A Lamb Is Born On Bedlam Farm

Lori and her lamb

I was spreading the hay out in the feeders, surrounded by the sheep when I saw the lamb.

It was standing just outside the pole barn shivering.  His black wool was shiny and wet, his long wobbly legs barely holding him up.

I got a flash of the dead lamb that we found frozen in almost the exact spot when we first got Kim.  We didn’t know she was pregnant.  Her lamb was born during the night and didn’t survive the cold.

But this lamb was very much alive and I wanted him to stay that way.

I was stunned and really didn’t know what to do.  I knew Lori was his mother.  She had to be.  My sheep hadn’t been near a ram in years.

She was eating at the feeder as if she hadn’t just given birth.  But if I had any doubts, the afterbirth, which was still hanging from her, assured me.

My first instinct was to keep the lamb warm.  So I picked him up and held him close to me.  I didn’t have my phone, so I brought him with me to the house.

I called for Jon as I walked into the house.  “We have a lamb,” I said, “what do we do?”

I know he was as surprised as I was,  but while I stood there in shock, he got right to it.

We brought the lamb into the barn and threw down some hay for bedding.  Then I got Lori who was still eating at the feeder and pushing and pulling her got her into the barn too.

But Lori was rejecting her lamb, she wasn’t showing any interest at all.

So Jon got on the phone, making calls to find the quickest way to get some formula and colostrum (which is important for a newborn lamb to have) in case Lori wasn’t going to nurse him.

I started piling up haybale to block off one of the stalls and make a warm enclosed space for the two of them.  I put hay on the floor for bedding and plugged in a couple of heat lamps.

I gave Lori grain, hay, and water.   Using a towel, dried off the lamb as best as I could. The lamb, whose eyes were still closed was looking for his mother, but she kept walking away from him.

Jon left for Tractor Supply to get the supplies we’d need if we had to bottle feed the lamb and I tried to get him to nurse.

I’d never done anything like this before, but  Jon said it was important for the lamb to get some of his mother’s milk.  So I sat holding the lamb and guided him to his mother’s teat. At first, Lori was having none of it. She kept walking away, even walking right over the lamb knocking him down.

Jon called from the road and told me to try putting vanilla extract on the lamb’s butt and on Lori’s nose. This way she would smell him and make the connection that he was hers.

Finally, Lori settled down.  As I held the lamb I put Lori’s teat in his mouth and squeezed it, hoping he would taste the milk and start suckling.

We did this for some time, and eventually, it worked.

By the time Jon got back from Tractor Supply, an hour later, the lamb was nursing and Lori was beginning to clean him off.

I was very relieved and after a while, we left the two alone to bond.

An hour later Jon and I  checked on Lori and the lamb and she was standing calmly as he found her teat.   We could hear him suckling.

I’m a bit exhausted from it all.  I can still hardly believe it all happened.


16 thoughts on “A Lamb Is Born On Bedlam Farm

  1. Congrats. I did tell you the other day. Look at the pic again. You can see her belly is not round. It is bumpy The lamb was starting to turn for delivery. Gods gift to you for the loss of Scotty. Beautiful baby. He’s a Miracle.

    1. I can’t believe it Sally, it is like a miracle. And after I had a chance to think about the whole thing I thought “Sally was right!” I haven’t been around a lot of pregnant sheep. I wish I had known, we could have been prepared but it turned out okay. It’s amazing that you could distinguish between pregnant belly and just belly from that photo. I am impressed. Yes, you’re right is is a gift.

  2. Looks like mama and baby are doing good! What a blessing that you found that sweet lamb and took the time and effort to get him reunited with his mama. Rest well tonight!

  3. How precious! I love his little wagging tail. Already his near death experience is behind him with the warmth and care of momma and Maria. He has no idea how lucky he was to have been born into your menagerie. And if he looks anything like his ‘sister’ Merricat, he’ll be gorgeous. Congratulations!

  4. I grew up on a farm and was around a lot of cows that had pregnant bellies like her. I am so glad you found him in time. I have never in my life been around a sheep or a goat just cows but her belly sure did look like the cow bellies used to look. And many many years ago had a cat that got pregnant and got a belly like her. One and only time I had kittens too she got spayed fast.

    1. I get that Sally, knowing a look, but still it’s very impressive. I’m so glad we found him in time. I think he really was just born when I went out to feed the animals. 🙂

  5. What a beautiful story! I’m having a cup of coffee reading this and feel so much joy coursing through me. Looking forward to watching the little one grow and hearing a name you choose for him or her.

  6. Oh my gosh Maria – what a dramatic surprise – and what an emotional rollercoaster! I bet you’re still both exhausted from the adrenaline rush, and wondering if he’d make it. Thank goodness you found him when you did and Lori settled down, is accepting and nursing him. She’ll be able to eat without competition to build her strength back up, and hopefully produce enough milk for him, or maybe you’ll end up sharing that duty with some supplemental bottles.

    I know it’s early days, and while my head is warning be cautious, my heart is so excited. I wonder if Liz will know which ram is likely the father – he looks like his distant relatives from the same flock, the twins……

    1. They seem to be doing well Hannah. The lambs father is a purebred Romney. I still have to ask her what color he is. He was just a lamb himself, but was pretty busy it seems.

  7. Wow, Maria! So exciting!
    Such a blessing, bestowed on Bedlam Farm……
    You did an amazing job, uniting mother and child!
    Thank you for sharing the photo, and the story. ❤

  8. Glad it turned out okay. Sally’s observation was excellent; she’s obviously been around breeding sheep. Good idea to check the udders on any other ewes you may have acquired in the last five months to avoid any other surprises. As they near birth the udders begin to fill, a much more reliable indicator for a novice. Shortly you’ll need to address tail docking and castration.

    1. It was such a surprise Annie. We’ll have a vet come on Monday for vaccinations and castration and tail docking. We got rid of all our lambing supplies years ago. But Jon still remembers what needs to be done.

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