Thursday, 9 August 2012

Saved by a tube

Rap was born into the warmth of the evening of 6th July.

Is he really suckling?

He started OK – seemed to find a teat and seemed to have a suckle, but by midnight he was looking weak. I had given him a couple of shots of Thermovite (as recommended by Tim Tyne) but was not too happy with his appearance. We milked Morag, a new and slightly reluctant mum, and gave him some from a dropper.

By 9am on the 7th I was really concerned about him.

Pep the Vet had kindly given me a stomach tube for lambs, and encouraged me to use it. So I read the instructions in The Sheep Book for Smallholders (Tim Tyne, The Good Life Press, 2009) and in The Sheep Keeper’s Veterinary Handbook (Agnes Winter and Judith Charnley, Crowood Press, 2007).

After a couple of failed (and scarily gurgling) attempts I used the syringe to get a few ml of milk into his mouth. This seemed to help him swallow. I managed to intubate Rap, and got 100ml of milk into him.

The effect was immediate. He got up and went over to Morag and started suckling. As though the intubation had given him a start and now he wanted a lot more.

I had been determined not to lose another lamb after losingLuna. Rap had many of the same characteristics – a weak lamb, not that interested in feeding, not finding the teat, preferring to lie down and rest rather than feed. Luna had faded away like that. Intubation seemed to kickstart Rap’s feeding reflex.

Thanks for the tube, Pep!

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