3 week old Gulf Coast Native Lamb

ZoeytheLamb

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
40
Reaction score
0
Points
27
Location
Central Virginia
Hello,

I am such a novice in the care and raising of a lamb- I am almost embarrassed to join the forum... until a few weeks ago I never even had held a lamb. Today, I am the foster mother of a 3 week old Gulf Coast Native lamb, and I have had her since she was less than 12 hours old.

It has been a journey, and in this journey I have met many wonderful people who have been such a help to me. When she first came in my care- she was born on Good Friday, she was one of a twin born to an older ewe that was unable to provide enough milk for both lambs. The living history museum where I work, said they were going to let the little thing die- let nature take its course. I asked if I could give it a try to save her- and they gave her to me. After much trial and error I found the correct formula for her (Dumor Lamb Milk Replacer) and then she became really lethargic - long story short, she developed navel ill and joint ill (she has recovered from the joint ill). In these few weeks of her life she has been on many rounds of antibiotics- and as of today, she is still running a fever (103.5) this morning. So the vet is going to put her on another round this afternoon. She is also on a daily probiotic to help keep the right balance in her GI tract.

All in all, she is happy, gaining weight (she weighs 12 pds.), active and oh, my goodness, the sweetest little thing to walk this side of Heaven (in my opinion :). She has stolen my heart completely! Her name is Zoey. Zoe means "life" in the Greek. I want her to live so badly!

So my reason for joining this forum is multiple- I have been reading a lot of the posts and everyone seems so nice and helpful- and I hope will be understanding of my ignorance!
I have so many questions I really don't know where to begin. I guess the first one is - has anyone run into a similar health situation with a lamb this age?
Next question: what is a good lamb starter feed?

I live in Hanover County, Virginia and let me say this is not sheep country! I've have to travel quite a distance just to get the milk replacer. I want to get a good quality lamb starter feed, but don't know what is the best type or kind for her. I've looked at a number of them online- but when I call, I find out the closest location is in Kentucky!

Thank you all in advance for any and all advice!

All the best,
Sandy
 

Bridgemoof

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
1,840
Reaction score
3
Points
96
Location
Middleburg, VA
Awww Sandy!

What a great thing you have been able to save little Zoey. I think that's wonderful that sweet little thing was given a chance. I can tell how much you care about her, I can relate! Sounds like you are doing all the right things, and great that she is under the care of a vet, too.

I have been using Land of Lakes lamb milk replacer for Lottie. She seems to be doing fine on it. Plus it smells so good I want to make a milk shake with it! But, it's too expensive for me to drink, lol.

She is also on a creep feed that we grind ourselves. It has soybean, corn, and alfalfa mostly. Not sure of the ratios. Also, she started nibbling at the free choice sheep minerals a long time ago. Make sure she gets minerals (not goat, they contain too much copper.) She is also out on grass pasture and eats hay, too. Lottie is still so much smaller than the other lambs her size, but she's holding her own and doing fine.

I hope Zoey continues to get stronger! Good luck with your baby. :D
 

SheepGirl

Master of Sheep
Golden Herd Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
3,625
Reaction score
886
Points
333
Location
Frederick, Maryland
To answer your question, I have not ever had a lamb develop joint/navel ill. In the future, if you were to have more lambs, I would recommend dipping their navels in iodine. We do this and have never had an issue with navel ill.

To answer your other question, we use the 16% textured sheep feed from Southern States. Since you're in Virginia, you should have a Southern States nearby and they should have this feed in stock (or can order it for you). The lambs really seem to enjoy it and we feed it to their mothers, too.
 

ZoeytheLamb

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
40
Reaction score
0
Points
27
Location
Central Virginia
Hello Bridgemoof and SheepGirl!

Thanks for the advice- it is SO needed!

I live in a small town... we are not suppose to have livestock... so excuse the pun, she is on the lamb...! We have a double lot backyard that is fenced in and surround by a high privet hedge, so far no one is the wiser that she is with us. Once she is well enough and old enough I know I shall have to find her a forever home- right now, I just want her to get well, that's all I can think about at the moment

We don't have any other livestock at our house- we have a fat elderly yellow Lab and 7 rescued cats that live with us.

Zoey was born at a living history museum and they have a sheep project there. Her mother ewe gave birth in the after hours after the staff had gone home. So there was no one there to see that she had her umbilical cord cleaned and cared for. The vet said that when the cord broke after birth, the end that was connected to her lay in the dirt and you know the rest. Infection set in. She had a large hard knot on her stomach at the base of the cord by the time she came home with me (12 hours after her birth). With the repeated antibiotic treatments the swelling is now almost gone- but the fever remains and has our vet puzzled. She has worried that Zoey has an abscess in her abdomen. But Zoey is taking her milk so well and growing and gaining weight, so the vet feels that the fever just may be the lingering remains of the navel ill. Today I started her on the Excede antibiotic injections given us by the vet. My husband has become an expert at giving her the injections- I can't bear to even watch.
We will give her 4 injections- 1 every 4 days.

Minerals? Which ones does she need? Should it get mixed in her milk? Or is it something in a salt block kind of thing? In the town I live in we don't have a Southern States, but we are near Richmond and there is one there. Our local feed store has a sort of generic looking bag of Sheep and Goat feed- I don't like the idea that it is for both sheep and goats- I just want to find a good lamb starter. Tractor Supply has a Sheep feed- but I don't know if it's just for grown sheep? I tried asking the salesman and he didn't know. I saw at T. Supply a small metal bucket of congealed looking stuff that said minerals for goats with large print that said THIS IS NOT FOR SHEEP! I have seen nothing that says for sheep. So what should I look for or order? As I said earlier, in this area- sheep are exotic beings!

