Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In The Meanwhile...

Yesterday brought another trip to the doctor in town and of course, we can’t just waste a whole day and all that fuel for just one thing, so we picked up 5 little day-old bummer (orphan) lambs. They look pretty rough, as their mothers were undernourished due to the bad weather destroying the roads and the sheepherder is unable to get enough hay to his 2000 sheep. There were 30 little bummers in the barn where I got these at. I got them from the very nice lady that loaned us Jake the Stinkygoat and Free Wooly the ram. She is the one who is rescuing all the bummers from these 2000 ewes that are lambing out in the mud and snow with no shelter and inadequate feed. The guy who owns all these sheep must be devastated this year.
One of them was already sick, so she had started it on anti-biotics. The anti-biotic she had it on is $100 for a bottle, which is not all that pricey when you have 100 or so orphan lambs to keep going. But since I only need 3 cc’s we bought bottle of different stuff for only $35. It effectively DOUBLED the price of our lambs…which I will not complain about, because we dropped a bundle on extra fencing, lamb nipples, 5 sodas, so we could use the bottles, a soft dog crate to stuff them all into for the ride home, and various other sundry things that go along with having orphan lambs.

Because they are in such sad shape, and not very strong, we had decided to put them in an x-pen in the mudroom to avoid their getting chilled in the barn. It would also prevent me from having to carry 5 bottles up there 4 times a day. Randyman dragged it into the house, we set it up, put a nice blanket down to keep them from chilling on the concrete/linoleum floor and made several trips from the truck to the house carrying the stinky, poopy little lambs inside. No more than 10 minutes went by and the blanket was wringing wet. Implement Plan “B”.

We trotted up to the barn, busted open the fresh bale of straw that Tooney didn’t wait for to have Samby-the-lamby on, and transported the bummers up there. All 5 of them look the same, with the exception of one, and you have to turn him upside-down to see he is different, as he is the only boy. I dove into my yarn stash to locate different colors of string, so I could identify them and keep track of who got their bottle and who did not, as I have only 2 hands. Good thing too, because they all took 2 sips, then walked around, came back for a couple more sips, went exploring…it took a LONG time to get their bottles down them, but my mission was finally accomplished. The most difficult part of the procedure was trying to tell which color the strings were, as they were pastels, and the barn is not very bright. Sometimes I am not either.

The Maremmas came and introduced themselves to their newest charges while I fed, then spent the night in front of the rock wall so they could keep one eye on the barn, and one on the animals behind the house. Occasionally, they would relocate and one dog would remain in front of the barn, and one would come to the back porch, where they normally sleep.

Next morning, I crawled out of bed at 6 a.m. to start making bottles. It takes about 3 quarts of goatsmilk 4x a day to feed these critters right now. I have only been milking 1 goat, 1x a day and getting 3 quarts. My math tells me I am in heap big trouble. The last of the baby goats need to be weaned immediately and I have to start milking both goats 2x a day again, in order to avoid buying milk replacer for these guys.

By 7 a.m. I had the 5 bummers lambs and 1 leppie calf fed. Randyman got up and helped me feed the other two sheep, the goats and the Jersey cows, and I set in to milking my first goat. Afterwards I set about crocheting some thicker collars with brighter colors of yarn that I could see.

Next feeding will be at 11ish then 2 ish, when little ‘lavender collar’ gets her shot, then 6-7ish, when all the animals get fed, milked and supplemented again. No one has a real name yet.

Makes for busy days, but at least it’s warmer than Cowcamp!


  1. I remember feeding 100 4-H bums before they went to their new homes! I thought it was so cool. Then again, I was 12 at the time and they weren't at my house. ;)


  2. I can't even keep track of FIVE! A 100 is definitely out of my league...besides, it would cause my pair of milk goats a nervous breakdown ha!