21 March 2009

Okay, THIS time it was obvious we needed to intervene!

I went outside around five tonight to do chores and check on things, and I noticed Pugsy was all by herself in the sheep shelter, pawing at the ground. Ah, good, I thought, finally she's going to have that lamb!

I headed over and there he was! A big ram lamb already on the ground, and Pugsy hadn't even passed the afterbirth yet. I managed to get her into the sheep feed pen (everyone else was distracted by the hay I set out for them in the pasture) and watched to see how she and the lamb were doing. The lamb was still wet, so I helped get him dried off and poor Pugsy was obviously in a lot of pain with the continuing contractions. She was also famished! She ate and grunted and ate more hay and pawed at the ground and fussed some more. The lamb wouldn't nurse for some reason ... but I thought maybe he was still a bit dazed from birth and she was obviously not comfortable so a few more minutes wouldn't hurt.

The Reluctant Farmer and The Boy came home right about then and helped me get the sheep into the barn, where the lamb STILL would not nurse. Pugsy let me milk her, though, and I put the colostrum into a bottle and tried to get the lamb to take that: no go. He just didn't want to suck, although he'd suck on my finger if I stuck it in his mouth, at least for a minute. Well, we have a solution for that problem: we stuck a tube down his throat (and checked to make sure he'd swallowed it and not inhaled it) and poured the colostrum directly into him. That strategy ignores his opinion of the process entirely!

We got him all the way dry and checked his temperature - which was fine - and then let him go back to mama. A few hours later, he still wasn't able to nurse even with encouragement and help, so in he came again - much to his mama's dismay, she is hollering for him from the barn. He did take some milk from the bottle, and newborns only need about 300 mL a day, so we don't want to overwhelm his system either. He's in the bathroom where it's warm, and he seems okay - not really perky but not really sick either. We had another one like this a couple of years ago, wouldn't take the bottle (and we didn't know how to tube feed yet, so boy was that a struggle) and after three days of babying she went back to her mama who took her right back and all was well! That doesn't happen often, but hey, it's nice to know it's possible.

We haven't settled on a name yet ... working through our E list. I'll get a picture up soon!

Update: He's taking the bottle nicely now that he's warmed up ... we have him sleeping in the bathtub (without water!) so that we don't have to worry about him being underfoot if we need to use the loo. He seems content to just sleep ... we'll give him some more milk in a bit and take him back to his mama in the morning.


  1. Well, I wish you luck and hope this ewe takes him okay. Wonder why he won't suck from the mother. Hope he catches on soon. Sometimes I have gotten the teat into the lamb's mouth and squirted milk in its mouth. sometimes helps, sometimes not. Hope all well with this fellow. How come you are on the letter "E" and not "W" for CLRC?

  2. He's doing much better now! He is out with mama and seems to be nursing fine. No idea why he wouldn't suck at first - but there was no way.

    We are on "E" because we don't have registered stock, so we didn't even know CLRC existed when we started. :) We had a lamb born to 'Cookie' that The Boy wanted to call 'Crumb' (get it?) ... and then we heard about this whole 'naming by letter' idea, and so we started with C that year and carried on from there.

    So, we're just different. :)

  3. Anonymous10:12 pm

    I'm delighted to hear about the new arrival and pleased he's gone back to his mother. My Harrowsmith magazine talks about calico lambs (for pets!) but I can't find them on the net - do you have any idea about these?


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