Last night we got home very late after work. It was well after dark, and the weather was terrible. Temperatures down in the 30s and just pouring down buckets of rain, thunder and lightning. We lingered in the house and whined a bit about having to go out in the nasty, freezing, slosh for evening chores, but eventually we strapped on our big kid boots, donned our rain suits, and slogged out into the monsoon.
As we were walking out, Big Onion said that he wanted to lay eyes on the sheep before we did anything else. Sheep are not smart creatures. They have a very annoying habit of getting themselves into trouble especially when the weather is bad. He headed around the corner while I grabbed a flashlight. By the time I got to the shed where the sheep like to spend the night, he had already discovered that little Brownie was missing. Oh, his mother, Bonnie, was there snuggled down in deep hay, high and dry, but her two week old lamb was nowhere to be seen.
Big Onion and I started an exhaustive search of the pastures. Thinking he could be anywhere, we started looking in all the usual places the sheep like to hang out. In that terrible weather, I was sure we were looking for a body.
We searched the first pasture. No luck. We scoured the second pasture and even checked in the creek where we lost an already weak and puny lamb about a year ago. Still no luck. We got to the big third pasture and split up. I was checking around the ponds while Big Onion headed down the fence line on the other side of the pasture. I had just rounded the second pond when I heard Big Onion yell in the distance. I hot footed all the way across the pasture through thick mud and deep puddles to find Big Onion huddled over a tiny, brown body lit only by the light from his cell phone.
I couldn't believe it when he said the baby was alive, but he was in very bad shape. He had somehow gotten himself completely tangled in the line from the electric fence. It was wrapped around both back legs several times as tight as could be and little Brownie was just laying there shivering in the freezing mud. Little guy had all but hogtied himself. Big Onion thinks he way he wrapped the line probably shorted out the fence, so hopefully the poor little thing didn't get shocked too much.
Of course neither of us had a knife so it took several minutes to untangle the little guy's back legs. They were wrapped up so tight I was sure they would never work again. Once we got him free, I scooped him up and headed straight back to the house, leaving Big Onion to finish all the evening chores. The only thought in my mind was getting this baby warm and dry and trying to save those legs. As I was carrying him past the flock who were all milling around and calling for their dinner, the little guy called out to his mother several times. I took this as a very good sign.
I got him inside, fended off the hoard of dogs completely intent on getting a sniff of the lamb in my arms, and got the little guy dried off and warmed up in front of the bathroom heater. I was surprised and pleased to find that there was no tissue damage to the legs and that both feet seemed to have blood flow. His membranes were all pink, and he seemed alert. We snuggled in front of the heater while I got my boss on the phone. She recommended alternating a couple of homeopathics, and after the first dose of arnica, Brownie ppoped up and shook himself off. It was obvious then that something was wrong with one leg. His hock was bending the wrong direction.
I called Big Onion, and he corralled Bonnie into the milking room. I understand there was some serious rodeo'ing involved including a diving leap that left Big Onion's thumb in very slightly better shape than Brownie's hock. We needed to get some nutrition in the little guy. We planned on trying to hold him and let him get a least a few sips from his mother.
Brownie and I bundled up and headed back out into the rain. I was in for another surprise when I put him down in the hay because when that little ram caught sight of his mother, he beelined it for her back end and started furiously trying to nurse, dragging that bum back leg with him! This little guy is seriously tough! Unfortunately, his mother didn't seem to have much milk for him at all.
After seeing that he couldn't use the leg properly, we brought him back inside. I gave him a tiny dose of pain meds and wrapped the leg in a way that will hopefully keep it from bending in the wrong direction, and let him heal. He zonked out while we were tending to him.
We also convinced him to drink a few ounces of fresh goat's milk just to be sure he was well fed for the night then we put him back out to spend the night with his mother in the cozy, dry milk room.
This morning he was up and about. He is using the bad leg a little. Hopefully that will improve as he gets used to bandage, and it starts to heal. The good thing is he is so young that he stands a great chance of making a full recovery.
Obviously, the little guy has a fighter's spirit!