Little Leonard, our mutton-chopped lamb, has finally got it figured out!
Leonard was born Thursday. He would not eat. We tried latching him onto his mama, Bear. He would not suckle. We tried bottle feeding him, he would neither suck nor swallow. He could stand and walk and follow his mama, but seemed to have no suckling instinct. One of the weirdest lamb problems Sissy and I have encountered.
We have been tube feeding him 5 times a day since he was born so he would not starve to death. Some time during the night last night he finally figured it out. When Sissy did the morning feeding today she noticed that his little lamb belly was not hollow. When I did chores he was still not hollow. I watched Bear and Leonard every chance I got until I finally saw him nursing.
What a sweet, sweet sight! I don’t know why it took him three days to figure out how to eat when most lambs figure it our within 15 minutes after they are born. But our tube feedings kept him alive long enough to get there.
I am so glad. Not only is Leonard one of the cutest lambs I’ve seen, his mama, Bear is one of my favorites. It would have broken her heart to lose him. She hasn’t lambed these past two years and Sissy was considering culling her. And Bear was being such a good mama to Leonard. She has been so attentive and fiercely protective. Patient with us as we have hand-milked her to tube her good milk into Leonard’s tummy. She was continually urging him to nurse, using her front leg to nudge him toward her udder. This is a move I have never seen a ewe have to use before, as most lambs automatically head toward their mama’s udder as soon as they can stand. Bear knew he needed to nurse and tried every way she could to get him to do it.
Sissy and I had decided we would keep tubing Leonard through the weekend and if he hadn’t figured it out by then we would put him to sleep. I am feeling all warm and fuzzy right now, knowing we won’t have to do that.