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Don't mess with us

11.06.10 | We are the hooliglambs


This year we've had a bumper crop of bottlefed lambs. It's unusual (last year there were none) and hard work.

There were a couple of illnesses - one ewe with staggers and one set of twins with watery mouth. Sadly one of the twins died. We managed to fix the girl but her mum had forgotten who she was by the time we tried to return her. 

The ewe with staggers was really poorly and could hardly lift her head when we found her on the last round of the evening. Staggers is an acute calcium deficiency and not surprising that we had a case after the severe winter this year. Although ewes can go down to it really quickly and it is easily fatal, it's also easily fixed if you're there in time.

We administered 60cc of a calcium solution and she was able to stand up within the hour. Whilst we were waiting for this almost miraculous recovery, we fed her twins with a bottle. Just once. Unfortunately one of them got a taste for formula and kind of adopted us to feed him - adding another lamb to the count.

The others were all just abandoned - Frosted and Topping first, then Aaron (his mum didn't have much milk and he didn't have much inclination to drink it - we had to intervene), Brian (named after a friend who was invited for dinner the night we found the lamb curled up cold in the shed with no mum - interesting dinner party), and last of all Rosie.

Rosie was an afterthought who appeared two weeks ago and whose mother hadn't even bothered to clean her up before wandering off. A complete mystery. But Rosie herself has the will to live in spades - demanding dinner very firmly!

The result is that my nightly late rounds (usually by bike with two litres of lamb milk in my backpack) involve being met by a squad of noisy mini-ovines, all extremely pleased to see me - and yes they've all crossed a very swish cattle grid to get under my pedals. They're so naughty that I put them in a secure pen (aka lamb slam) overnight so that they can't get into trouble before my morning visit and feed.

They have grown well over the past few weeks and weaning will begin soon.

All we need now is a summer!