The Bottle Lamb
It’s been several years since we raised a bottle lamb, usually I give them to someone else because of the trouble they are. they are time consuming, expensive, and often end in heartbreak either because they don’t make it or they do not thrive.
This year I made an exception. We had an unusual number of lambs that needed assistance, some that could remain with their mothers but just needed a little more nutrition, and 2 that have had to be on the bottle full time. One, the mother died and the other the mom didn’t have much milk. The first has acclimated to being a sheep, maybe because it was able to be with it’s mother for a longer period, and had learned to “bum” off other moms when it’s mother passed. The other however spent the first several weeks in our kitchen in a playpen, and now has no concept that it is a sheep.
For starters, she WILL NOT stay in the field with other sheep. I occasionally have resorted to penning her in the dog kennel for her own safety, although there is no forage there and it can only be for very short periods of time. She is still on the bottle, even though she is old enough to no longer need it, very much like a child “needing” their bottle for bed, or their binky for comfort. So if I open the back door for any reason, she may scoot in the house, complaining loudly of her neglect. When I work outside she follows me around. Even if she had been in the field she will find a way to be with me, no matter how many times I plug the newest escape hole.
I have decreased her number of bottles a day, and diluted the amount of powdered replacement in the formula. As I sit here in the house on the computer, she is currently wandering around the outside baaing her loudest in protest, much like a dog barking to be let in. She wakes us up, she trips us up, cars slow down along the road to see her loose in the yard.
Please be a sheep, I say. Stay with your buddies, I say. Stay in the field, I say. Eat the grass, I say. You are not a dog, I say. And what does the lamb say? BAAA!