Friday 13 April 2012

Head or heart?

Despite the nice dry sunny weather today not a single ewe has produced, yet yesterday and the day before when it was terrible they thought it would be good to give birth!

Whilst on one of my many rounds today I took the camera with me, this is the view of the alpacas that the sheep get, can you see any?  I have left the photo large so you should be able to click on it to enlarge it.
 Here is a zoomed in photo of the same area...
The sister of the lamb in the shed is now being trotted round the field with her mum who seems to make no allowances for her little legs! 
As for her sister I think I have worked out what the problem is, I think she is blind.  I thought she was a little slow but deep down I knew there was something else not quite right.  She never comes to me for her bottle but she does follow noise.  She will try and suck at anything once you get close to her until I put the teat right in front of her mouth.  I can also almost touch her eyes before she blinks.

This isn't good news, I'm hoping that it is a temporary problem that she will overcome.  Her eyes look normal and she's feeding well so fingers crossed.  If it's not temporary then I have a real dilemma, do I follow my head or my heart?  What sort of life can I give to a blind sheep, she won't be able to return to the flock.

It's times like this that I realise I'm going to struggle to farm commercially, I've already been to the vets with one of the texel lambs who had an ingrowing eyelid and an ulcer (see below), not exactly cost effective, but a necessity in my book!

She is now doing just find, and I now know how to deal with such matters which apparently are quite common in texels, I've never seen it before though.


Zanzibah Alpacas said...

Hi Debbie ...are you sure she is blind....just because when Norris was little...I thought he might have sight problems...but then I realised....a similar thing to could almost touch his eye when feeding...he is not blind at all...but I found that when he was young...he went into a trance like mode..when feeding...I think this is just a normal...feeding thing with tiny don't do anything rash....give her time...but if she is like Norris....he did exactly the same...when he was days old ...I worried just like you..hope this might put your mind at rest....Jayne

Rosemary said...

I know what you mean about trying to do things commercially! Calling the vet out works out very costly and there is so much to learn. Hope your little one turns out not to be blind.
No more lambs for us today either - probably because it wasn't raining!

oak haven alpacas said...

My guess would be the mom knew there is something wrong with the baby, and that is why she abandoned her and won't accept her back.

We had what we believe was a blind alpaca cria last summer. The mom did feed him, but otherwise ignored him. We thought it odd at the time, but didn't worry as much as we should have since she was feeding him. He lived for a day :( We knew there were issues with the placenta and in retrospect we are quite sure he was blind (likely due to lack of oxygen in utero, which could also have caused brain damage). After our experiences last year of having 3 cria die (from different causes) we've come to notice the herd acts different around these dying cria. My heart doesn't like it, but I believe it's survival of the fittest, cruel as it is. I know there are times that moms can abandon their young, and it's not that they are damaged, so there is hope. Just after my year last year I've come to watch the mom's cues more than I used to.

I hope your lamb is just having a slow time getting going and is healthy and strong soon :)