As if changeover Saturdays aren’t busy enough, last Saturday saw Chris and I unsticking a stuck lamb in the evening. We hadn’t expected any lambs this year as we’d got rid of our ram and thought that we’d removed the twin males born last year, Florian and Fabian, from the girls in time. Obviously not! And so Lamborjeanie arrived.
Her mother is the nameless daughter of our Mrs Suffolk, our – you guessed it – Suffolk ewe. This daughter has always been decidedly odd and we suspect she suffered brain damage at birth. However, she’s a happy soul, and now she’s a mum. But not a very good one. She didn’t have a clue what to do with her lamb once we’d got her safely out into the world. Admittedly the delivery was traumatic for her, with the lamb becoming firmly wedged for a while before we were able to ease her out, and then we had to move mother and baby to one of the stables. All this necessitated a lot of manhandling, which she wasn’t used to at all, and so this added to the stress. We had to move them because, on hearing the lamb’s bleat, Mrs Eyebrows, our hyper-maternal ewe, came hurtling over. We lost one of Mrs Suffolk’s twins two years ago when Mrs Eyebrows muscled in and ‘fostered’ one of them. We needed to get our pair away from her well-intentioned but potentially disastrous interference.
Having rehoused Lamborjeanie and her mum, we now needed to get milk into baby. We tried to get her latched on but to no avail. Both animals were fighting us! Mother was becoming upset so we backed off. Whilst she wasn’t hostile to the lamb, she wasn’t showing any interest in her at all so we kept a close eye on what was happening. After several more hours of non-maternalism I dug out a baby bottle and got some cow’s milk into Lamborjeanie. It wasn’t a perfect solution but it was better than nothing. During Sunday we were able to get some all-important colostrum into Lamborjeanie. Feeding remained tricky so we kept the bottle-feeding going. Ruadhri has been a great help.
After five days of wrestling with mum and baby four times a day to get sheep’s milk into Lamborjeanie, we admitted defeat and are now exclusively bottle-feeding her with a mixture of cow’s and goat’s milk. Now that she’s a week old I can start to give her a little lamb meal. She and her mum are back in the field with the others and she’s taking everything in her stride – grass, chickens, llamas, mud, cats and dogs. She’s very independent and doesn’t always follow the four ladies around, preferring to potter around in the sheep shed and occasionally bellow for attention. She comes running when she sees us appear with her next meal!