Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bottle Lambs aka Bummers (The Process)

Bottle Lambs - The Last Resort
The Tube and Syringe
These are used when we have to 'tube' a lamb.
When a bottle lamb can't drink on it's own, meaning, it won't take a bottle,
this tube has to go down it's throat to it's tummy.
For some reason, mostly Jake's lambs have been the ones getting tubed.
And, he has to hold them down (they are lying on their sides, stretched out)
while they are being tubed.
Often the tube wants to go to the lungs instead.
And, we try again, and again, and again.
We say a prayer for each lamb that has to endure this.
Jake and I both have been in tears during this process.
Again, it is not fun.

The Top of My Dryer
Yep. Baby bottles. They seem to work best for us.
The Process, you ask?
1. The bucket has dry lamb milk replacer in it.
2. Mix with warm water in the bigger container
3. Strain
4. Pour into bottles
5. Go Feed
6. Repeat Every 4 hours (during the day)

This is the List of Lambs
The kids assign each new lamb a name
We are working through the alphabet
The hatch marks are how many ounces each lamb gets
(they start with 4)
That last guy, Khipmunk (yes, with a K) died last night.
The guys with their names crossed off have also died during their brief stay with us.
Basically, we are trying to rescue babies that have been 'found' and,
not under good circumstances.
We have 250 Mamas that are having babies right now.
A good lambing ratio is 150 percent.
That would be all mamas having at least 1 baby, and half with twins.

Two of the Bottle Lambs
(Back when there were 2!)
The orange thing is a towel I used to keep a new one
extra warm
(when it was really cold out - like last week, they arrive cold,
and with cold mouths. They have to be heated up)
A prolonged cold mouth equals death.

The Setup In the Garage
The Big Tall Box is for bummer lambs
The long box in back has 75 chicks in it
(don't get me started on the chicks!)


Perhaps this is too much info for all of you... But, heck, I'm sharing my life...

I'm trying to get caught up on all my 'what's going on at the ranch' photos for you!

According to my list, you still have not seen Shearing Photos of 2009, or pictures of all our bottle lambs! (Right now, we have 6 live ones that are thriving and happy and healthy)... Right now my babies are outside getting fresh air and sunshine. I'll move them back to the box at the next feeding.


Here's the deal.

My husband checks the fields daily. He's seeing how everything is going.. Making sure no coyotes have come and killed babies or mamas (Hmm.. I have not heard a word about 'kills' yet! That is good news! Usually they arrive because they 'smell' the afterbirth and are coming in to get snacks), and seeing if any babies are separated from their mamas, or if any mamas are having problems giving birth to a baby. When he finds a baby that fits the 'bummer' category, he brings them home to our 'bummer lamb' nursery in the garage. Last night, two new ones arrived before dinner. All 'systems stopped' - meaning, we drop everything and go into 'feed the new babies' mode.

Dick had a jar full of colostrum that he milked from a ewe (OK mothers, you all know what that is). The colostrum is the 'heavy duty antibodies' that have to be fed to each newborn. Problem was, one of the newborns was 'pulled' from it's mama (Dick assisted in the birth)... The baby had a huge head, and needed to be tubed. Unfortunately, he did not live through the night.

Each time we get a new bottle lamb, the kids name them...

This actually breaks my heart. At times, We are attempting to accomplish the impossible.

In my mommy job, I attempt to hold my kids and tell them, God has a plan for each of these lambs, and yes they had to go, but we are their resting place before they go to Heaven. I also say that our lambs are lucky because they had two loving kids who gave them a warm place before they left, and they knew they were loved and special.

Well.. I think this is a good stopping spot. Suddenly, my mind is now moving on to other philosophical topics, and I have got to get to town before the next feeding!

I promise to post happy photos next!



Anne said...

Hi, Andi! Some of life's lessons aren't very easy to pass along to the next generation. But I think you're doing a terrific job! And think of the ones you save! Great post! :-)

Suzanne C said...

Wowzers! I cannot believe it. I hated the bottles... So glad to get rid of those bottles after the last baby got old enough and you are in an endless cycle of babie although they are so toot sweet cute that I think it may help!

Sue McGettigan said...

Ah Andi, God bless you, it's tough to go through this love and loss, and your kids rely on you to take their cues - you're a great Mom and Ranch Wife! My girlfriend in Australia is married to a dairy farmer, she has similar stories of calves :)

Sweet Blessings said...

You are Super woman...I don't know how you get it all done...but, I do know you are a very AMAZING girl :D Praying the rest of lambing goes perfectly well..and those tubes stay put away ! Sweet blessings!