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O.K. This is a story about one of our Shetland ewes, Joy, the matriarch of our flock. She is 9 years old and has that been there - done that attitude.

The afternoon of July 1st, I went out to the shed and discovered that Magic, a yearling, had given birth. Magic is Joy's daughter( a June lamb herself) and we weren't planning on her being bred last fall. But we had bought a new ram in December and decided to go ahead and put them together. I'm not kidding when I say this was a little lamb, even by Shetland standards. About 2 lbs. At first I thought it was one of our cats in with the girls. The little one was trying to nurse but every time she got under Magic, mom whirred around and knocked her away. I gave her some nutridrench and shouted for some help.

My daughter Cat held momma and I tried to guide the baby to the teat but momma was having none of that. Baby was very weak and didn't have the strength to nurse. After several tries, I took Magic and set her on her butt, stripped the teats and got her milk to flow but the lamb just could not get any. I squirted about an ounce directly into the baby's mouth. The poor thing was unsteady on her feet and momma was not happy with us. We put them in the jug hoping the baby would recover enough to eat on its own. But in the back of my mind I was already planning on how to bottle feed this one.

Went back out in 1/2 hour and Magic was still refusing to let her baby nurse.
But the baby was showing much improvement and was really trying to get something to eat, so back on her butt went momma. This time baby was able to nurse on her own, with me holding the top half and Cat keeping her from kicking with her hind legs. This went on all afternoon. Everytime we checked, the little one was trying hard but momma wasn't cooperating. We would hold Magic as tight as we could but the baby just couldn't get anything so over on her butt she would go.

About a half hour before sunset, we went out and same story. Magic didn't care for this little intruder that was messing around with her backside, so we started to go in the pen dreading the idea of doing this all night when Joy(remember this is a story about Joy) came into the shed and walked past us to her daughter. They stood there head to head for about five minutes with Joy making that gutteral noise ewes make to their babies. All this time while they are standing there together the baby is making up for lost time on the other end of Magic. My daughter and I just stood and watched dumbfounded.
Then Joy turned on her heels and walked past us out into the lot. I swear she turned her head as she passed me as if to say, "That's how you do it."

I checked on Magic and baby several times later that day and the next. Everytime she was standing there quite still letting Miracle(the baby) nurse as long as she wanted. No more knocking her away or jumping everytime Miracle came close.

We believe Gandma Joy was telling her that night to grow up, accept her responsiblity and act like a mother. Miracle is catching up with the others now, still a little on the small side but all lamb!

Tomorrow Magic and Miracle are going to the Ohio State Fair as part of the Breeders display. They told us this would be the first time Shetlands had been invited to the fair. If you're in Columbus, stop by and say hi to a couple of amazing animals.
 

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FourCountryGals.com
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That's an awesome story!

We're expecting our first lambs, and one of our pregnant ewe's is a yearling whose Mama is our flock matriarch. I'll be watching the communications for sure. Mama (Beulah) has had two lamb crops, the first was triplets and the second was quads.

We have all her triplets (all ewe lambs and all pregnant) as well as the surviving triplets (one little ewe lamb died at two days). From that crop, there's only one ewe lamb and two little wethers (market lambs).
 

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We also had a first time momma that wouldn't let the lamb nurse. Now, the ewe loved the lamb and sang to her, and went ballistic when I'd take the lamb to bottle feed her (and took her to work with me), she just didn't get the nursing part. A jug worked, but the lamb was 8 pounds and had been bottle fed for two days.
 
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