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Broken Bonds Repaired

Well... we experienced our first lamb being rejected by his mom (a first time mom). We found him first thing Monday morning being babysat by our guard dogs. He was just comfortably lying there flanked by the dogs, with his mom nowhere in sight. He had already been licked clean and was dry. (By whom? We don't know!)

We found his mom grazing with the other sheep we put her in a stall with her baby. She smelled him, but apparently he didn't smell right, because she'd butt him if he came too close while she was eating or if he tried to nurse. So then we ran to the store to get a halter. We used it to force her to let him nurse periodically throughout the rest of the day and into the night.

The next day, we crept up to the stall and saw her letting him nurse! However, just to make sure he was getting enough, we still did a couple "forced feedings". By the afternoon, we'd just put him near her back legs (without haltering her) and watch to make sure she let him nurse. At first, she'd make a motion as if she were going to butt him but then would smell him instead. Apparently after nursing for ~24 hours, he now smelled like her son! Victory! By that evening, she was making "sheep mom noises" when he nursed and was content with his company (stopped baa-ing to be with the other sheep when she sensed their presence).

Today, we put them both in a little field to see how they'd do. She made sure he stayed by her side by calling him, like our other good sheep mamas do, if she couldn't see him or if he wandered more than a foot away! He followed her around and imitated her every move (as much as he could). So, not only is she now encouraging him to nurse, but she seems to be mothering him like a pro!

The lessons and experiences this "farm life" has brought never cease to amaze me!

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