Lots of Lambs (and some in slings!)
I think we’re up to 41 lambs now, and we’ve had 6 sets of triplets. So Melissa brought in the smallest of each group, (the smallest always ends up not getting enough to drink from her mother so we help out by feeding it) and now I have 6 bottle lambs. My hands smell like milk. My face smells like milk. My kitchen smells like milk. When I lay in bed at night, I hear lambs yelling for supper. When I stand at the checkout in the grocery store I hear lambs yelling for supper. It’s weird.
All 6 are sold, so I’m just getting them used to the bottle before I send them on their way. Feeding bottle lambs 5 times a day is a lot of work, and I’m always relived to see them go. (So why do I cry every time the people drive away with them? Such a big baby…)
Here they are in their barn pen, getting to know each other.
I’ll post photos from the pasture soon, but I’m pretty busy with these babies for another day. (And now our friend Mary H. is here living with us for a week, so SHE’s out in the pasture with Melissa.) But here’s a photo of a great invention we use on pasture: the lamb sling.
No, it’s not a device for torturing small mammals, but a way to deal with multiple lambs. Say Melissa is out by herself and is trying to process triplets. She puts two lambs in the slings, where they hang from the four-wheeler or a nearby branch. (On this farm lambs really do grow on trees!) By the way, this lamb above was looking totally perky until I got out the camera, then he hangs his head and looks very sorry for himself. What a drama queen.
If Melissa needs to bring a lamb in, she’ll put the sling around her neck so she can drive the 4-wheeler; sometimes she’ll roar up with two lambs around her neck.
The other cool use for a lamb sling is moving ewes. Sometimes we need to move a ewe from Point A to Point B. She won’t move if her lambs don’t come with her, so we catch her lambs and use them as bait. But if we pick them up and hold them in our arms, she thinks her lambs have disappeared. She knows they don’t have wings, so her lambs, to really be her babies, must remain on the ground. Walking across the pasture, bent over, trying to hang on to two 8-pound, squirming lambs and keep them at ground level means a sure trip to the chiropractor. But with lamb slings, you can stand upright, and keep the babies at ground level, where Mama sees them, and follows them. Heck of a system, and low-tech at that.
Last night I took a few hours to run into the Twin Cities and be an author (my new novel is out—The Spanish Pearl—am very excited!), then came home, crawled back into my favorite pair of poop and milk-stained overalls, then it was back to being a farmer.