Saturday, April 21, 2018

We bought a Farm: The Sheep are Arriving

So the sheep have started arriving on our farm! 

On Thursday, our very favorite sheep, Snowball, was the first to deliver. And, she had twins! One was a boy (we don't name boys) and one was a girl. We named the girl Sydney. 

Our first season of sheep were all named herbs (except Snowball who has just always been Snowball to us.) All of their babies have the same letter in their name but were named virtues. And this year we have decided to go with famous cities. 

So, for example ...

Tamarind (herb) had a baby last year which we named Truth (virtue). The year Tamarind just had another baby and we are going to call it Trier (famous city in Germany.)

Okay back to Snowball. Unfortunately Snowball rejected the male twin. Our current wwoofer, Nico, captured the exclusion on video. 

No one is really sure why this happens. Some say "the sheep know best" and there might be something wrong with the baby. Either way, this means that the little sheep that is rejected needs to be pulled and bottle fed. The only other option is to leave it to die. (I just can't bring myself to do this!)

We decided long ago we didn't want to bottle feed baby sheep. At least not right now. It's just too much work for a busy farm. I had already arranged with our awesome friend, Anni, that if we had any bottle babies this year, she'd take ownership. 

Anni took "Kenny" home with her. (Anni chose to name the sheep. Since it belongs to her now, she can do that.)

Kenny leaving with Anni was a lot harder than we thought it would be, especially for Abigail. The kids had spent the evening bonding with the little guy, and they did not want him to leave the farm. Abigail cried really hard Bottle babies are notoriously friendly and truly do become like pets. You can see from the pictures below how much "Kenny" was fitting in:

But like I said, our life is already packed full, and bottle feeding a sheep was not on my priority list. So Anni took Kenny back to her house. She had a goat with twins who has a TON of milk that Anni will be using for goat milk soap. She actually managed to get Kenny to latch onto the goat mom. She had tons of milk from the goat that she could use in bottles for the little sheep which was great for all involved.

Anni actually was going to her vet for something else and managed to get little Kenny weighed. We've often wondered what our little lambs weigh. This tells you!

Today was Saturday, and Anni often comes to hang out with us on the farm on Saturdays. So she came today, and she brought Kenny with her. Oh were the kids excited. We housed him in a little kennel behind the garage, and the kids got to spend the whole day helping feed and hang out with Kenny. They had an absolute blast!

Giving him a kiss!

Hard to see but that's our Hannah!

We have decided through this experience that the kids are getting close to old enough to bottle feed a lamb. The first few days can be a little tricky, but once the little lamb has settled into a routine, it's pretty easy. In the future, we may allow the kids, if we don't have any vacations or trips planned, to take "ownership" of the lamb. 

However, there are some things that are challenging about this. In the case of a boy lamb, the whole point is to raise him for food. (So hard when it becomes a pet!) And in the case of a girl lamb, we have decided not to breed bottle babies which means we would process her for food as well. While there are different schools of thought, John's is that it can mean more bottle babies in the future genetically.

This is our third season of having sheep. We had one bad delivery last year, but otherwise, this is our very first bottle baby. We hope we don't have anymore, but man is it fun to snuggle with little lambs!!

P.S. Since Snowball delivered her twins we have had three more sheep born. I'll write more about them tomorrow.

1 comment:

TAV said...

Wow! I liked learning about milk delivery in sheep!