Not the man — the lamb. Born 3 days ago and left for dead — a bag of bones, floppy and wobbly and unable to hold up her bossed head and with thin inturned lips, no teeth and tiny flimsy ears (scan down to my last blog for the full harrowing tale).
As Gladstone’s twin is normal, I’ve been reading about genetic abnormalities and virally induced deformities. But a friend told me about a ewe who had twin lambs, two lambs by two different rams, of different varieties (a rougue ram had jumped over the fence). She conceived at different times, the lambs were different maturities and different crosses — the difference in variety of their fathers made what had happened obvious and easy to prove. So I think Gladstone could be premature even though her twin was not — we had two rams in sequence just in case the first one had missed any ewes.
The same friend has also produced some lambs from implanted foetuses (test tube babies!) although all were inserted on the same day there were 8 days between the birth of the first and the last — maybe little Gladstone’s implantation into the uterus was in some way delayed — eight days would do it — everything is accelerated in sheep.
Food for thought — what do you other sheepy people around the world think?
As I feed her four times a day I know I am looking for reasons why we can keep her but the most convincing evidence for her abnormalities being due to prematurity is the fact that she is improving so dramatically. Please excuse poor quality of the snaps.
Already her posture is better and she can hold her head up. She wriggles when feeding and is starting to have attitude — spits out the teat, then wants it back. She still has teddy bear ears but is starting to look more like a proper lamb.