Thanks for the picture of what the feed looks like- that really helps me. The stuff they feed the sheep at the museum looks like pale rabbit food pellets. I like the look of the stuff in the picture you sent better. I think if I were a sheep I would like to eat what's in the picture you sent.

Thanks again! Give Lottie a hug for me! She is so adorable!!!

As I said- I am a total newbie at all this. You both have been so kind and I really appreciate all the help- and thanks for anything you can think of that might help. I would post a picture of her, but haven't figured out how to do that yet.

Sandy
 

Bridgemoof

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
1,840
Reaction score
3
Points
96
Location
Middleburg, VA
Hi Sandy,

If you go to Southern States, they should have a generic bag of Southern States loose sheep minerals. That's what I get. They are pretty big bags, though, and it would last you a LONG time. But ask if they have sheep mineral block, I've bought one of those before as well. They are more expensive and my sheep inhaled it in like 2 days. I couldn't find either product on the Southern States website. I'll search around for you on some other sites.

I bought a bag of goat and sheep pellets at Tractor Supply, and supposedly it was reinforced with some kind of antibiotics. My lambs gobbled it up, they really liked it. The stuff that SheepGirl looks really good, too.

Sheepgirl has a LOT more experience than I do, I've only been in the sheep business for about 6 months. I can only tell you what I've done and seems to work.

Keep us posted on how she is doing!

AND, I am in Virginia TOO and if you need a forever home when she starts alerting the neighbors with her Baaa waaa baaahs......:D:D:D:D:D

Just sayin.:p

Bridget
 

ZoeytheLamb

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
40
Reaction score
0
Points
27
Location
Central Virginia
Hi Bridget,

Thanks for the information- all you've shared with me about this is really helpful. I don't feel so alone! It's been so scary because I have never been around sheep- much less try to raise one! But I have always thought they were cute- now that I have one living in my house, I can confirm that there is really nothing cuter or more innocent.

It has been amazing how many people have offered to take her when she is grown. I want her fairly close by me if possible, I think the separation is going to be harder on me than on her...
I don't want her to be used for slaughter. And I don't know if she is considered a wool sheep or not. All I know is that the breed is endangered. It is an old breed and disease resistant.

But another thing that concerns me is her health- her health issues maybe long term, I just don't know yet. I found out that her ewe is 16 years old- and the ram that sired Zoey is her half brother. So I guess that makes her more prone to problems?

In the morning I shall call around and see if I can find the minerals you mentioned. Zoey loves to ride in the car! When I take her into our local feed store- she attracts crowds. Everyone wants to see her and touch her- she has no fear of people and lets anyone hold her- and she loves to give kisses!

I know, I know, I am spoiling her rotten!:) But I keep telling myself, because she has been so sick- she deserves a bit of spoiling!

Sandy
 

SheepGirl

Master of Sheep
Golden Herd Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
3,625
Reaction score
886
Points
333
Location
Frederick, Maryland
Yep, we use the Southern States Sheep Mineral as well. At our store, we can buy it by the pound or in 50 lb bags. Maybe the Richmond store has the same option. But on the tag, I believe it says that each sheep should consume about 2 oz of the mineral each day...so figure on how long you're gonna keep her and buy what you need. She may not even eat that much, however.

Gulf Coast sheep are a wool breed, though I'm not sure how good their wool is for anything. Maybe you can sell her as a brood ewe to a breeder?

As for the mother, WOW--16 is old! And as for the inbreeding...it shouldn't really effect the health of the lamb. Primarily just growth and reproductive traits are stunted, but if she's bred to a good outcross ram, it wouldn't matter much.
 

ZoeytheLamb

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
40
Reaction score
0
Points
27
Location
Central Virginia
Hi SheepGirl

Yes, that was what I was told that Gulf Coast sheep are bred for wool- but it is not quality wool. They are hardy to the humid hot climate of around here, so that is a good thing.

Glad to know the inbreeding isn't an issue. Yes, her ewe just turned 16 years old! She gave birth to twins. Zoey is sort of brownish and her sibling is black with just a small white top knot on her head. The black twin was born bigger than Zoey- Zoey is small, but in the past week has been really growing.

I'll give S. States a call and see what they have in minerals. Honestly, I want to keep her as long as I can with us- I want to make sure she is healthy before she goes to another home.

Thanks for the advice, it all helps so much!

Sandy
 

Bridgemoof

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
1,840
Reaction score
3
Points
96
Location
Middleburg, VA
I'm so glad you can find her a home close to you. That's great! I took Lottie in the car and she was really good, too. But her tail fell off en route...lol.

Here's a picture of her through the car window with the dogs. It's not a great picture, but she looks so darned cute riding in the car!


That's another thing we need to talk about, banding her tail. But it might be too late. Usually their tails are banded within the first week, I don't know if you had the chance to do that or not. You might want to ask SheepGirl what your options are now since she is older, if you haven't already done that. Banding their tail helps later with a lot of hygiene issues.

We need pictures!!!!!!
 

ZoeytheLamb

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
40
Reaction score
0
Points
27
Location
Central Virginia
Good Morning Bridget!

What a cute picture- I can make out Lottie in the backseat!!! I've never seen a Jacob's sheep, but now I am in love with them- how beautiful they are!

Yes, docking/banding... She has not had that done, and our livestock vet hasn't said anything about it. I guess we've all been so concentrated on getting her well. She began her forth round of antibiotics yesterday evening- as of this morning her temp still hovered at 103.6
I had hoped for it to begin dropping. I do worry about her becoming antibiotic resistant.

How do I place pictures on the forum?

I'm calling Southern States this a.m. about the minerals and to see if they have a lamb starter formula.

Are there any good websites that you could recommend that are good for taking care of motherless lambs?

Thanks for all the help!

Sandy
 
Top