The two lambs have names – the lamb below is called Prince – he has little black boots and loves to dance – no really he dances a lot, even though he doesn’t have much to dance about.
The one at the top of the post with mum is called The Revolution (look it up on google if you are wondering why).
Number 37 (the mum) can’t count. She has a lamb and thinks “how lovely, I have a lamb” she has another one, but she can only count to one and she already has a lamb so she rejects the second one.
She is a diligent, lovely mother to The Revolution – snuffling at him, licking him, nuzzling him and letting him nurse. She headbutts Prince across the stall. She doesn’t think he is her lamb.
This is not good news. Yesterday morning I managed to help Prince get some colostrum which set him up initially. I then topped him up with some dried colostrum in a bottle, but bottle feeding a lamb is a big commitment better to try and persuade the mum that she has two lambs.
Andrew, our friend who is a shepherd came by and told me what to do. First we smeared the afterbirth all over Prince. This is not as disgusting as it sounds – remember I have spent all morning sitting in afterbirth and other gunk trying to get Prince to feed while being headbutted by No.37. Then we brought the dog in.
The job of a sheep dog is not just to round up sheep, it is to try and activate the primal instincts of a mum to protect her lambs. No.37 wasn’t convinced by this – she gave me a look as if to say that’s not a wolf, he may be noisy but he does what you tell him to, he’s not a threat. Poor Kainaat!
Next idea was to tie her up with some string. This way she can get to food and water, but she can’t turn found and headbut Prince.
This worked a bit. James held the sheep and I managed to get Prince to suckle a couple of times during the day.
However James isn’t always about, so I have developed a technique to do it by myself which doesn’t involve me getting headbutted or kicked. Sometimes I use my head to push her against the hurdle.
Sometimes I pop her favoured lamb – The Revolution by her head and she is happy to nuzzle him and let Prince feed
Today we are building an adoption pen to try and resolve the situation – more on this later.
No.37 did this last year as well – she rejected Little George. She is not getting another chance as she will be off to the abattoir in a few months and we will spend the winter eating tasty slow-cooked mutton stews.
For a brief moment yesterday at about 6am before the campsite woke up, I got to sit with the lambs, drink green tea from a flask and listen to the radio while hoping that No.37 would take to Prince – it was a beautiful moment.
And then it was another non-stop day including working on editing the book manuscript, doing tours of the new lambs and checking my hives and finding out one was stuffed full of sealed queen cells and bees so on the point of swarming. Of course I couldn’t find the queen so couldn’t do a regular artificial swarm. I was going to go back and do it yesterday, but between the campsite, lambs, egg collection, cooking mole and other chores it got too late so this is a job for early this morning.
No news on the other lambs, but hopefully there should be something happening today.