Monday, August 22, 2011

The Story of Momma Sheep (Tamaru) and Mary Lamb

Our neighbor down the road raises barbado sheep as well as other livestock.  They contacted us February 14, 2011 and asked if we could help bottle feed a lamb who's momma was down.  She had been down since the day before the birth.  There had been twins born however only one lived.  We were happy to be able to help.

We first started caring for them on the 15th of February.  Mary was 2 days old.  At first Harriet bottle fed Mary while I tried to help the momma.  I was way out of my league so we switched.  I fed Mary while Harriet cared for Momma.  She is the one with the medical background.  Not me.  We believe that Momma was suffering from pregnancy toxemia along with possible selenium deficiency.  Everything we have read with our research says that once a sheep goes down they never come back.  They never met Momma "Tamaru".

We went to their house three times a day.  They only live a quarter of a mile away.  I would feed Mary and Harriet would give Momma food and water.  Momma had zero strength.  She laid there however she would accept food and water.  Harriet also gave her some stuff for nutrition.

Mary Lamb 2 Days Old
I made the little sweater from and sleeve I cut off of my sweatsuit.
She looks so cute in it.

She is stretching.  I love how her lip curls up.

Such a pretty face.


On the second day Momma was worst.  All bowel sounds had stopped.  Harriet worked Momma's stomachs to help add in digestion. 

We thought this was it.  She wasn't going to make it. This was also the first day that Mary curled up beside her Momma.  It broke my heart.

The next morning when we arrived to our surprise Momma was still alive.

Harriet continued to work with her and by February 18, 2011 with our help sitting Momma up and raise her head initially she was able to keep her head raised to eat from the container. This is the first day we didn't have to hand feed her as she was lying on her side. She was still weak and tired out quickly.

February 19, 2011 - The morning before we left town for the weekend.  Momma was able to raise her head on her own to eat. We still had to lift her into a sitting position. She is still only strong enough to eat for maybe a minute before she tires herself out.  Some other neighbors would be helping out in our absents.

February 22, 2011 - We return after being gone for the weekend.  Momma is to weak to sit up and eat so Harriet hand feds her grains and greens.

February 24, 2011 - We can now prop Momma up and she can eat once again on her own. I started picking tasty weeds from our yard and taking them to her. She loves her greens!

February 28, 2011 - Momma still has to be propped up in a sitting position but she can raise her head up really good now. Her strength is slowly returning.  If you look closely you will notice she is blind.  We thought it might remain permanent however she was able to regain her site.

March 6, 2011 - Momma can now lay up on her own without being proped up. She is enjoying looking outside for the first time in close to a month. We had to take her out of her stall to clean the urine off of her since she still can not stand on her own. It has  caused her hair to fall out.

She really enjoyed watching Mary and I play outside.

Mary following me.

With assistance Momma Sheep is finally able to walk out of the barn to the grass to eat and lay in the sun.  although as you will see she is a bit picky where she goes.  It is good to see the spunk.

She loved it when we would take her out of the enclosed barn so she could actually pull up her own weeds instead of just eating the ones I cut for her. I can't say I blame her.

Mary Lamb playing outside while her momma grazes.

March 18, 2011 - Momma is able to remain standing for a very short period without anyone holding her up. We still have to help her get into a standing position.

We had decided to work on helping her walk this week. When we took her out to eat greens we made her walk from time to time to exercise her muscles and to build strength. It seems to be working.

March 20, 2011 - Momma Ewe is now able to stand and eat on her own. This is the first day for her to do so.

We moved her up to our chicken coop the day before. I accidentally scared her when I was removing tin from the coop to allow better air circulation. It scared her so much she was able to get up on her own and go out to the run.

This morning I was greeted by her in the run when I went out to feed her and Mary. She not only got herself up but once again she walked out into the run and ate from her food pail while standing. She has been wanting to stand up and eat for a long time now.

We have since moved her and Mary into an enclosure I build in our back yard so she can mow down my weeds.  They are loving it.  They both can enjoy the fresh are, greens, and sunshine.


As you may notice in the pictures above we had to wrap Momma's leg.  When we were helping her walk we noticed that she was unable to use it.  We are not sure what caused the original injury however the joint would buckle under when we attempted to stand her up.  Afraid that it would cause more injury we wrapped it.  We noticed as we changed the bandage that the joint had become fixed after a short time an no longer needed the bandage.  After we moved Momma up to our house the leg fell off at the lower hock.  Momma did not seem to be in pain.  We did take her to the vet however since there was bone exposed and she would still use the leg.  Sometimes to assist in walking and she would hit the dogs with it.

May 25, 2011 - She has now had her whole leg amputated for her own health. The bone was exposed which in the long run was going to keep causing her problems since she would try using it. She is doing great and Mary lamb is growing well. Mary doesn't know she is a sheep. She thinks she is a Great Pyrenees.

Mary, Momma, pregnant Penelope, Opal

Momma and Mary have continued to flourish here.  They are some of the sweetest creatures that I have had the honor of caring for.  There energy is so trusting.  It takes great care to earn that trust but it is so worth it in the end.

The last video was taken just a few days ago.  For those who haven't yet seen it, here is it.

The are a blessing to have here with us.  We named Momma "Tamaru" which means miracle in Amharic.  Amharic is an African languange.  Barbado sheep's ancestors are actually from Africa.

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