Being a Momma Sheep

In the last post, you may have read about my travails with Janet and her twin offspring- that the boy was with her and the girl in the house with me.  Well, a few days later both lambs were at our house.  The ram lamb had bonded to humans.  To cut a long explanation short, his bond to humans meant that he couldn’t be in with the other sheep because he kept transgressing the lamb social order in order to approach humans and was at risk of being pounded into a wall by Dot, our fiercest mother ewe.

This lamb is in the house.  For now.
This lamb is in the house. For now.

As fun as it was to have lambs sleeping peacefully by the woodstove, lambs are livestock and belong outside for reasons I shouldn’t even have to list.   If we just booted them out into the barn without a period of acclimatization, however, they could develop pneumonia and die.  So we’ve compromised- the lambs live in the shed with a heat lamb that we’re slowly retracting.  They seem happy there.

late Jan 2013 009
The lambs live in the shed now.


Their routine (and ours!) revolves around feedings six times per day at fairly even intervals (they do have to hang on between Jaska feeding them at midnight and me waking up at 6).   We warm about 10 ounces of milk replacer up to a pleasant 100ish degrees.  The lambs are usually sleeping when we step into the shed, but are quickly on their feet and begging for milk.   I alternate feeding each one, while Jaska feeds one completely, then the other.  They behave like they would like a gallon of milk, but overfeeding them can lead to diarrhea and death, so we’re conservative.  They’re filling out quickly and growing like weeds.  Once they’re old enough to nurse less frequently, they’ll be able to join their compatriots in the barn.

late Jan 2013 015
Agnes the lamb enjoys some milk


Meanwhile, no one else has lambed yet.  We’re just hanging around waiting.

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