A Lucky Lamb Indeed


Photo provided by Mrs. Cathy Swanson

Lucky the Lamb received her name because she was fortunate that her injury was not life threatening.

The Cam High Agricultural department welcomed a healthy newborn lamb on Dec. 1, a daughter of a sheep on campus, healthy and ready for a happy life the school. However, less than three days after the birth, the situation evolved into a crisis.

According to Mrs. Cathy Swanson, a regular substitute teacher at Cam High and wife to Agriculture department chair Mr. Sam Swanson, the lamb, one of a total of three sheep and four lambs on campus, broke her leg after her mother stepped on it. The break occurred after a passing student accidentally spooked the mother.

She broke her right front leg, just below the elbow. The break wasn’t immediately noticed because newborn lambs are often jostled or bumped by siblings or their mother. Lambs can also be bumped and fall over their own legs when first learning to stand and often acquire sore shoulders. “She wasn’t able to stand,” said Swanson. “She also wasn’t able to nurse, so that first night we had to hold her up.”

Due to the nature of the break, many Agriculture students said the lamb was lucky that her leg could be cast and healed, rather than the alternative of humane euthanization. This resulted in the name “Lucky.”

After a few days passed, concern for Lucky’s health grew, and she was then taken to a vet. An x-ray revealed a clean break, one that could be reset and fixed.

The vet put Lucky under an anesthetic to reset the bone and cast her leg. Unable to return her to the enclosure at school until the anesthetic wore off, the Swansons took Lucky home with them.

The Swansons then bottle-fed Lucky milk taken from her mother to ensure she was getting the nutrients she needed, and that she still smelled like her mother. “If she came back smelling like formula, the mother might have rejected her, and she would have to have been bottle-fed,” Swanson said.

The sheep in the Agriculture department often go to the Ventura County Fair in August, where they will be sold off to others for breeding or meat.

Lucky the lamb was fortunate enough to be born in Cam High’s sheltered home instead of on a larger farm. “If Lucky had been a part of a large flock, she would have almost been guaranteed to die,” said Swanson.  Although many shepherds check the flocks quite frequently, the likelihood of Lucky being found in time would have been slim.

In the meantime, sheep play an integral role in the Agriculture curriculum, and Lucky’s cast newly removed, she now runs around in full health alongside her siblings.