it's time to wander our paddocks with gun (or rope) in hand.

Basically, if you're not willing to spend the $$ to get the vet to give a serious opinion then put the animal out of it's misery, dog tucker or the freezer for yourself, but do as Ruth suggests and take a good look at its organs to see what might be the issue. It could be a genetic fault from that ram-ewe pairing. Also, why waste feed on an animal that is not going to perform? Nature is harsh, and by running animals in a closed system like we all do we have to be just as harsh in culling the weak ones out to keep the overall population strong.
Last edit: 6 years 2 months ago by Kilmoon.
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6 years 2 months ago #538961 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Any ideas on this lamb.

Kilmoon wrote: ...Plus, I ask myself will I breed from this animal? If I can't say 'yes' immediately and with 100% certainty, if there is any hesitation at all on any issue from hoofs, teeth, confirmation, size etc then I cull. ...

That is something I have come to after too long keeping the favourites because I liked their mothers. Now, in some cases, I've reached the point of culling any animal from which I will not keep a daughter as a replacement. If they're not good enough to produce an equal or better next generation, why are they in my herd?

Disclaimer on this one too: I'm not quite as good at this as that sounds. I still have a few to which I've not applied those strict criteria and will continue to have more as long as I don't apply them. We get over our stupidity at different rates. ;-)

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