From 12 – 22: The Flock Grows: Bottle Baby, Chapter 3

"I'm going to feed my father's flock,
His young and tender lambs
That over hill and over dales
Lie waiting for their dams."
-"Searching for lambs", English Folk Song

When I left off yesterday, the count of lambs was 5, right?  Maggie had kidnapped Nikki’s twin, and then Maggie had rejected one of her own twins.  Meanwhile Nikki & Pansy had one little ram lamb apiece to nurse and Maggie had 2, leaving one more(Aisling) for us to connect with a wet-nurse.

We did, indeed, manage to get Aisling some feedings off of Maggie.  But it only happened by either stanchioning Maggie, in which she still made great attempts to step on or kick her little one out-of-the-way, or by sitting on her, practically, and putting her in a hold so that she couldn’t move away while Aisling latched on for a feeding.

Stanchioning and sitting on Maggie couldn't help Aisling to score a decent meal! Char and friend Tristan try to help by holding Oliver and Seamus out-of-the-way.

The feedings were inconsistent and brief.  We needed to get that little girl some sustenance because by the end of the second day, she had really started to show the signs of waning energy that told me it would become serious, fast, if we didn’t put her on a supplement.  I picked her up to take her out of the stall altogether to figure things out and Maggie started bleating her head off.  Surprised that she was at all interested in her baby, I came back into the stall.  She dashed over to inspect that Aisling was o.k., so I put Aisling down on the ground for her.  Aisling immediately went to suckling and Maggie fussed over her as though she was the returned prodigal daughter.  After a few minutes, Maggie had a change of heart and decided to butt her out-of-the-way, out of her sight.

How tragic it is to watch this sort of mental and physical abuse unfold, especially when you’re talking about a 2 day old lamb.  It was heart breaking.  But we decided to start these “stress” feedings with Aisling if it would help get her some nutrition, not sure if the calories lost in the stress of being removed, then being reunited, then being butted was worth the number of calories and colostrum she would consume when she did latch on.

After about 6 hours of this, we decided no, enough, and brought her into the house.

snuggling with the rescue lamb

The first night was a little rough for me, with feeding her every two hours, being peed on in bed, and me fighting the flu, but Aisling responded nearly instantly to the nurturing.  She curled up right under my chin whenever she wasn’t awake and her tiny wooly self breathed so steadily and deeply…it was like a little angel body next to me.

So now we have a bottle baby, in the house, and I’m not sure my husband is down with it, but it is what it is.  We’ll figure out what to do with her eventually.  Her days are fabulously filled now with outings to Char’s school, frolicking out on the lawn, and visiting her brothers in her old stall.  When she goes in for playtime, they greet her enthusiastically and everyone jumps around like they’re a lamb or something.  Maggie still likes to butt her away if she gets too close, but she’s learned to keep her distance mostly.  When I bring her into the house, she enjoys running around and greeting the cats and dogs and ‘baaaas’ when she sees me with her bottle.

Daughter Sarah Jane, home for her birthday weekend and Easter, helped with the midnight, 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. feedings so that Farmer Tam could get some much-needed sleep.

Night feedings have stopped in that little bit of time.  She tucks in at around 11 and is good until 6a.m..  Jim brought home diapers last night, which fit her fabulously after we cut a slit in them for her tail to peek out, and that helps.  I think they look ridiculous, but it is definitely helping to save on clean-up.  Charlotte and I have to travel in the upcoming week and I wasn’t sure what we’d do with Aisling, but my brother-in-law volunteered to help out and so, bless his heart, I don’t think he needs to have his house trashed by lamb pee-puddles!

I think Aisling’s story warranted its own post and I will finish the other lambing stories soon.  Peace to you this day.

Back door guests are best!


22 responses to “From 12 – 22: The Flock Grows: Bottle Baby, Chapter 3

  1. lamb in a diaper!!!!! We were having the exact same problems until we put all ewes in lambing pens. Within 3 days all nursing problems solved…but they will always have favorites and the “unfavorites” may nurse only when favie is chugging away

    • Oh those mamas can behave poorly sometimes! But I suppose we can’t always have all of the answers so we do our best!

  2. Tammy, what an adventure!! If I get the courage, I’ll stick with chickens – though my son is now talking about sheep too. I’ve seen photos of peacocks in your house but can’t imagine a lamb in your bed! You’re a riot!!

    • Some might not be so kind, Kara! I’ll take the compliment 🙂
      Go for it with the chickens- they’re so easy (my alias is “That Chicken Lady!”) But look me up when it’s time to make the plunge and I can talk you through it.
      Thanks for the note, friend!

  3. Incredible the gifts God gives that we never expect! And what a woman you are! Memories to treasure in the family for a lifetime. Thanks for giving me a smile.

    • You’re welcome, Curtiss Ann! I am grateful for the compliments, though you know how it is working with whatever gets thrown at you! Feels a little tedious, sharing the details, but at the same time I am hoping it will help someone else who may be going through similar ups and downs. I’m happy you got a smile out of it and thank you for the kind words!

    • Thanks! I feel her humiliation, though -wish I could dress it up somehow to blend in with her pretty wool! But in the end, it makes it a whole lot less work to have her in the house, and of course, her favorite thing was the carpets to tinkle on!

  4. The little lamb that you rescued looks so adorable… with or without the diaper. Many years ago, we had twin calves in our garage… after their mother died giving birth. My brothers and sisters named the calves Pixie and Dixie. I remember bucket feeding Pixie and Dixie… and constantly cleaning up the garage floor. The diaper on the baby lamb is a good idea!

    • Oh my goodness – that would’ve been a shovel job for sure! It’s funny how we don’t plan on diapers on lambs or calves in the garage but when faced with it, you do your best. It only goes to show that we really have so much more to offer than we imagine. I wonder, how did Pixie & Dixie fare as adults? Were they needy? Bossy? Friendly? My concern about Aisling is that she be well-adjusted as a full grown ewe and have flock mates.
      Thank you for visiting the farm and your comment!

  5. Pingback: From 12 – 22: The Flock Grows: Ready to Relax, Chapter 4 | Wing and a Prayer Farm·

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