Following on from my foray into lambing, I could not resist when offered two cade lambs.
They were both from triplets families and the farmer had decided not to raise them the conventional way, allowing their mothers to raise two other siblings each on the same number of bosoms. [Technical term.]
I had already organised my holding number etc and had been cleared to have sheep and goats since last spring, plus I’d read every article going on the web.... I was primed for the call and when it came I said yes!
Both are girls and the sproglets made me promise that they are going to be pets, glorified lawnmowers, (they couldn’t be persuaded to raise meat sheep just yet.)
The smallest lamb, Moon, belongs to the 9yo and the hunky chunky one is the responsibility of the 7yo.... so I’m raising that one!
The tiny one was thought to be a twin, not a triplet and her mother was fed accordingly, hence the disparity in size. She more than makes up for it in personality and can look very like Gismo from the 1984 movie Gremlins.
They are just over one week old and, like all babies, we have had our trials and tribulations. First the big lamb wouldn’t feed. She refused the bottle for almost two days and so I took myself off to the farm shop and bought a syringe which hubby doctored, adding 2” of plastic tube. We fed her several tubes of milk this way and after that she seemed to get a taste for it and soon took to the bottle and the replacement lamb milk.... that costs a fortune.
Raising two lambs like this will cost approximately £60, as well as time and effort so you can understand why the vast majority of farmers are less than enthused with this method. I feed at 6.30am, 11.30am 5.30pm and 11pm and this seems to suffice. When she’s able the 9yo feeds with me and happily gets up for the 6.30 feed, the 7yo has resisted the offer.
At the moment they are in a stable and will probably live there for the next 10 – 15 days till we can wean them onto lamb creep and another molasses feed my friends has told me about. After that they’ll be out in a tiny compound and then onto a larger field.
The next stage is getting them used to their harnesses – essential if we are the ‘show’ at the huge agricultural show in early August. Bearing in mind the growth rate of a lamb I’m rather concerned to see whether my sprogs will walk the ring or be dragged around it... Time will tell!