I don’t want the ewes to die. Or to kick away and neglect their little lambs in the interests of their own health and survival. But I seriously love raising a bottle lamb. Always have. And I love that now Elsie and Maeve get to do the same, giggle while a lamb head butts their legs in search of an udder and hold a bottle of milk while a panicky lamb pushes and pulls at the teat.
It’s all the things I loved about having the odd pet lamb as a kid. So much so, that when we rescued our first lamb from the paddock this month, I once snuck out the back door without the girls knowing so that I could give the bottle all by myself; have the lamb nibble my fingers and shorts and push my legs.
When I came inside, Maeve started to express her disappointment about missing out on the lamb’s feed time, and I lied and told her he didn’t want any. And I hid the empty bottle in the sink (come on, I let them eat the chocolate from my cappuccino).
Then Anthony came home with two weak little friends for the lamb that Elsie named Jackson, and now we have a fourth. That’s more bottles than the girls (whose attention span is shorter than mine) and I can hold in one sitting, so we’ve progressed to a quicker, easier system. And we all love it.
Maeve’s the chief milk maker.
All I have to do is carry the bucket because it’s too hard to carry the bucket and ride your new bike at the same time.
And then she encourages them as they choose a teat with lots of ‘come on guys’ or ‘come on little bloke’ and patting ‘the big fella’ on the head as he drinks (which he tolerates, but doesn’t love).