Now that lambing is over, our front porch sometimes becomes the Rising Moon Farm Lamb Hospital. This little tyke is making her second visit to the Emergency Room, getting some work done on her tail. She and her sister were in three days ago to be treated for flystrike.
(Please note: If you are eating at the present time, it might be a good idea to stop for a minute. If you have a queasy stomach, close your eyes and skip the next two paragraphs.)
Flystrike is nasty. Luckily it doesn’t happen that often out here. A fly lays eggs somewhere moist, perhaps in a baby lamb’s manure stuck to her wool. The eggs hatch, and maggots emerge. Here’s the gross part. One end of the maggot starts eating the lamb’s flesh, and the other end just writhes around in the air. This is way more gross than it sounds, the stuff of nightmares.
I held the lamb’s head and shoulders on my knees, and Melissa held the business end on her knees. But since the lamb was only about 20 inches long, I was uncomfortably close to the business end. Melissa sprayed the lamb’s entire rump and back legs with Catron, and hundreds of maggots began dropping off. Then using a tweezers and a Q-tip, Melissa had to…well, extract maggots from the poor lamb’s…well, openings. Poor lamb. Poor Melissa. Poor me.
(Okay, you can start eating again, start reading again.)
This lamb had it so bad Melissa shaved her wool and washed her back end. We treated the sister, then bundled them up in towels. I held the babies in my arms on the back of the 4-wheeler while Melissa drove. We quickly found the mom, standing in the middle of the pasture crying for her babies.
This is always the tricky part. Will the ewe take the lambs back, even though they smell funny? #702 ran up and sniffed the faces of the lambs. So far, so good. Then she sniffed their back ends. Hmmm, something’s not quite right here. But she’s a good mom, so she realized they were her babies.
Today Melissa saw that first lamb limping, so she caught her. Turns out a few very large maggots had gone unnoticed and set up shop in the lamb’s hoof. A few had returned to her tail and needed removing. As you can see by the lamb’s resigned expression, she’s getting used to the Rising Moon Farm Lamb Hospital.
If she shows up a third time, however, I’m raising her deductible and excluding certain coverage for preexisting conditions, such as flystrike….Nah, not really. I’ll just kiss the top of her warm, fuzzy head, and her medical debt will be all gone.