I was preparing leave my house to tuck the sheep in for the night Thursday evening when I got the call. Priscilla’s tone of voice told me that something was seriously wrong.
The lamb was standing calmly, looking at us. His left hind leg was clearly askew – it pointed weirdly forward, broken in the middle of the bone. There were small cuts on either side of the leg, but much to my relief the fracture was not compound. Jake and Priscilla thought he might have caught it in the fence as he was crossing from one pen to the other (the lambs can move freely between the pens through holes in the fence, but the adults cannot).
I called our vet, who suggested that the expense of casting the leg might exceed the value of the lamb. We decided therefore to make the best cast we could make with materials at hand. Mary and Paul came to help out. With iodine to cleanse the wound, gauze to protect it, splints to stabilize and bandages to wind it all up, we devised what I think is a pretty excellent cast. After trying to kick the cast off for a minute or two, the lamb settled in to a life on three legs. We’re looking into whether painkillers would help the lamb be more comfortable or if they might cause the lamb to feel better enough to use the leg and injure himself more severely.
Meanwhile, the little guy is just hopping around the barn, resting, and eating alongside his mother.