Updated: Sep 22, 2019
Animals that have been orphaned, abandoned or mistreated often need veterinary attention and long periods of care at Head Over Hooves to recover. As you can imagine, young orphans require the most intensive care. Here’s one of our orphans Little Jimmy, now thriving after lots of skilled and focused attention.
We found Little Jimmy running up the middle of the a highway one evening with cars and trucks swerving to miss him. Miraculously unharmed he was scooped up into the safety of our ute. He was less than 24 hours old and had somehow been separated from his mother.
Orphan lambs like Little Jimmy have very specific care requirements. From nutritional needs, veterinary treatments, keeping them warm and snug and most importantly giving them all the love they need. It’s the best job in the world.
Little Jimmy enjoying the best care we can give!
As Little Jimmy was orphaned in the first 24 hours of his life he did not receive vital colostrum from his mother to help develop a strong immune system. This left him susceptible to many health problems.
Bottle feeding orphan lambs requires frequent small feeds (as they would feed with their mum.) It is very important not to overfeed them. This can be a challenge when they keep telling you that dad forgot to feed them and they are starving!
Little Jimmy found us during our move from Victoria. On arriving in the Northern Rivers of NSW, we had to find him good formula and fast! Our new area is predominantly cattle country, and rural stores do not stock lamb formula, so we had to order a bag which would take 8 days to arrive. We contacted Kelly from Sugarshine Farm Sanctuary and she generously gave us enough formula to last Jimmy a week. Jimmy was dancing all over the place within hours of starting on his new formula. He loved it!
We added probiotics to his formula twice a day, to help his digestive system while it adjusts and because it’s very good for them. Fresh hay was available for Little Jimmy 24/7 to help his rumen development as was a feed of Oaten Chaff and Lucerne Chaff for dinner.
Unbeknown to us the little man was sensitive to Oaten Chaff and had to be rushed to the vet with food related bloat late one evening. He had a stomach tube inserted to remove some of the chaff. He then required stomach massaging every 30 minutes to keep everything moving.
At 3 am I heard the best sound in the world. Jimmy got up and went to the toilet, lay down contently on the couch next to me and started to chew his cud. What a relief!
As Little Jimmy was so young and in need of constant care and love, he lived inside for the first eight weeks of his life. This meant we went through a lot of nappies as male lambs require two nappies (at all times!)
Once we worked out Little Jimmy’s food sensitivities, he thrived. At four weeks of age, he had his first vaccination with a booster at eight weeks and his first drench to treat him for internal parasites. Once Jimmy got to ten weeks of age he graduated from sleeping inside his creche with his teddy bear, blanket and pillow to sleeping in his big boy bedroom outside in a small shelter with his adopted dad Miles and his ‘girlfriend’ Sophia (a lamb who came to us through the Gold Coast City Council Pound.) He eventually got over his disappointment at not being able cuddle up on the couch with his greyhound friend Marvin and watch Netflix anymore!
At three months of age Little Jimmy had to have another trip to the vet - to be castrated. This is normally a traumatic experience but he was showered with love by the staff at Murwillumbah Vets. He posed for many selfies and came out the same little jolly fellow that went in. Thank you to them for the way they looked after this special little man.
Jimmy continues to thrive with his friends at Head Over Hooves :)