Well, Long Tail’s tale of motherhood had a lovely beginning, but a less-than-desirable end.
Long story short, she has milk, or at least it seems like it; However, for some reason, the milk isn’t being released into her teats for the lambs to suckle. I found them in the barn yesterday morning, cold and weak. After bottle feeding them some frozen sheep milk that I had stashed back, they revived. The rest of the day, as I checked on them, they’d be hollow bellied and bleating until I fed them. Despite their attempts, it’s clear that they get very little milk from their mama.
So now we have bottle lambs.
This is one of those farm things that sounds like more fun than it is in reality. Lambs have to be fed every four or five hours. Even in the middle of the night. Even when it’s cold. Even when it’s rainy.
From what I’ve heard, one difficult thing about bottle lambs is that they bond with humans rather than sheep. This can be a nuisance as they get older. You want sheep to stay together. Their flocking instinct protects them. So, we’re hoping that if we leave the lambs with their mama for most of the time, they will still understand that they are sheep. We bring them up to the house and leave them caged in the garage for night feedings. And out they go to the barn with mom in the morning and all day.
I’m feeding them milk that I get from my milk cow, Millie. The milk is rich, but since sheep need more fat than calves, I usually add extra cream to the lambs’ bottle milk.
I named these lambs myself. I’m not super creative, and I was concerned that the lambs were identical. We wouldn’t be able to tell if one or the other was getting sick if we couldn’t tell them apart. Upon further study, I noticed that one lamb had a dot of brown on her chin. That made her Dot and her sister, who is pure white, is called No-Dot.