Every year at lambing time we get poddys, and this year we have twelve. It is hard to resist a lamb that is alone in the paddock or looking thin and tucked up. So home they come to join the others. Sometimes they are sick and there is the challenge of trying to work out what is wrong and treat them. With the sick lambs we win some and lose some. This year we have had severe hypothermia in a very new lamb (died), severe diarrhea in a day old lamb (died), lamb with swollen joints who couldn't stand (survived). Each win or lose teaches us a treatment or intervention to try the next time. Having access to antibiotics and vitamin injections is a huge help as well as being able to tube feed lambs that will not suck, or who are very weak.
We think the lamb with swollen joints picked up an infection through his navel, known as joint ill. He couldn't stand, had swollen knees, a temperature,and wouldn't suck. Antibiotic treatment and tube feeding for a couple of days helped him regain an interest in life. Once he could stand and would bottle feed, he was on the way to recovery. He is now competing with the other lambs at the lamb bar and weight bearing on the affected knee. We will keep him as a ram, and fertility test him at a year old to see if this type of sickness and treatment impacts on lifetime fertility. These little experiments help us learn along the way.