Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Finally - bottle success!

Although our sheep are generally very healthy, we've had a couple of bummer lambs here and there.  And it's always been a struggle to get them to take a bottle, and we end up using a dose syringe and trying to feed them little tiny drips at a time for a long time. 

Well, finally, we found a nipple that our most recent orphan will take.  She was fighting it for awhile, and we would hold down this ewe she liked and let her nurse and try to feed her with a dose syringe, too, but she finally takes the bottle.  It's a sad thing it is one of those nipples you have to stretch over the bottle top (I have wimpy fingers), but watching lots of ounces go down her throat and her little tail spinning away in joy makes the frustration of trying to put it on the bottle worth it.  Sometimes I still hold the ewe and I suspect she is nipping in on all the ewes during the day out in the pasture - I've seen her dart in there, get a bit, and get out of the way. 

It's a huge relief. 

We sold all our males and a few of the ewes I wasn't interested in keeping all on one day two weeks ago.  It was a great relief, an answer to prayer.  Now we just have 3 ewes and 7 lambs, since the same night we sold all the others one of our ewes died.  I still don't know why.  She wasn't acting ill, seemed perfectly fine the day before.  6 of the 7 lambs are ewe lambs and I castrated the ram lamb.  I want to bring in a new ram at the end of this year - to let these lambs grow up a bit and give the mamas a break.  Actually, I want to bring in two new rams and rotate them between two groups of ewes. 

In the meantime, we can enjoy these little lambs.  This is the most lambs we've ever had at one time - all born with in a week, for the most part.  They have their own little joyful dynamic going. 

1 comment:

Ruth Dixon said...

How exciting, and yay for finding a nipple she'll take. I know what you mean with those ones you have to slide over the bottle. It's surprisingly stressful, isn't it. We lost my favorite ewe this year, when baby was just 3 days old. He's being bottle raised by one of my 4-H'ers. It's my first major loss in this sheep raising experience and I was heartbroken. Our babies were spread out over about 3 weeks, much better than the 2 months of last year though.