Monday, June 27, 2011

Billy Update

Bill is the little "orphan" lamb we picked up at a bird auction on the weekend. I would love to hear from anyone who has bottle-raised lambs before, specifically for anyone who has raised neglected bottle babies before.

We have been told "Billy" is 2 weeks old, WAY too young to be off his mom.
He's also very small. He started off at no more then 20lbs and when we got him from the auction you could feel absolutely every single rib all the way down (you still can, but at least now he's got a full-belly too).

Guesses between the feed store/the sheep farmer I was talking to:
- he is a premie
- he is the runt of a triplet
- he may also be a small breed
- he is a ram and the farmer took no interest in his care

Considering he is INFESTED with Keds, something a reputable sheep farmer would never let run rampant in their herd, I’m starting to really wish we knew where he came from, if for no other reason then to call the ospca. There is really no excuse for his condition, the poor thing came to us with ever single rib sticking out under his wool. (I’m a little pissed after seeing all those happy/healthy lambs down the road yesterday!!).

So he is VERY underweight so we are bringing his feeding up really slowly so he doesn't bloat. We started off with him eating 50-80ml a feed for about 400ml the first day :S (and that was all his little stomach could handle). He's not up to about 200ml a feeding for around 800ml a day. Still a long way off from what he should be eating, but we're getting there!

The feed store woman led me to a older sheep farmer around the corner from us so I had a little visit yesterday morning morning, picked up some creeper for Billy*, and got some really good advice! (*The feed store wouldn’t sell it to us since it was $60 a bag and there was no way he was going to eat that much before it went bad - how is that for amazing people?? Plus the farmer gave it to me for free!). So Billy is getting a little bit of corn/soybean meal. He's not too keen, but he will eat it out of my hand  not the bucket. I have been mixing a little corn-syrup in to make it sweet and yummy.

He's not getting any hay yet, but we're giving him all the lawn he wants to eat. Plus at night (or right now because it's about to storm) he's getting a few handfuls of pulled grass & clover he sort of munches at. I didn't want to put him on alfalfa right away, I'm sure that would make him sick! But he'll be on hay by the end of this week. Probably only a 1/4 flake at first. He really only nibbles at the grass so he's getting a few mouth-fulls every hour.

He's been limping but I think it's an abscess or a bruise

He was COVERED in keds, GROSS! I picked the big suckers off and doused him with powder (which is why he's a little off-black in that video). The feed store also didn’t want to sell us wormer for him since it was $140/container and we need one dose… so Billy has been doused with the tick powder I actually already had at home (Duh! It even says “kills sheep keds” right on it!), it was left here when we moved in, so not sure how old it is, but hopefully it’s gonna work!

We think he *may* be a Jacobs, JacobsX because he's got two huge horns growing out front and may possibly have some side-horns slowly growing in. He's also got the colouring/disposition.

Billy does still have his tail, the farmer was telling me banding a tail should be done at 3 days and he’s got quite a few that have tails because they just didn’t get around to it in time. It’s fine. The only problem is that they get poop build up on their bums because of their tails. Billy is a bottle-baby so if he gets a gunky bum I’m going to notice and clean it :).

We just moved into our hobby farm 2 weeks ago so our animals haven't arrived yet. So Billy is sleeping in the garage until the barn fills up. Just seemed like leaving one little lamb in the barn all by himself would be a dinner bell for the coyotes! He'll be sleeping out in the barn as soon as this weekend, (depending on how things go) hopefully I can find some more sheep/goats to keep him company too.

Because everyone asks me:
We have no real plans for Billy except to give him a forever pet-home here.
Not sure yet if we are going to have him wethered or not (probably will), but I am teaching him proper manners. As cute and cuddly as he is right now I don't want a 100lb hormonal creature with giant horns thinking he's a pocket pet! We'll make a decision about that once he's got some weight on him in a few weeks.

Any suggestions/experience/etc. would be much appreciated!
I've worked around horses but this is my first sheep-experience!


  1. Billy is too cute! I'm sure you can understand people thinking he's a goat with a name like that!

    What are keds? And you have the right idea about keeping his bum clean - flystrike is not pretty!

  2. Keds are a sheep specific tick (although they'll go after other animals if necessary). They aren't very common any more since they are so easy to kill off with wormer/proper care :\.

    Thankfully after the one dousing with powder Billy has stopped itching & seems to be ked free!