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:
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.