At our farmhouse, I can tell what month it is even without looking at the calendar. Besides all the activity that lambing in January brings, it almost always includes taking a shower in a bathroom full of lambs. This January is no exception. Last week we had several bone chilling days of below zero temperatures. Every day, there would be a lamb that was near death, not to mention those that didn’t make it through the cold.
Most of the newborn lambs pull through but there is always the lamb whose mother won't accept it for many reasons. First time and young mothers often don't know what to do with their lambs. Some mothers have twins and only want to care for one. Other mothers would like to care for both twins but they don't produce enough milk. Sometimes, lambs are born outside of the barn and it is just too cold for them to survive.
When The Farmer walks in the door, Julia and I never know what he'll have in his arms. These four little lambs were all "goners" as he calls it. But with a little TLC, lamb formula, heat from our woodstove and fireplace, sometimes some dextrose injections to bring them back, all of these guys survived. He is no miracle worker - just a good and patient farmer. Not all of the lambs he brought inside survived but I won't bore you with those stories. It's just the way it is.
Bottle lambs get fed "lamb milk replacer" which smells just like infant formula. They get fed 4 to 5 times a day. We purchase lamb and goat nipples by the dozen which fit perfectly on a plastic soda bottle. The dogs think this lamb in the house thing is the greatest.
During "lambs in the house" season, my sponge mop and diluted bleach solution are my friends. Thank goodness I decided on tile for my bathroom when I re-did it several years ago. And thank goodness I’m not a neat freak nor one of those people who use antibacterial soap every other minute. If that is you, I strongly advise not visiting us over the next month.
Next week, when it warms up, these four little guys will be moving outside to a temporary shelter. It sure will be a shock for them but they have warm little wooly coats on and will do just fine.