Lambing for Beginners Part III

 The sheep barn

With the number of lambs fast approaching the 250 mark, the sheep barn is starting to bulge as much as an expectant ewe. What started off as a couple of pens in the corner has grown into a lamb empire that encompasses the entire bergerie. Faced with a sudden shortage of portable pens, my father-in-law spent the last few days in a frenzy of cutting and hammering, making new ones from old palettes and any other piece of wood that didn’t still have the roots attached.

One of the reasons that so many pens are needed is the exceptionally high number of twins that have been born this year. To increase the chances of the lamb feeding properly and to prevent it from straying from its mother, they are enclosed together in an individual pen for the first couple of days.

The farmer needs to keep a close eye on them, checking that the mother has milk and that the lamb is growing. Most lambs are able to feed from their mothers. Those lambs unlucky enough to have a mother with little or no milk, will receive the ovine equivalent of formula milk. Just like the real stuff, it is mixed with warm water and distributed in a bottle.
This one is a bottle for a famille nombreuse:

Bottle for feeding lambs

Care needs to be taken that the lambs do not over-indulge when they are very small as too much formula milk gives them digestive problems which may kill them. The lambs are bottle-fed about four times a day, to the great delight of our children and any other person who happens to drop by to check out life in this little community.

Lambs being bottle fed

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10 Responses to Lambing for Beginners Part III

  1. David says:

    I wish I was there to help out at feeding time. They are so cute!

    DG

  2. Lizzy says:

    I will be thinking of this when I am bottle feeding my next baby so as to remind myself that it could be worse… much worse. =)

    Those baby lambs are adorable!

  3. tut-tut says:

    These are great photographs, providing a wonderful window on what it takes to raise animals: a lot of work!

  4. Your lambs are adorable! What breed of sheep do you raise? You have done a wonderful job explaining the whole lambing scene. 250 is a LOT!!!

  5. meredith says:

    My mom spent part of her childhood on her grandparents’ sheep farm in South Dakota…I remember her telling about being able to bottle feed the lambs that needed it.

  6. What an amazing operation!

    What do the paint spray marks mean on the lambs’ backs?

  7. Kathleen says:

    With all the attention these newborns seem to require, I can’t help but wonder what the survival rate is for those born “in the wild.” Life seems pretty precarious for these little ones. The photos are adorable. What can be cuter?

  8. That last image is so very sweet. I could never kill them. I am a coward.

  9. Mary Alice says:

    You guys are so busy. Thanks for putting these photos up so we can see the operation. I remember visiting friends as child and watching their little lambs out in the pasture. I was enthralled.

  10. Kenleigh Acres – the sheep are a local Alpine race called “Les Préalpes du Sud”.
    AuthorMom – The lambs are sprayed with the same mark / letter as their mum, so they can be easily paired up in case they are separated.

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