Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lamb Tales

When I went out into the barn after dinner last night there he was, standing in the middle of the barn looking a little confused, cord hanging, dried off already - big and sturdy ram lamb. Izzy came along and a white ewe ran up and butted him. I figured she was the mom and went to get Matt to help me catch her. Matt didn't think it could be the mother as there was no evidence of birth on her behind. After examining her udder I agreed, she's not the mom. After doctoring his cord I sat cross legged on the floor of the barn with the hefty lamb in my lap. After a while a brown ewe, Sombra, wandered up and put her nose to the lamb. Sure enough, her behind was wet and her udder full. We caught her and got the two in a pen together. This mom had lots of milk and I made sure "Joseph" got a belly full. Poor guy, he was exhausted from his ordeal between mothers and lay down in his sweater to go to sleep. Mom drank a big bucket of warm molasses water and chowed down on the delicious second cut hay. This morning I nursed her out again and made sure he got plenty. Some lambs are slower than others, and this big male must weigh 12 pounds. Ewes are very envious of their flock-mate's babies and might try to steal them, even though they are not equipped to feed them. This can be problematic if the wrong ewe licks the new baby off, depriving the real mother of that important bonding experience. I have to make sure he is nursing okay. When I left for work he had not yet latched on to the teat that I could tell.

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