Evie and Ellie are this year’s ewe lambs, both born in April 2010. Evie is out of Brianna and Ellie is out of Aldy. Saxon is sire to both.
Ten days after Ellie was born her mother Aldy became paralyzed. I discovered the problem one night when I heard Ellie crying. I went out to check on her and saw her going from ewe to ewe, only to be rebuffed at every turn. Her crying was so pathetic and I noticed she was becoming hunched- a sign of starvation.
I immediately checked on her mother who seemed to be calmly laying in the grass, ruminating. At a distance nothing looked amiss. When I got close to her she didn’t move– unusual behavior from a skittish ewe. When I forced the issue she would not stand, just sort of spun in place.
I knew then that her lamb had not nursed for awhile. I ran back into the house and grabbed the only thing I had available (Friday night-nothing was open)– some frozen goat milk we expressed several weeks earlier. Cow milk is a no-no. While I was thawing it in warm water I rummaged the cabinets for a baby bottle.
I was definitely not prepared for this (that won’t happen again!) I found one, filled it and went out to grab the hungry lamb and begin the process of trying to get her to accept a bottle after nursing for ten days– sometimes an impossible task. Turns out that wasn’t a problem. Poor Ellie was so hungry she grabbed the bottle and chugged down the whole thing.
After a week of aggressively treating Aldy, she showed no sign of improvement. One leg was completely paralyzed. Unlike a dog or cat, sheep can’t make it on three legs. We put her down and buried her in the back of the pasture.
So Ellie was raised as a bottle baby and thrived quite well. She grew just a bit slower than Evie, typical for bottle feeding. They are now 8 months old and Ellie has nearly caught up.