Monday, March 8, 2010

"Wonder" the Lamb

On Wednesday, February 24, one of our ewes had triplets (2 ewe lambs and one ram lamb).  She seemed to be taking care of all 3, so we left them with her.  On Thursday, February 25, we moved the ewes to another paddock that offered shelter under some large oak trees in anticipation of weekend storms.  On Friday afternoon, I went through the sheep after a heavy downpour and was disappointed to find one of the triplets, a ewe lamb, missing.  Since we'd seen great horned owls and eagles around, I assumed that we'd had our first aerial predator loss.

This past Monday (March 1), we moved the sheep again.  Our intern, Alice, heard a lamb calling from near the trees in the old paddock, but she couldn't see anything.  Investigating more carefully, Alice found a hole at the base of the largest oak.  She could hear a lamb but couldn't see it until she stuck her head down the hole.  To our amazement, she pulled the ewe lamb out of the hole!  She was very thin, but definitely alive.  After missing all of her meals over the weekend, she was ready to nurse on anything that moved.  Unfortunately, her mother had forgotten about her by this time, so brought her home to raise her on a bottle.  On the ride home, she tried to nurse on the steering wheel, on my elbow, and on the border collies.  She took to the bottle immediately and seems to be thriving here at home.

We've tried to select our sheep for their hardiness, but this ewe lamb's example is extreme!  Alice named her "Wonder Lamb" (a play on Alice in Wonderland), and "Wonder" is one of those lambing stories we'll talk about the rest of our lives, I'm sure!

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