Thursday, March 5, 2015

Almost Lost One

A week ago today we had another episode of weather. We'd had a combination of rainy snow through the night. My sweet husband, Al, had done his 5 a.m. walk around & all was well so he went on to work. I  was just trying to get some things done in the house but kept having the feeling that I ought to go out to do my usual chores a little early. I headed out, glanced across the first pasture & laughed at myself when I hesitated because a pile of snow seemed almost lamb-shaped. No sheep were around it so it obviously couldn't be a lamb. I took a few more steps, glanced over again & just wasn't sure. I put down the egg bucket I was carrying & walked over to the fence. There was a lamb laying in a puddle. I raced through the closest gate, swooped the little thing up, stuck it inside my coat & glanced around. About twenty feet away I noticed that #802, a Romney ewe, was busy cleaning up a lamb. It seemed I had a twin tucked in my coat. I took the lamb over to #802 but she was interested in her newest lamb. I put him right at her face & she did take a look at him. I was encouraged that she didn't shove him away. I was also glad to see that she'd taken some time to clean him up initially before she stopped to deliver brother.
I called Al at work to let him know what was going on. He is fairly flexible so offered to come home to give me a hand moving the new family through many gates & into the stable. I took a few more pictures as I waited on him. It was pretty obvious that mama was not worried about her first lamb.
He was cold but strong & fighting for some attention.
His brother was not as thoroughly cleaned but mama was busy helping him get situated to nurse.

Al & I got them all into the stable & we put them under a heat lamp. I spent extra time working the outcast brother over with a dry towel. 
Brother #1 was too cold to try to nurse & at that point mama's colostrum was just coming in. To make a long story short, I ran to a friend's for frozen colostrum & started the little fellow on a bottle. I usually keep a supply here but had run out. The time that I was on the road gave #1 a chance to warm up even more so that he was ready to be able to take a bottle when I got back. 

We have had many bottle lambs through the years but would much prefer that mama raise her young. We left the little fellow out with his mother & brother & brought him a bottle every few hours. After a few days of noticing how well they were all getting along, I decided to try one more time to get him back on mama. At bottle time, Al & I both went to the stable. Al held mama as I laid on the ground & worked hard to stick #1 on a teat. It took some work but after about 10 tries the little fellow finally latched on & I could hear him nursing. He was even wagging his tail - an almost sure sign that he was actually getting milk. We watched him very closely. He was up under mama as often as his brother. He quit crying for us when he heard us come into the stable. He began to fill out. After 6 days of very close supervision, we let the little family out of the stable to explore.
So far, so good. Mama loves & feeds both of them.
And we still tell the boys apart by who is the clean one & who is the dirty one.


3 comments:

  1. There is just nothing cuter in this world! So happy you had a happy ending to this one!

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    Replies
    1. We are too! They are both thriving & mama loves them.

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