A true pet story, the only difference is the pet is not a cat, or a dog, it is a sheep. How one lamb was not only lucky to be alive, but also became a pet.
The first feeding was special milk, called colostrum, normally baby animals get this from their mother, it is her first milk and contains antibodies. We bought some from the veterinarian.
The bottle feeding routine began. Early morning feeding, another before leaving for work, one at lunch (forcing me to come home from work), one after work, one after dinner, and another before bed. After a few days I was able to eliminate the noon feeding. This was lots of work when you remember there were two lambs to be fed each time, and in the middle of winter too!
Another set of lambs was born that evening, it made it clear how much smaller these two were, but with time they grew. Gradually the bottle feedings were reduced and eventually stopped altogether. The nice thing about bottle fed lambs is that they remain friendly were as most lambs are unsure of humans (and well they should be I suppose). We did sell one of the two, as we cannot possibly keep them all. I selected the black one to keep.
Still without a name I often referred to her as Black Baby, merely as a description the same way we called one of her Aunts by the name of Diamond for the marking on her head, and the other one is known as Speckle, again for the markings.
In the summer her black coat faded to a brownish color. We don’t really do too much with the sheep in the summer, check them of course, but they don’t go into the barn any longer and pretty much have a good life, guarded by a donkey and llama. Above in June of 2009, below in July of 2009. Because she was a bottle baby she is not afraid when I approach with the camera.
Late in the fall we got a ram. Fall is when you normally put rams in with sheep, and we did so later this year so no more January lambs. We are now aiming for March. Blackie Sheep is old enough to have her first lamb, or lambs, this spring. We have been making sure Favorite, her mom, gets extra food and attention too!
As winter set in I looked at an old Calendar and found Blackie’s birthday was fast approaching. Although the day was over cast I made a special trip out to take her photograph. She looks pretty messy doesn’t she? Even though no lambs are due we are keeping the sheep in the barn at night because we have had problems with predators (coyotes) in the winter in past years.
The final picture is of Blackie Sheep on her one year old birthday, January 11, 2010. I realized later that the time of day of this picture was probably very close to the time of day for her first picture. However, this day was much warmer, and my sheep no longer needed my special care.
All photos by author and husband, not for reproduction.
This article has been republished here.
Also feel free to check out my Sheep Blog.
Published in: Pets