Wednesday 13 April 2016

Little black lamb up for adoption.

The last of the gimmers lambed last night. Her lamb was dead but she has milk so this morning we decided to set a lamb on her.

Lamb for adoption
A ewe recognises its lamb first by its smell and soon after by its voice. If you have a lot of sheep lambing and need to get a ewe to adopt its fairly straightforward. You soak a recently born lamb, usually a triplet, in the birth fluids of another new mother with only one lamb or who had a dead lamb and pen them up together. The adopted lamb soon starts to suck and the new mum is usually fooled by the small of her own lamb on the new one.

Today was different, the lamb to be adopted is three days old and its was too late for the birth fluid trick. So we had to resort to the age old custom of dressing the lamb for adoption in the skin of the dead lamb. Skin the dead lamb as you would a rabbit pulling the skin over the head so that you end up with a skin a bit like a sweater.

The live lambs head then goes through the neck of the skin and its forelegs down through the leg skin, Its like pulling on a jumper. The hind legs are passed through two slits in the rear end of the skin to hold it in place.

We then put the lamb in an adjacent pen to become a little hungry and for the ewe to be able to smell it and see it. It might be necessary to bring in Nan's dog Jack to provoke the ewe's maternal instincts too.  Put a hungry lamb in with a strange ewe and the ewe will batter it with its head when it tries to suck. Hence all of the artifice.

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