Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Bottle feeding two lambs last night because their mum wasn't able to give them sufficient milk. Brought them indoors, fed them during the night, one hasn't made it and is just breathing his last breaths, the other one is doddery and may or may not make it. The mum is off in the fields, having forgotten that she has lambs. 

This is hard. Part of me wants the remaining lamb, a boy, to pass over because of the hardship he will face as a virtually orphan lamb. Because he is bonding to us he will have to face the rejection of us when he is older and he has to be out with the rest of the flock. He would still need a milk feed so I would go and find him so he can have it, but then he will want to follow me to stay with me and I shall have to shoo him away. I don't like doing that, but it has to be done otherwise he will not integrate properly with the flock because he will think he is not a sheep but a human. 

So he is on his own now. He needs frequent feeds and to stop him from becoming depressed and giving up we talk to him, let him know that there is someone around albeit of a different species to him. I have encouraged him to walk up and down to exercise his little body, and I have given him a pillow so he can 'pretend' he still has his brother to snuggle up to. I am trying not to let him bond to me, but I suspect that he is. It is difficult not to pick him up and cuddle him, but I try not to. 

As I have said, part of me thinks it would be kinder to let him go, but the other part of me needs to try to make him live. 

All the adult goats have had their young, but are still fighting it out as to who is now going to top of the herd. I thought that goats were the most gentlest of creatures, and it was a surprise when they started knocking each other about. Head on clashes was the mode of fighting plus some in-close wrestling, body against body. At first we intervened but a search on the Internet said that female goats will fight either before or after the birth of their young, so that a pecking order is established. So we left them to get on with it. Crikey but their heads must be made of concrete! The force with which they clashed horns would do credit to the biggest pair of stags who are fighting. 

The two brothers:

The one who remains to fight on:


rusty duck said...

Oh, poor little lamb. Yes that is hard. I hope he survives.

Jean said...

It's heartbreaking to hear that the mum has neglected her babies, poor little things.
I don't think I could resist giving them a cuddle, even though it's not the best thing for them in the long run.
Looking after animals certainly has its ups and downs - lots of joy but also some heartache.

Denise said...

Absolutely heartbreaking, Vera. I know that you will have done your very best for the lambs, and I hope the fighter survives and reintegrates with his flock.

Everything for a purpose.


John Gray said...

Cuddle him Vera....sod the "rules"

Vera said...

Jessica, he is still with us, but only just.

Jean, the ups and downs of having animals certainly makes for an interesting life, but I wouldn't change it for the world!

Denise, thanks for the 'everything for a purpose'. I have been asking the Universe 'why' today!

John, bless you, I have been cuddling him, and, as you say, 'sod the rules'!

Horst in Edmonton said...

I would say cuddle the little guy, he will adjust as he gets older, males are more loners and will adjust. Since he is a male you may want to put him in the fridge before he is sexually active, unless he is ment to be for breeding.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Life is never easy with breeding animals and there is always a heart breaking incident happening somewhere. I think you are doing remarkably well when you are not brought up to that sort of life. Happy New Year Diane

DUTA said...

Try to save the lamb regardless of the consequences!

Niall & Antoinette said...

It is so very hard but I hope the fighter is still hanging in there. Agree with John, give him a cuddle and sod the 'rules'.