Monday, September 23, 2013

Heimdall, Mist, Skogul and Skeggold

We had 4 lambs born this weekend. I'll start with the newest, born on Sunday. Betty spent most of the day in labor, but eventually we heard the sound of brand new lambs. Betty is the daughter of Laverne, and she's a good mama, but she wanted to be left alone during labor. She's let me pet her since.  With her are her ewe and ram lambs. Facing us is Mist, her ewe lamb. Not facing us is Heimdall, her ram lamb. These two are already jumping about and acting like healthy little lambs. Their mama is attentive and wonderful.
This brings us to Saturday's lambs. Trouble gave us 2 ewe lambs, Skogul and Skeggold. Both Valkyrie names. Trouble's 2 lambs were born with birth defects, the first time we've had this. The rest of this post might be informative to you, it might trigger sadness or other not happy emotions, so scroll down if you'd like. Move on, if you want happy news.
This is Skogul, Larry and Squeazy call her "Spaz".  Skogul might have a condition called "wry neck" or possibly a deviated spine. She can walk, we try to get her to nurse, but her mama has since rejected her. She can't control her head very well, and shakes it about, looking a lot like Stevie Wonder in the middle of a song he really enjoys singing. She has a hard time controlling where she walks, because she can't see, as her head is sometimes off to the side, sometimes bent backwards against her spine. She can drink from a bottle, and has gotten some milk straight from mama, but mama has turned her back on her, so she's ours to feed now.

Skeggold seems to have a partially cleft palate, as well as some spinal issues. Her spinal issues are not as severe as her sisters, and she has a better time with walking and trying to nurse. However, she does have some muscle control issues with her head, coupled with a lack of an upper lip - she struggles to latch on to mama. If we hold her still, we can make it happen, but she can drink from a bottle. Both lambs require their heads to be held during nursing to keep the nipple in their mouth. They are hungry, they are fighters. If their spines or neck muscles can get under control, we think they will be fine. Skeggold does have an upper palate, so it is likely she will be able to pull grass when she is older. If she can't feed herself, her future looks grim. We are considering the long term health of these lambs, for now, we are hoping that time and strength from feedings will help them gain control of their muscles, and hopefully bring a bright future for them. We don't want to discuss the other option, but we know we will exercise it if it's the best for the animal.