It doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally, a baby lamb is abandoned by her mother. That happened to us this year and it was a learning experience for us. Luckily we found the baby in time and were able to bottle feed her and find her a new home.
I was on my way home from a business trip when my husband called to say that Mom, one of our ewes, had given birth to one baby. I thought it was odd because she usually has twins, but she’s older so I didn’t think much of it. A few hours later, my husband called again, he found another baby lamb which he was pretty sure was Mom’s, but she was refusing it. The baby was cleaned off, so Mom knew she had it, but must have walked away and forgotten when she had her second baby. But the baby was weak, to weak to nurse and not getting the colostrum that is critical in the first few hours after birth.
It was 7:30pm, I was about 45 minutes from home and the feed store closed at 8:00pm. I instructed my husband to get the bottle and colostrum replacement, and hoped I would get home in time. He brought the baby inside and put her in basket with towels so it would be warm until I got home.
She was pretty weak when I got home, but I mixed up the colostrum and started feeding her. I spent the night on the couch with her on my stomach, giving her colostrum every couple hours. My morning she was much stronger and we could see she was going to be fine. After that first day, we switched her to lamb milk replacer and she continued to get stronger.
I have to say I developed quite a bond with her. She was so sweet, making little cooing noises. She poked at my face when she needed to eat and slept on my lap for the next day or two until she gained enough strength to walk around. I knew she was too weak to introduce her to the flock, and I wasn’t sure that I could manage her on my own. I contacted another farmer with a young family who said he as interested in taking her.
She was named “Midnight” and the last I heard, she was doing well, following everyone around the house and getting ready to go outside with her new sheep family. We are so glad this had a happy ending.