Aretha and the Unknown Object


Aretha is my beautiful little orphan lamb who rushes up to me every time I go into the field and greedily drinks milk. She also has beautiful fleece.

However, she is currently very, very ill. I noticed on Saturday (when I was back home, after taking Kainaat to the vets – don’t ask) that her backside was a bit ‘muddy’. I put it down to her lying in the mud – it had been raining a lot.

Yesterday, James emailed in the afternoon to say that he thought she had the scours (I love this word as I can spell it and I can’t spell diarrhea without spell check). This was not good news. I looked it up.

It can be caused by worms – we haven’t wormed the lambs yet, although we wormed the mums when they were sheared as we saw some worms in the poo – yuck.

It can also be the result of various other bacterial or viral causes or dirty housing. Or it can be caused by having too much milk replacement. As Aretha was the only lamb to have it and was the only lamb to drink so much milk I guessed this was the cause. I had no idea that too much milk to cause scours, but this is the first time I have had to bottle feed a lamb for so long.

So first thing this morning I went back to the smallholding to check on Aretha. It was not good.  She had a bad attack of flystrike. Flies were attracted to her dirty wool and laid their eggs in it. There were thousands of maggots in her fleece, eating into her skin. I spent a couple of hours carefully cutting back all her wool (dagging) round her rear end, removing all the maggots and making sure there was a margin of clean wool. It looks like they had only just hatched as there wasn’t too much damage, but she is only a little lamb. I did accidentally cut her skin as well when trying to cut the wool – I feel really bad about this. I put some aloe vera purple spray on the cut area and where she was raw from the maggots, treated her with flystrike medicine that will kill any future eggs or maggots and then wormed her. I also gave her a bit of lamb pick-me-up medicine and some watered down milk solution to keep her hydrated.

poor Aretha2.jpg

We then wormed and treated with anti-flystrike medicine all the other lambs and I checked a ewe with a poorly foot. Echo also has a swollen joint and a limp so I called the vet for advice about this and about Aretha.

Apparently we have done the right thing. I am going back very early tomorrow morning to check her again and to give her some home made electrolyte solution (a mixture of water, syrup, baking soda and a pinch of salt). I will also put some blue spray on Echo’s hoof as Andrew the shepherd thinks it might be a result of her hoof being infected.

Why does everything happen when I am meant to be away writing? Do you reckon Anthony Horowitz has this to contend with when he is writing in Orford?

N.B. One last thing – some great guesses as to the unknown object a few posts ago. Sarah got it right, it is actually the tail of one of Bobtail’s lambs that we had to ring as she had nibbled the end off.

For the record, this is a ringed testicle sack which I found just a  couple of days ago.


N.B. not many photos today as I was too busy trying to look after Aretha and Echo.



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