We put Hornazona to sleep yesterday. Monday I was examining him and found large quantities of fly eggs and maggots. Sharon and I spent much of the evening trying to get these maggots off of him, but because of his wool, this was impossible.
He was unable to stand up in the morning, so I decided to take him to the vet. The closest hospital was the teaching hospital in Athens.
They gave a very poor prognosis. They found huge amounts of maggots where we hadn't seen any, which was between his legs. They also saw maggots coming out of his butt. He was anemic, and they said he needed a blood transfusion. They said the cost of treatment would be for several weeks and would run upwards of $3000, and they could not guarantee he would make it.
When I said goodbye to him, they had him on his side on an exam table. He was conscious, but barely. I touched his horns, which were cracked and dull.
I remember his friendly spirit. ON the full moon, I hung out in the sheep pen area in a hammock. He seemed very happy to have me nearby. HE brought a lot of joy to many people in the short amount of time he was with us.
But lesson learned, he was too little and fragile for us to take on. Sharon was right, he was too young to be separated from his mother and family. His adopted family wanted nothing to do with him and bullied him, which was dangerous given how much smaller he was compared to his "big sisters".
I try to make sense of his suffering and I cannot. Only, I can try to learn from my mistakes and do better.
I believe we have finally turned the corner with Hornazona, I pray. He joined our farm last week, but hasn't been doing well. The other sheep are much bigger than him and would knock him down. He would get pretty intimidated. He's been losing weight and not eating that much.
It turns out that his drive to eat was linked to social eating behavior. At first I had tried to "pen" Melody and Hornazona together, because the breeder we purchased him from said that might help him bond. But Melody never really calmed down, and kept bleating day and night, which was annoying enough to me. I heard a neighbor yesterday "baaa-ing" back to Melody.
So I let them out, thinking that Melody would still be separated from the rest of the flock, who were by the new pen / fort, but close enough. But they broke through the electric fencing, and eventually I let Marly join the rest.
I made a creep feeder. This turned out to be crucial.
So, Hornazona hardly seemed interested in eating, until Charlie and Marly started chowing down. Then he eagerly attacked the food I brought him. Also, maybe it was realizing he needed something more tasty. I had bought some cracked corn, and I mixed that with the sweet feed.
The video above shows why it is important to have a separate space for this lamb. The bigger kids push and shove at the feed trough. This behavior intimidates Hornazona. But he has his own space on the other side of the creeper now, so he is good!
This sheep is tiny! I wasn't expect it to be so small, but he was cute. In retrospect I paid way too much money for such a scrawny little thing, but whatever, lesson #1 in buying sheep.
He hasn't been eating well for a number of reason, and I am still working on it. I have concluded that I need to build a "creeper feeder gate" to partition an area in the pen where only the lamb can enter.
It seems that lambs are picky eaters, so he wasn't wanting to eat the food that he had peed in LOL! So putting it in a container up off the ground, he was more likely to eat, but the bigger lamb would knock him off. So he would get shoved aside and would be spooked.
A Virginia tech article I read described the importance of the lambs having access to "lamb food" that the ewes could not reach. This helps in the lambs weight gain.
I feed him some lettuce from our garden. He seemed to like that. His stomach did seem more full.
He was having a hard time getting up from the ground. Sometimes I would find him on his side, unable to get up.