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This lamb was born last night to one of our ewes. He has a normal, smaller twin. He is up and getting around, nursing, and seems healthy other than the fact that his right front leg ends just below the knee. There is no hoof, and the skin seems to roll up into a soft blob at the end of the leg. This is the third time this ewe has lambed, and the first problem. Has anyone ever had a lamb like this, and if so, did it survive and do ok? We were going to put him down, but he seems so healthy, we're not sure what to do.

 

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I'd make it a prosthetic if it were me, and keep it as a fiber pet ... but I'm kind of nutty that way. Most homesteading minded folks would probably put it down due for not having an advantage towards dog attacks or not something wanted for breeding etc, etc..

Looks like a cutie... and good luck with whatever you decide to do. I know it's not an easy decision because the little guy IS lively and healthy.

Cricket
 

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I would watch and see how is does. I would keep him in a smaller pen with mom for a while. What did you plan to do with him before? G&S
 

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I would think just like dogs he would do fine. I would try to find a pet home or fiber home for the little guy instead of putting him down.

Patty.
 

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If you don't get too attached, and if he survives, you could grow him out to butcher size. It would be interesting if you could fashion a prosthisis for him. Let us know if you do.

I've had a couple of deformed lambs born through the years. Both were spinal curveratures, no missing limbs. One was still born, the other I put down when it was obvious he wasn't going to straighten out.
 

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Kathy
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I have a doe goat that was born with 4 legs but 1 didnt work...she is fine and adapted and she runs with the herd and has kidded a number of times and she is 4 this month. I never wanted or even thought about putting her down just because she was different. I love her more as she is a very determined girl and does all the things the other goats do.
 

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Lasergrl
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looks like a hair sheep so fiber pet is probably out. There are lots of people that want to adopt hard luck cases out there, wouldnt be too hard to find him a home. They do make prosthetics for them too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for the responses. The little guy is a Katahdin (hair sheep) so no fiber in his future. We normally sell the males for butcher, but if he lives, I am thinking about banding him and keeping him as a pet and ram companion. I thought about a prosthesis, but don't know if I'm that ingenious to design one...if he just had a little more length below the knee, it would be a lot easier to devise something. I'm thinking if he gets to where he goes along like a dog with a missing limb, he should do ok. He will be called Tripod of course. After watching him all day, DH and I have decided we are going to give him a chance and see how he does. He doesn't appear to be suffering in any way right now. Predators have not been an issue for us here. Will update as to his progress. Thanks again!
 

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You said he had another sibling? ..Wren & Stumpy perhaps?

I'd still eat him. If you made a little wooden leg for him, you could always take him into bars with you. Like that joke with the peg-legged pig.

punchline: "You don't eat a pig like this all at once"
 

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I would be keeping him but I would also be looking at the longer term. Because he has most of his leg, he will instinctively want to walk on it. Because he doesn't have a hoof, this is going to cause problems in more ways than one. It won't take long before he wears the skin off the end of the leg and ends up with a raw, painful stump that will be open to infection. Putting a prosthetic on it will have the same result unless it is professionaly done and this is likely to be very expensive. Also, if he does use his short leg, it means he will be walking/standing off kilter and this will have an effect of his shoulder and chest with the result that they will end up malformed and he will eventually have breathing problems - I know this from keeping a calf with a similar problem although he did make it to 13 years of age.

If you are keen to keep him, have a talk with your vet and look at the option of removing the leg altogether. This will make him stand upright therefore taking away the malformation in the shoulder/chest region, will take away any risk of infection through a worn stump and, like many dogs and cats with three legs, he will be able to move with freedom - and alacrity when it suits him:p

Cheers,
Ronnie
 

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A & N Lazy Pond Farm
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I have a feeling that the little guy will learn to walk on 3 legs once he gets his balance good. Just keep him in close till he learns. I don't think I would try to make anything to go on that leg unless you are really good at that sort of thing, because if it were ill fitting it would cause more harm than good.

I had a meat goat dislocate his leg once and he held it up and walked on 3 legs. He could run with the rest of the herd on 3 legs when I called them for feed time.

edited to ask "what is the difference between a "hair" sheep and a "fiber" one?
 

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I would wonder if a three-legged wether will be able to handle life as a buck/ram companion?? Even with good balance he will be at a disadvantage when the ram/buck wants a sparring partner......he may end up being injured badly.
 

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My first impulse, upon reading the initial post, would be to euth him now. But if he's doing so well, I'd at least get him up to to weaning age and then have him butchered.
If he's a hair sheep, he's eventually going to have a lot of weight on that one front hoof, and much like a horse, I'd worry about founder.
I know lots of dogs do fine without a front leg, but a hoof is different than a paw.
So I guess just watch out for founder on that front hoof.
 

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How cute...IMHO I'd just let it be..it will learn to walk fine on 3 legs,,since its never had 4 legs,,it don't know the difference..don't eat it!! LOLOL..he'll make a nice pet..I'm a softie when it comes to stuff like this..

judi
 

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I would be keeping him but I would also be looking at the longer term. Because he has most of his leg, he will instinctively want to walk on it. Because he doesn't have a hoof, this is going to cause problems in more ways than one. It won't take long before he wears the skin off the end of the leg and ends up with a raw, painful stump that will be open to infection. Putting a prosthetic on it will have the same result unless it is professionaly done and this is likely to be very expensive. Also, if he does use his short leg, it means he will be walking/standing off kilter and this will have an effect of his shoulder and chest with the result that they will end up malformed and he will eventually have breathing problems - I know this from keeping a calf with a similar problem although he did make it to 13 years of age.

If you are keen to keep him, have a talk with your vet and look at the option of removing the leg altogether. This will make him stand upright therefore taking away the malformation in the shoulder/chest region, will take away any risk of infection through a worn stump and, like many dogs and cats with three legs, he will be able to move with freedom - and alacrity when it suits him:p

Cheers,
Ronnie
That is what I was thinking as well. At the clinic where I work we have had to totally remove the unnaturally short limb because of such wear on the stump. The animals adapt very quickly, and are walking really well within a couple of days if not hours from surgery. He really is cute! Susan
 

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Poo Fairy
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I would keep it as a pet. I love the suggestion from SLEV name them Ren and Stumpy. LOL
 

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Grand Master
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We had a lamb with three legs though his stump was much shorter than Tripod's.

He adjusted and lived an apparently happy life with the flock until it was his turn feeding the dogs.

He will however grow a rather enlarged and deformed shoulder as he gets older.
 
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