Rhubarb was a surprise lamb born here in 2015. When she was 6 months old she had a reaction to something she ate and lost a lot of the hair on her nose which also blistered. It took a very long time for the hair to grow back and this is one of the reasons there are not many photos of Rhubarb as a youngster. She was always one of the sheep who I wanted to have lambs eventually and continue this line of coloured sheep but when she was 3 years old she had a bad reaction to a vaccine we gave the whole flock and the stress triggered a thiamin/vitamin b1 deficiency in her. This is a sudden acute emergency that can rapidly lead to death within 24 hours if not spotted and treated early. Thankfully I picked up something was wrong early on and rushed Rhubarb to our vets. At the time I didn’t know what was causing her symptoms her but our vet instantly knew and a simple injection saved Rhubarb’s life. Acute B1 deficiency is brought on by stress not an actual deficiency in the diet. It comes on suddenly and causes blindness, the sheep stumble and tremor and collapse and then death. Thankfully we were able to save Rhubarb but she never fully regained all her sight completely and at times I can see she relies on her flock mates to guide her. In 2019 I decided I would let Rhubarb have a lamb as I felt she was now ready and well enough. And 5 months later Rhubarb went into labor. But as the hours went by she did not progress at all and seemed in distress. So we had to intervene but I just couldn’t get the first lamb our no matter how I tried. This all happened at the beginning of the Corvid 19 crisis in the UK. Our vets were short on staff and very stretched so we opted to ask an experienced neighbor for help first and have the vet as a last resort. Our neighbor was brilliant and able to support encourage me to keep going and we would be able to deliver Rhubarbs lambs. This was the most difficult lambing I have had to deal with and as a mum myself I found it very difficult. But by some miracle, I did manage to deliver Rhubarb’s twin boys who were stressed but alive. Even before they were out I could tell by the feel of their heads they were boys as they both had huge erupted horn buds. This was actually the main issue with them being born – their huge horns. Even after going through such a traumatic delivery Rhubarb was an incredible mum and recovered almost instantly. The love she had for her lambs was so strong they were her only focus, not the pain she had been through. Predictably we named them Crumble and Custard and both they and Rhubarb are now a very happy little family. Rhubarb has a very fine fleece that I have used for wet felting and weaving. In 2019 I wove a lovely peg loom rug with Rhubarb’s fleece for a regular customer and supporter.
Breed – 4th Generation crossbreed 1/2 Shetland 1/4 Soay 1/4 Jacob
Parents – Pancake & Daisy
Offspring – Crumble and Custard
Colour genetics – Black base / Badgerface Pattern / White Spotted
Date of birth – April 2015