Tuesday 12 April 2016

Pet lambs and Zwartbles

Orphan trainee
Orphan lambs, some triplets and twins end up being bottle fed "pet lambs" from time to time, each year we have one or two. They are well known to be an expensive, time consuming  nuisance but it has to be done You end up with a pot bellied lamb that has cost a fortune to feed and endless unsocial hours of feeding.

As long as they have had some of their mother's colostrum they adapt well and survive but they have to be trained to feed from a bottle or a bucket feeder. Ewe lambs seem to get the idea of sucking on a rubber teat much more quickly than the males. I start them off with a bottle for a day or two with warm milk. Then to save time and work they are switched to a bucket feeder with an array of rubber teals around the base. Once they learn how to use it I no longer have to feed them 3 or four time a day.

Zwartbles ewe lamb
The training requires some patience, an upturned wooden box for the trainer to sit on and a hungry trainee. I don't know if this is the normal procedure but it works for me. Of the four lambs in the pen two are orphan Cheviots, one is a Zwartbles cross ram lamb and the other a pure Zwartbles ewe lamb. They all came from Ockle where Dougie Cameron just doesn't have the time to rear pet lambs.

My granddaughter Gracie hasn't seen the ewe lamb yet but I've a feeling it may be around for some years once she meets it.

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