Monday, April 15, 2013
Yesterday afternoon, Sarah came inside to tell me that the ewe lambs that had been born a couple hours earlier still had not nursed and that the mama's teats were huge. We had something similar happen six or seven years ago, and we had to milk the ewe for a couple of days to keep her teats small enough for the lambs to be able to latch on. So, Sarah, her boyfriend, and Mike went out to the pasture and brought Godiva and her two lambs to the barn.
Thankfully her babies took to the bottle like pros. Each one quickly sucked down six ounces each, which is more than the five percent of their body weight that they need to consume within the first six hours. A few hours later, Sarah offered them another bottle; one took three ounces and the other took six. This morning they were crying like they were starving when we went out to the barn, so Sarah milked Godiva and gave the babies another bottle. After getting the ewe milked out, she and Mike held the lambs up to her teats, and both babies nursed well. This afternoon, however, one side was quite huge again. The babies didn't seem terribly interested in the bottle, only taking about an ounce each, and their tummies don't feel empty, so I think they were getting a decent amount of milk from the one side that they had been nursing on. We milked down the full side, so maybe the lambs will be able to keep up with both sides now. Since Godiva's udder isn't so uncomfortably full now, she wasn't as cooperative at this afternoon's milking and laid down on the milk stand.
Of course, there is a tiny, silly little part of my brain that would be totally okay with the idea of them not being able to nurse because I love sheep yogurt, and if we had to milk the ewe every day, I'd probably be able to sneak a little of her milk to make yogurt a few times over the next few months. But it's not like I have hours of spare time every day and need something to do -- like milk a ewe and bottle feed two lambs. So the logical side of my brain says it will be a good thing when these little ewes are able to nurse full time.