December 23, 2023 - Lexi, The Miracle Lamb
This is a story of hope and overcoming the odds. A few months ago I promised the "rest of the story" about our miracle lamb “Lexi”. And now, as the Christmas season approaches and along with it the hope that came in the form of a tiny baby Jesus, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on this particular sheep story.
Lexi was born a healthy vibrant lamb in April. We had just moved the cows and sheep to a new pasture that we had looked over extensively. Sheep have a habit of going places they shouldn’t or getting themselves into life-threatening predicaments, so we try our best to remove the potential trouble areas. We tied up panels, we filled holes underneath the fence, etc. Then we let them do what cows and sheep do best, eat grass and grow.
The next day we found that true to form the sheep had indeed found a place to get under a panel so they could hang out in the barn. The only problem was the cows rubbed the chain loose on the panel, leaving it unsecured. The panel had held for the first 3 ewes and several lambs that went under, but got jostled enough by the time Lexi attempted to go under that the panel fell over on top of her. She was found pinned under the panel, but still breathing.
The panel was moved and we propped her up against the barn hoping that she would regain her equilibrium and rejoin the flock. We came back a short time later to check on her and could tell the “hope she regains her equilibrium” pipe dream wasn’t going to work. So the kids and I loaded her up and brought her to the barn at home. I wanted her to stay upright, but she kept falling over on her side and we could tell her neck was at an unusual angle. With limited options we finally decided to rig up an old horse cinch and a rope to create a sling to hold her upright. It was brilliant, or so I thought. Lexi did not agree as she repeatedly worked her way out of the device and lay on her side. Clearly the brilliant solution wasn’t going to work. Phase 2 - prop her up between a bale and the fence, with access to fresh water and hay. We fed and watered her daily and by day 3 I went to feed her and there she was, standing on her own. Her head was still cocked to one side and she was not happy with her solitary care setup. I put hay over and she tried to run away…..turning left was okay, but turning right toppled her every time. After a few days of this I realized being with other lambs may speed her recovery more than anything else, as sheep are naturally gregarious and do not care to be alone. We hauled her up to hang out with Mabel and Ginger, the bum (bottle fed) lambs. For several days, she walked in large circles to get places, but she slowly started responding to her shepherd (our daughter was in charge of the bum lambs). With time and care her neck straightened out and she healed completely. Seeing her today you’d never know what she went through, she behaves just like all of the other little ewe lambs. She’s still friendly from her bum lamb training, so the bum lamb shepherd can pick her out quite easily; I just look for 2 parallel indents in her wool. Other than those there isn’t a single trace of what she experienced.
So why Lexi? Well, I started off calling this lamb “Miracle” because I couldn’t believe she’d survived. But one day my daughter wondered if I’d seen Lexi. Lexi? Yes, it’s what Pais and I named my bum lamb. She comes up with random names (reference Mabel and Ginger) so it took me a while to figure out that when P had been over and heard about the lamb with the broken neck she said “you should name her after my sister Lexi”. Lexi had been involved in a bad car wreck the previous year and had a broken neck. Today Lexi, the human, is recovered and running cross country and playing basketball. She is literally a walking miracle. And so is this lamb as she hangs out in the pasture with her mates Mabel and Ginger. May you all find hope this Christmas season.