In late May one of my lambs broke his right hind leg. I came home to do evening chores and saw him limping and his one leg was slack below the knee. He wasn't putting any weight on it and when I was able to grab him and get him sitting on his butt like in the photo below it hung at a ninety degree angle. I had seen my roommate pull out of the driveway earlier and knew I was home alone. I attempted to pick him up and throw him over my shoulder to carry him up to the barn, but I quickly realized that he was too big for that. I couldn't leave him in the pasture - he would be a target for coyotes.
My parents live ten minutes away from the farm so I called their house phone. I knew if someone picked up the phone they could be here fast. If no one picked up, I needed a new plan. My Mom did pick up the phone and she says she was halfway out the door and decided to pick up instead of letting it go to voicemail. She arrived ten minutes later in a sundress and flip flops with her game face on.
She got out of her car and carefully walked through the pasture to get to take my car keys from me. She pulled my car right up to the edge of the pasture and I dragged the lamb out to the road, trying to jostle his leg as little as possible. She shoved the passenger's seat back as far as it goes and I lifted the lamb on top of myself and slid into the car. My Mom drove the car up to the barn. I got him into the barn and grabbed a cardboard paper towel roll, a t-shirt and a piece of twine and tenderly wrapped his leg trying to hold it straight and not to constrict blood flow to his leg.
I looked at my Mom and told her we had to go back out to the pasture and do this all over again. He needed another lamb to keep him company. I knew he would be in the barn for a few weeks and would be stressed out to be there by himself. We had to go back out to the pasture and I grabbed the closest lamb and pulled him into the car on top of me and my mom drove us back to the barn. And that was all I could do until morning.
The next day I bought bandages and anti-inflammatory gel for his leg and carefully rewrapped it. I googled what other people did for small ruminants with broken legs and found somethings that seemed reasonable. I tried to remember what we did for a goat that broke his leg two years ago at Glynwood. I knew that bringing a vet would probably cost $150 and upwards and for an animal I was hoping to make $400 from it just didn't seem reasonable to make the call
He and his buddy ate hay and grain and had a little water trough in the barn. I was disappointed that they were going to be missing out on the June grass, but he was way too vulnerable to be out on pasture. Slowly, but surely I could see him start to put weight on his bad leg. They got used to me coming in and out of the pen twice a day for chores and got very friendly.
Getting them back out on pasture was tricky and ended up being a two person job. I rode in the back of the pick-up truck with them while Ben drove out to the flerd. Then I helped him put them on his shoulders and ran ahead of him to work the gate on the fence. If I had a herding dog this would have been much simpler.
It took them a day or two to get reacquainted with the flerd, but then they were happy campers. I was so worried about him running around and re-injuring his leg or not being able to keep up with the rest of the group. His leg was never quite the same and didn't heal straight.
Later in the season I saw the injured get up on his hind legs playing with his brother. He was fine!
Leanna at Four Legs Farm