Last night I got a call from our 4H sheep leader asking if I had remembered to go buy milk replacer.
"No ... do you need some?"
"Nope, but I have bottle lambs for you!"
She had a first time mother who rejected her baby lamb completely, and a twin whose mama didn't have enough milk for both her babies. Our 4H leader knew we were looking for market lambs for this year's 4H project, so here they are!
The black lamb, Cupid, is a Suffolk/Ramboulliet wether who was born February 12; the white lamb, Cherub, is a Columbia/Hampshire ewe born yesterday evening. As they came to us on St. Valentine's Day, we thought Cupid and Cherub were appropriate names.
The two babies are doing very well so far, although bottle lambs can be challenging to raise and the first three days are the riskiest time for infection and digestive troubles. Fortunately, some of the other ewes in our leader's flock have milk to spare, so we'll be able to give these little ones regular doses of "the good stuff" in addition to their main diet of artificial milk.
Bottle lambs are a significant undertaking. For the first week or so they need multiple small feedings every day, which is a challenge when you have to be at school and work! We decided that The Boy will stay home tomorrow and look after his new charges (they are his, after all, and there must be some perks to having excellent grades). For the upcoming days, Gram and Grandpa have volunteered for lamb-sitting, being the wonderful grandparents that they are! It sure is good to have them near by, and it is an extra bonus that they actually enjoy these farm sorts of activities. Grandpa regularly heads outside to pitch hay and play with the big dogs, and Gram cuddles the bunnies and gathers eggs. I'm sure they'll enjoy the lambs, too.
These two will live indoors for the next few weeks, spending their time in the bathroom or snoozing on the nicely heated floor. In a few days we'll be able to keep them in diapers, which will simplify floor clean up greatly. When the weather warms up and they are eating some solid food on their own, they can move outdoors with the other sheep.
The Boy will be working on setting up his sheep record book tomorrow (and writing a couple of book reports he needs to hand in at school), while I head back to work after a couple of days down with a mild bout of stomach flu. My head still hurts, but I'm mostly functional, so I guess it's time to head back.
I suppose that means I should get some more rest ... I'll be up early mixing enough milk replacer to last the day!