Miraculous Lamb Rescue
Malia (my granddaughter) helping to warm up Winn.
We have two new lambs, but came very close to losing one of them.
Last weekend twin girl Gotlands were delivered to us. Both were on the small side, but particularly ‘Winn’ or ‘Winner’, (the reason for her name will become clear).
Our twins were born near the top of the Takaka Hill, so you’d expect them to be robust. To be blunt, however, they are both runts. With a weather bomb sweeping up the country, belatedly, on Sunday I put together a shelter, part of which was a dog house, big enough to house the smaller of the two lambs. The larger one would have to make do with a corrugated iron roof. I slept soundly, confident that both lambs would be fine.
It was lunch time on Monday before anyone noticed that the dog house was on its side. The wee lamb was trapped inside; cold but still alive. I was sure she was a gonner. A vet once told me that when a sheep’s head is locked over on one side, it is beyond saving, and it’s head certainly was. Her body was half covered in poo.
Annette, my wife and a nurse, put her straight in a warm shower. Having once been revived from hypothermia in this way, I can personally vouch for its efficacy. But I still thought there was little hope.
We then got busy with a hair-drier and towels; rubbing and rubbing.
Dehydration was the next issue to address. I fetched a large syringe to feed warm water into its mouth. When it accepted the water, I had the first thought that there might be a happy ending. We were still working to raise its body temperature, but Annette said we needed to get some energy into it. I googled ‘ and learnt that a treatment for hypothermic new-borns was injecting 20% dextrose solution straight into their stomach.
We didn’t have Dextrose, but we had honey, which, when mixed with water, our lamb would take by mouth. Things were looking more promising by the minute.
When I went back to work our lamb was comfortable in a large box by the fire and eating grass.
When I returned two hours later, Annette had taken her back to the paddock because Winn had started wandering about the house looking for her sister.
Winn is scrawny. She’ll never be large, but having survived thus far, we hope to grow her into healthy, albeit small Ewe.
Come and visit Winn, and her companions, Daisy (multicoloured), Martha (very old Gotland), Mia (White and young), and Winn’s sister (yet to be named).
All five are munching on the lush grass between our drive and the wildflower meadow