Animals | Homesteading | Ranch Life | Sheep | Tips & Tricks

The Great Graft

July 25, 2011

I apologize for not posting a new story in quite a while. Summer is just a busy time.

Right now my hands are full with a bummer lamb. A bummer lamb is a lamb that it’s mother either: didn’t accept it, the mother died, or had health problems; in this case the mother had a nasty case of mastitis and was unable to produce quality milk for her lambs. We have had a hard time with lambing in July, so we will never lamb again at this time of year because the lambs get overheated and so far we have lost 2 lambs out of 3, so not a good record at this point. Buddy, the bummer lamb, was almost dead when I finally got to him, but thanks to a neighbor who is a vet we were able to revive him and now he’s a happy little lamb who is following me around constantly.

Yesterday I came upon my other ewe who had her lamb, but sadly the lamb died due to heat exhaustion. The only good thing that can come out of this situation is  if we can get that ewe to accept Buddy so I don’t have to bottle feed him anymore  and her milk is much better then the formula that I have been feeding him. I thought that grafting him to my ewe, Lois, would be a simple taste, but it’s proving to be very difficult.

Last night Lois paced around the pin we put her in all night bahhhhing constantly, looking for her lamb that died earlier that day. We put Buddy in the pin with her and she immediately came over, but as soon as she smelled him she turned away and ran the other direction in pursuit of her lamb. We thought that it was a minor setback but not something that would be that difficult to correct, but as soon as we got ahold of Lois and pinned in the corner and allowed Buddy to suck on her she started to kick and thrash, knowing that it wasn’t her own lamb. Poor Buddy just wanted some milk, but Lois was not interested in allowing that to happen.

Today’s day 2 of trying to graft Buddy onto Lois and so far Lois is not budging on letting little Buddy drink from her without a fight. Apparently it can take up to a week or more to try to graft a lamb to a new mother, so we’ll see how it goes and if she finally will accept little Buddy as her own; if not, I’m stuck feeding Buddy with a bottle for some time. I’ll update you on the situation as we try more attempts at this.

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  1. Hope you have good luck! I know of people who skin the lambs when they die so that they can rub it on a new lamb if they need the ewe to take over feeding it, and if that doesn’t work, they actually put the skin on the new lamb like a little jacket. Crazy stuff!

    1. yeah, the lamb smelled really bad by the time we found it 🙁 It’s a bummer lamb, but I’ve gotten used to feeding him now.

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