Wednesday, February 25, 2015

One AM Barn Check

Little ram lamb born today is not happy.  His beautiful mother, first timer, is still very nervous and doesn't like him around her teats.  She dropped him in a great spot this morning, near the lambing pens, but ran off to join her friends at the hay racks in back of the barn.   The fact that he is a monster, ten pounds at least, didn't make her feel any more kindly toward him.   I had to pull her back up front and put them together in a "jug" so they could get mothered up.  Not going so well.  She has lovely teats and a virgin udder producing rich milk but she's not giving it up easily.  I had to tie her head to a post and nurse her out several times today to give the boy a meal.  I'm worried that she didn't pass the placenta, but she might have dropped it in the hay in the way back where I didn't see it.  Don't think there is another monster in there.  The lamb, I named him Sandy after my friend Sandy McGuire - it's her birthday - is a real sweetie and keeps "rooting" on my leg.  I spent so much time in the jug with him today he thinks I'm his mother.  While holding mom I put his mouth up against her teat and did my best to make him suckle.  He's a little slow on the uptake, sliding his mouth all around but not latching on.  I think I have a bottle baby on my hands.  That presents all kinds of issues, like how the heck do I go to work?  I've taken lambs to work with me before and always got caught.  People see them in my car where I can visit them on my lunch period for bottle feeding and report it to the office.  I sneaked a lamb into the classroom a couple of times. The students loved it but the principal found out and reminded me that we don't have an animal husbandry program at our school.  Matt has heroically taken lambs to work for me without too much trouble, but that's only in a last resort.  All this is very muddy at one forty in the morning.  The intercom is noisy, with Thor barking all night - I noticed that Knut sleeps better than Thor - and roosters crowing.  I heated a milk replacer bottle for Sandy but he's not crazy about it.  I don't blame him.  Nothing like mother's milk.  He's a little uncoordinated with the sucking thing just yet.  I wanted to wander back to the end of the barn, where most moms like to drop their babies, but everybody is lying down like big wooly mounds scattered about and I don't want to make them jump up and run.  Hopefully my chamomile tea will help me get back to sleep and I will be able to figure out what to do in the morning light.  I might have more lambs by then.  Many pregnant girls with huge bellies.  The tiny ewe lambs from yesterday are wonderful, delicate little angels.  They take turns nursing from their aged mother with one working teat.  I picked them up to check their bellies for fullness and mouths for warmth - that's how I take their temperature.  I kissed them and thanked them for being such good little girls.  I need an area for moms and babies so the little ones won't get trampled.  A space that would be perfect for that is taken up with PIGS right now.  I'll figure that out later, after some blessed sleep...

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