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Special Needs Lamb

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Oh Number #283...

He was a little ram-lamb that came out of a very long and difficult labor, had wobbly legs, could walk a wee-bit, but not long enough to nurse from its mother. It had enough vigor to do okay with a bottle, but honestly we got enough other lambs to worry about and a few in the house at his time of birth. On our farm, and in our experience, lambs in this condition do not live past 3 weeks of age. But just because we cannot spend the time on him, does not mean others can't. So we put it on Facebook and in 1 hour we had 10 people who would definitely take him. He definitely went to a good home, but now I am a little lost for words on that lamb. He ended up dying at that woman's house.

I kind of feel shameful for saying this because we have seen this so many times before, and tried to do everything we could in the past to keep them alive, only to watch them suddenly die a few weeks later. The same thing happened to this lamb.

With all my sheep, once they are gone I never follow them, but my wife likes to and was updating me on the pictures and video. This woman was pretty assured in her abilities to recover sheep, and in some ways it was tough to watch because it made us seem inferior. But there is a huge difference in commercial sheep farming and pets, and this lamb had switched over. But when it died, it was kind of reassuring too; in that what we have done in the past was to the best of our abilities, and we were taking care of our livestock as best we could.

I am not saying I am glad the lamb died. I am not, I would have been thrilled if it had and we would give more special needs lambs away, but its death also shows that we can spot likely-to-die lambs and save ourselves from a lot of extra work and cost for nothing.

But this begs the question, do we continue to give away special-needs-lambs?

We have a policy here that we do not give problem sheep away. Period. Most of the time this means nasty rams and they are put down immediately. No taking out knees and backs of people...on our farm or others. But with lambs it is not so cut and dry. I do not want to give a problem lamb to someone with the expectation that it will die and pass grief onto another kind-hearted person. Yet just because this lamb resulted in death does not mean every lamb will result in the same. It could mean individual attention saves more lambs.

Tough decision...Rest in peace #283!

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