When I was heading across the field to let the sheep out, about halfway there I heard a newborn lamb screaming bloody murder. My first reaction was “Newborn lamb! Yay, what a good sound!”
My second reaction, close on the heels of the first, was “Uh-oh, newborn lamb screaming loud enough to hear halfway to the house is not a good sound.” Baby lambs that are being fed and taken care of make soft little happy bleats, not ear-splitting shrieks.
Sure enough, Mira and her baby were in opposite corners of the jug and had no interest in each other. Mira hadn’t even licked her baby off. I tried to make Mira let the baby nurse, but she kept attacking the lamb every time I brought it near. The baby had been born long enough that she was up and walking and the birthing fluids had half-dried to her wool, so I thought it better not to wait any longer to get food in her. I brought her in the house and gave her powdered colostrum and let her take a nap, then tried again to get Mira to take her with no luck.
So, bad news: I have another bottle baby. Good news: Mini-Mira is a ewe! And she’s big, full term, healthy, and very vigorous, so she’s already better off than Mira was at her age. Plus, it’s plenty warm outside so she won’t be cooped up in the house battling hypothermia for weeks.
“OK, I sniffed the grass a little bit. Now I think I want another bottle!”
She’s a cute little almost-black lamb. She has the classic Soay spot on the back of her head, and white spots inside her ears that are just adorable.
“Do YOU have my bottle?”
“Well? Somebody’s got to be my mommy, and mommies are supposed to have milk! Somebody give me milk!”
No dripping colostrum a drop at a time via syringe for this lamb! I’m more worried about her eating too much than not enough.
“Is there milk in your elbow?”
Definitely a “jump up and suck the fencepost” type of lamb, as my advisor in college would have called her.
“Milk! Milk! Milk!”
The fencepost, the towels we dried her off with, my shirt, my face, anything she can get her mouth on.
Mira’s not doing as well. I think she’ll be ok, she expelled the afterbirth and everything just fine, but it was a big ordeal and now she doesn’t have a lamb to distract her from how she’s feeling. She’ll be fine once she’s had some time to rest, but I’m going to worry about her anyway until she’s back to normal. She’s still my baby, after all.
The new baby’s name is Angel, a little bit because of the holiday, a little bit because Angel matches Miracle, and a little bit after Mira’s twin brother, Snow Angel. So far she’s been a very well-behaved lamb, so hopefully the name isn’t wishful thinking.