- Preparation for Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival;
- A lamb who is just not putting on weight;
- A teenager who is pushing my buttons at every opportunity; and
- The rest of my life.
All on one big collision course.
We went out to tag lamb ears yesterday (yes, we are very lucky that we can still tell all the lambs apart) and I noticed that the littlest white triplet was looking really peaked and hunched over, which is not a good sign in a lamb. Remember those perky pictures from last week? Well, they don't apply anymore.
I had the older boys weigh her while my LSH and I put in the last of the eartags, and my suspicions were confirmed. She hadn't gained any weight in several days. She is nursing off her mom; she is getting around just fine; but she is lagging way, way behind her brother and sister in terms of growth. There is no obvious reason for it, but she presents the classic picture of a starving lamb.
I immediately went into the house to break out a bottle. Thanks to my lax housekeeping, an empty (but clean!) one was still sitting behind the kitchen sink. Of course I had just tossed out the remainder of the last batch of milk replacer, but I mixed up a fresh batch and headed back out.
The problem (I think) is that she seems to have a very poor suck reflex. Her tongue hangs out the side of her mouth, on the roof of her mouth, who the heck knows where, but not sucking on the nipple as it should. As hungry as she obviously is, she should have devoured that bottle, but it was all I could do to coax two ounces into her, plus some Sheep Nutridrench (kinda like sheepy go-juice, made of molasses and vitamins and other beneficial things). I wonder if she is having the same problem getting milk from her dam?
Tonight I gave the bottle another try, but soon gave up in frustration and broke out the drench syringe. I slowly shot three ounces of milk replacer into the side of her mouth and she swallowed it all down. She wasn't super happy with me, but tough luck. Sometimes you gotta get 'em ticked off just to do what's best for them.
As I was pushing the liquid nutrition down her throat bit by bit, I had ample time to reflect on all the parallels between taking care of her and taking care of my teenager right now. Too bad there's no drench for the sustenance he needs. If only the solution was that easy. Then again, it would help to know what the problem was in the first place.