With Spring just around the corner and shearing nearly over it’s about to get even busier, woollier and cuter around here with lambing season about to start in mid September.
It was a busy week following the big snow storm, and we’ve been on the look out for any early arrivals that might have been born during the tumultuous time of run-away fires and snow fall.
Several flocks that had been taking shelter in the sheds had lambed early, and in the mornings we’re greeted by a lot of new little faces.
But so often during bad weather and the shock of being moved quickly into sheds to weather out storms some ewes lamb early, and also there’s a higher chance that they might reject their babies.
Which is where I come in…
We have a whole nursery unit setup at the farm house and if we can get the baba’s warmed up and feeding soon enough there’s a strong chance that they will pull through without the help of their Mum.
So off we went scouting for abandoned lambs…
You’d think it would be easy to spot fresh white little woolly bodies in the stark brown bush. But it’s instinctual that they become instantly good at hiding. So you have to keep your eyes peeled.
Often when they hear our footsteps, they think it’s their Mama coming back for them and they bleat like mad. But they don’t often have the strength, so you really have to look hard.
This little one had his Mom nearby, but her milk hadn’t dropped yet and her udder was completely dry. This was her first baby, and at 18 months old, she was a bit clueless about what to do with her new woolly baby.
We took them both back to the farm house, and kept them in the shed hoping Mum would drop her milk and get into the swing of being a Mommy.
Unfortunately she just didn’t take to the idea. But thankfully we have a massive bag of lamb formula and loads of baby bottles. We’ve also been freezing surplus colostrum from other Mums and freezing it in ice-cube trays for times like this. In the beginning the lambs need feeding every 4 hours. Which doesn’t sound too time consuming. But often they struggle with latching on, either because of the foreign concept of a bottle or because they are just so weak and tired.
The other major risk to new born lambs is hypothermia, and with this late snow Mother Nature isn’t exactly on their side. But once you can get their body tempratures up, they soon kick-start into feeding mode and bounce back really quickly.
Luckily, this little guy hadn’t had much success latching on to Mom either. So he was just too grateful to finally get some reward for all his sucking and took to the bottle straight away. But they’re not always this easy…
So sit back and relax mama sheep, we got this!