Notes from Windward: #59

The Lambs in My Life

Fern and Baaaaron
A friendly old ewe named #10 (we bought her at a sale and her ear tag was #10) had twin lambs, but didn't seem able to feed them. Fern came to the rescue with warm bottles of goat's milk. With the assistance of Heather we chased them around the pen. Momma #10 protected her babies from these rough humans trying to catch them for whatever dire reason. At last, after several days of no milk from momma and nice warm milk from a bottle, the lambs got the idea and came to the fence to be fed. Those first few days are always a marathon.

Several weeks later, #10 was taken from the lambing pen to a pen where several other ewes with lambs lived. The twins were so small that when I came along with the bottles morning, noon and night, they would crawl under the fence and come to meet me. By the time they were down to two meals a day, they came up to the kitchen and baaaaed for bottles.

The two lambs, although twins, were different sizes when born and developed at different rates--one being much larger than the other. Since they were neutered males (called wethers) we didn't name them as we do the sheep that will be added to the flock. All babies of any variety are appealing and we can't help but cuddle them.

Next in the nursery was a miserable little fellow whose mother attacked other ewes in the lambing pen. We moved her and the babe to the larger pen so we could watch what went on, and could see that she seemed to ignore her poor baby half the time. Finally, we felt we could do without her since she didn't seem to want to get with the program, and she went off to market. The lamb was a dear little fellow and so alone. He snuggled up to the old ram, Lambie Pie, and after the initial run and snatch, came willingly to the bottle. I felt so sorry for him that I named him Baaarun and he came when I called even when we let him go out with the rest of the flock.

Our flock is multi-breed. Joyce has developed a market with hand spinners, and they especially like natural colored wool, so we have black sheep, white sheep, and colors in between. We've recently added some karakul sheep which come in champagne, copper, black, and greys. Their fleece is especially good for felting. We also acquired a little karakul ram who's a little beige and brown spotted and about two months old. He is the only sheep we have with horns and looks more like a goat than the usual sheep. At two months of age, he was a little young to wean, and since the ewe that came with him was not his mother, we were in the marathon routine again for several days.

Since he is to be sire to the karakuls (when he grows up, of course) we wanted a suitable name for him. Cyrus the Great seemed a little pretentious for the little fellow. Walt suggested Ali Baaa, and since we all thought the name seemed to fit well, he is Ali Baaa. He answers to the name and paces back and forth by the fence calling for his bottle.

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