Thursday, April 14, 2011

Delilah is doing well

I'm thrilled to report that Delilah, our bottle lamb is getting better! The medicine is doing it's job and the scours are disappearing. Phew....I was really really worried.

Katielyn & Delilah on the couch in the living room...spoiled? Hardly.

I have come to realize that North Texas is not very sheep friendly when it comes to buying sheep supplies, if you want goat supplies, this is the place to be! Goat stuff everywhere. This past weekend, I went looking to buy electrolytes and get some more milk replacer for Delilah. I went to at least four maybe five farm feed stores looking for sheep electrolytes and her brand of milk replacer. At about the third store I was willing to buy any sheep specific milk replacer if I could find some, all I could find was calf and multi-purpose, and most of the multi-purpose had copper in them so they were out. I ended up making my own electrolytes, and bought a multi-purpose milk replacer that didn't have copper in it. I'm not thrilled about this, my lamb already has been battling scours, and changing brands on her is about the last thing I want to do but alas I have no choice. Ordering online will take too long and she needs milk replacer.

I've been thinking about getting some chickens and have been reading about them at Backyard Chickens . My first priority would be building a critter proof coop. My last two forays into chickens (once in Ontario, Canada and once here in Texas) both ended the same way. All my chickens fell victim raccoons. The raccoon here in Texas couldn't manage to get into the coop but he did manage to sucker the chickens into coming to the edges of the coop and there he beheaded them by yanking their heads off through the wire, he then pulled them through piece by piece. A nasty end to my chickens.

I'm actually thinking about hatching some chicken eggs. I remember doing (or should I say trying this, as a child. None of the eggs ever hatched but it was fun trying. It's no wonder when I think back on it, we really had no idea what we were doing, it would have been a miracle if ONE had actually hatched). I see on Backyard Chickens that people even ship eggs these days, that would save time (and gas) trying to find local eggs to hatch. At one of the feed stores that didn't have milk replacer I noticed a pile of Styrofoam boxes (the kind that vaccinations are shipped in to stay cool) piled up by the refrigerator. I inquired if I could take one and they said sure, so I picked one out and now have the first part on my materials list for an incubator.

So while I was in Tractor Supply looking for milk replacer, Katie and I were looking at all the little chicks. She thought they were all cute and wanted me to get some there and then. I explained that first we build the coop and then get chickens. At just that point a client of mine walked in and saw us looking at the chickens. "You want chickens she said, I can get you chickens, free". I cautiously asked "what kind of chickens" as we had already decided there were some chickens more suited to our climate than others. "Laying chickens" , she said. I replied "yes, but what kind of laying chickens", showing her the chart conveniently posted in the store. She said "I don't know, different colors and they lay". Well I thought, free is free, we could try a couple. So a call was place to her friend with the extra chickens and she's going to bring out some chickens next Saturday.

Great what happened to building the coop first? I'm a CPA with April 18th (tax deadline is three days later than usual this year) looming very closer and I'm getting chickens delivered to me on April 16th? What am I thinking?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Delilah has Scours

Delilah has settled in very well. She is enjoying her time with Katielyn, and I'm sure has no idea she is a lamb, but thinks she's human. She even talks "Maaaaaa" she hollers each morning when she wants her bottle.

Delilah before she started scouring (no sticky butt)

We're feeding her 8oz of milk replacer 3 times a day, 7, 2, 10 (or just before Katie goes to bed). She spends her nights in an animal cage on the porch to protect her from predators and her days with Brandy in a little pen made from chicken wire and electric fence posts beside our yard.

This weekend I noticed Delilah has scours -very runny and stinky poop. I tried cutting back her milk over the weekend, and supplementing with a homemade electrolyte solution (recipe below) but it hasn't helped. I then tried peptobismal (3 cc 3 times a day) and cutting out the milk replacer yesterday and only feeding the electrolyte solution, but it hasn't had any affect. She's still eating well, her temperature is 102 which is in the normal range of 102-103, and very alert but I know how quickly lambs can go downhill with scours - and I'm not losing this one.

Off to the vet we went this morning. The vet weighed Delilah, she's 5 pounds. He gave us some Tribussen (a sulpha based antibiotic) as well as panacur (wormer) to give her for 5 days. I asked if he thought we were overfeeding her. He responded that "overfeeding" is "overblamed" for scours in bottle lambs.

I'm hoping she responds well to this treatment-I'm hopeful because she certainly doesn't act like a sick lamb.

Here's the recipe for a homemade electrolyte solution (electrolytes are not expensive but if you find yourself needing some and are in a town like ours which doesn't have much in the way of sheep products, it may come in handy:

You can make in a pinch
1 quart water
2 ounces dextrose (corn syrup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Combine all ingredients

Electrolyte supplements help to restore electrolytes that may be lost by dehydration or used for the stress associated with moving, sorting, or vaccinations. It is best to feed electrolytes at least 30 minutes before or after feeding milk. Milk digestion is slowed when combined with oral electrolytes.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Well after settling Brandy and Brennan in to their new quarters, I came in and listened to my phone messages. One of them was as follows; "I saw your ad for a bottle lamb. How much are you willing to pay for one". To say the least, I was totally put off. The next message was from the fellow we had purchased Stella from wondering if we'd been able to find another (he was looking for one for us too, but hadn't found anything). I returned his call first, and told him about Brandy. He was glad we'd found Katie a lamb. I told him about the other message on my machine and he said "Yeah some people will just pull a lamb from an ewe for some one to bottle feed if they can get dollars for it".

