A few weeks ago, I wrote about ewe #223 who gave birth to two stillborn lambs. She was able to give the gift of colostrum to future lambs in our flock. Since then, she has continued to give an amazing gift to our flock. The following day, a ewe gave birth to triplet lambs and only wanted to take care of one of them. By the time we realized that the other mother was rejecting two of her lambs, they were already dried off and the placenta discarded, so we couldn't utilize that method of attaching the lambs to a new mother.
Since this was only 24 hours after #223 gave birth, she still had a lot of milk and we began tying her up to let the rejected lambs nurse. She didn't seem to mind, as long she had a halter on and was tied up. After nursing, we would put the lambs back with their own mother, but began to notice her being violent towards the two. So, we gave #223 a shot of oxytocin to boost her mothering instincts and put the lambs in a small jug with her. Unlike their own mother who kept pushing the lambs away, #223 began sniffing them and showing a bit of interest in them. After another 48 hours and another shot of oxytocin, she began to give the "mother baa" and accept the two lambs as her own!
There are so many situations during lambing season that take a lot of patience, but this one of the times where patience really pays off! It's often time consuming and annoying to tie a ewe up every time you go to the barn to feed or do a lamb check, but the two lambs are healthy, growing well and we avoided having two bottle lambs (which would be even more work)! We are even more thankful for #223.
Emmaline Long, main owner of Orchard View Farm, has a passion for Lincoln sheep and loves educating others about her breed and farm, She currently serves as the Vice President of the National Lincoln Breeders Association.