Our First Dorper lamb

Woke up this morning to find our first little snowflake in the paddock, our first Dorper baby. Only problem is he has a broken front leg. Initially he was up and following his mum, but with very little weight bearing on that leg. Mum was hesitant to let him feed and kept walking away, but eventually we did see him the the right direction and little tail wagging so it appears that he has had some colustrum at least.

Of course it would be the first day in months that I was out photographing a horse event at Dardanup, although G was able to feel that the bone was broken between the knee and the elbow and thanks to the advice from fellow horsie people, he splinted the lambs leg with bandages and popsicle sticks which enabled the lamb to have another quick feed of colustrum from his mum.

It no wonder these dorpers have a reputation for being good mothers – his mum has not abandoned him, but also wasn’t standing still for him to latch on to feed so we bought him in and gave him a small bottle of lamb milk.  He had about 80ml which definitely perked him up and gave him some strength. After his bottle we took  him back outside and his mum came straight up to him, he also did a small poo – first for the day which was a good sign, but by evening we had to bring him back inside to keep him warm.

So…Sunday night on a long weekend, the question is how much should newborns be feeding from their mum to survive? He’s not baa-ing either, but is surprisingly strong and I know he has a better chance of survival with mum than on bottle milk. Closest vet is nearly 100km away, was about to make the trip after the second full bottle I gave him when he baaad really loudly and decided he was well enough to have a good wander around the room and say hi to everyone.

We re-did the splint, and have made him as comfortable as possible, but his exploring either wore him out completely or he has taken a big turn for the worse I keep telling everyone to *not* get attached as this little one may not make it, but you can guess how successful that is !  He is *so* cute and he has already been named Baa!

I doubt that he will survive the trip to the vets, so have spoken to a farmer friend who has hand raised dozens of orphan lambs and she is coming over to check him for me but with the location of the break, I think he will need to be pts.

For future reference:

Some of the tips we were given for splinting lamb legs included using carpet cut to size, vet wrap bandages, electrical tape and pvc pipe cut to shape.  If lambs are cold inside the mouth, they need to be brought in and bottle fed with Provilac Shepherd lamb milk. If lambs start to scour,  a little bit of powdered slippery elm in their milk helps to stop it.  Cow colustrum can also be used.  If the leg is broken between knee and elbow, the bandage needs to go above the elbow to below the knee (one joint above and one below is the rule of thumb). For a high break, bandage all the way to the foot as then the lower leg won’t/can’t swell.  Lambs grow quickly so the bandage will need to be changed every 5-6 days and it should be healed in 3-4 weeks.  A shot of antibiotics for lambs that don’t get much colustrum can be helpful.  Any change in milk needs to be done slowly – mix at half strength for the first 24 hours.

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