My daughter wanted me to call the guy about the lamb. She likes Brandy but a weaned lamb is certainly not the responsibility of a bottle lamb. I decided to call and see what this fellow was all about, fully expecting the worst. I called and he told me he had an ewe who had triplets, who didn't have a lot of milk and that she wasn't a great mother to begin with so he was supplementing the feeding. Fair enough, "how much did he want for one?" He asked me if I wanted just one or a couple."No", I said "One's enough". "I got twenty-five for my last ones he said". Ok I thought, so he's not trying to get rich selling bottle lambs. "Do you have a ewe lamb", I asked. "Yes all three are ewes". "Are they hair sheep". "Yes, a mouflon cross". Ok, at this point I wanted pictures, which he went out and took. He sent a few they looked sort of cute but in a funny way so I asked for some head shots so we could pick one. And this is what we received:

Okay she's irresistible. It turns out the fellow had a friend visiting him right then who lived just 5 minutes away from us so we agreed to take a lamb and we would pick her up at the friend's house. They'd text us when she was leaving. Katie asked a million times "has she left yet". Finally she left and was on her way. We met the friend Tina at her house a little while later and the lamb is darling-even more friendly than Stella, definitely what we need to heal the hurt.

So that ends our day, with three wonderful new additions to our little farm.

Welcome Brandy & Brennan

I can't believe how empty a heart can be over the loss of one of Gods creatures. We had our little bottle lamb less than a week and wow she really made her mark on us.

My daughter, Katielyn who doesn't spend much time outside was spending a lot of time playing with and taking care of her lamb. I decided we should have another-she really rose to the occasion caring for the little lamb so well. It's the end of March with lambs being born everywhere surely there is another bottle ewe in need of a home?

I've been scanning Craigslist the last few days and even wrote to some breeders to see if they had any young bottle lambs. It seems all of a sudden they are scarce. Great. I even posted a "wanted bottle baby" ad. I've had a couple of responses but they're not hair lambs and I really want to stick with hair sheep.

I did find one fellow who has a herd of painted desert sheep and he has a bottle lamb that is weaned. My daughter would really like one to bottle feed but perhaps this one will fill the void for now? He says "she follows you around like a dog and is the size of a large cat" -sounds perfect to me.

So after skating lesson today, Katie and I went to see the lamb. I had got directions by phone not by my usual method to google the address. Our first direction was to take the tollway until we got to TX190...Katie's skating arena is right off the Dallas tollway so we headed down it and down it...until it ran out. Oh oh. I know I didn't see a sign for TX190. So we dragged out a little map we had, still no TX190, but we could see the town of Wylie on it and set out again to get there (it turns out TX190 is George Bush Tollway-I despise when they change names of roads!)
When we got to Wylie I realized we came a different way then my written directions directed us so I was all turned around. Wylie's not that big so surely I could find the right road? I got to where I thought I should be but our turn was nowhere to be found. Finally I decided I must be at the right road but had no idea if I should turn left or right. I opted for left-it was wrong. I then turned right -but still couldn't find the right road. So back to the corner we went. I phoned the sheep owner and told him where we turns out we just needed to turn right (which we had done once already but the road wasn't posted the same as he had said). This road turned from Stone to whatever we were looking hour trip turned into a good 2 hours. Ah well we were almost there.

Eric greeted us and fetched "Brandy". I saw Katies face fall-Brandy is a plain white lamb, which really isn't a color she is fond of. But then she saw Brandy's character,the little lamb followed us around everywhere as we looked at the other sheep and insisted on being center of all attention. She was growing on Katielyn. Eric has a nice herd of painted desert sheep so we decided to see if he had a ram suitable for our growing flock. We picked out one and caught him with much less ruckus than our previous sheep buying venture. He's so handsome. He's just about 3 months old so it'll be a little while until he fulfills his duties but we're in no hurry since all we have is one ewe and her lamb from last December.

We loaded them up into our dog crate in the HHR again and headed for home. We stopped at Sonic along the way...I thought that would be a neat photo to add to our HHR-Sheep Mover album.

Brennan and Brandy deciding what to order

Glad to see no sheep on the menu

We arrived home and unloaded the sheep. We introduced them straight away to our two existing residents. Gypsy the older ewe looked happy to have more company but was quick to head butt the new additions to establish her dominance. Once I had ascertained they were going to get along, I headed back to the house. I heard a pitter patter, and turned to see Brandy trotting behind us, with a very insulted look -I don't think she could believe that we were actually leaving her out with Sheep! She had slipped between the cattle panel fence so I had to find another hog panel to add to that part of the fence. I think she was quite horrified when I put her back in and left!

I'm happy with our two additions. Both are registrable painted desert lambs. Brandy will be registered as a minimal colored (she does have a couple of brown spots on her legs).