Everyone had crazy weather- ours was specially cold during January and February. Winds 50 below zero had my friend scrambling to keep all her surprise lambs warm and dry. Her papa sheep apparently jumped the fence with the ladies, then jumped back out. Without anyone being the wiser until the babies started to arrive.
I rarely, well never, would say no to bottle lambs. We do not breed our own sheep so the only lambs here are orphans. We don’t see too many any more either. Many of my friends have gotten out of the sheep business in the past five years due to life changes in families, kids growing up or wanting to travel.
Tami posted a picture of the lambs on Instagram and things went from there! Buttercup is pictured above. She was a twin, born in the bitter cold. The mom could not get her dry fast enough and she ended up with frost bite on her little ears and back hoofs. We did not know how good her chances were but both wanted to give her a chance to decide on her own. She arrived with her ‘brother’ Oliver (Cotswold sheep)- a twin whose mom could not feed two lambs. Ta-da- two lambs- perfect number.
For the first week things went well. The lambs moved into my office and stayed warm, grew and just cracked me up. It was a long hard winter and I was getting tired out. Oliver and Buttercup saved me. Lambs have such glee in their souls.
As she grew and her hoofs and ears healed, Buttercup started having pain issues. We controlled them with pain medication and she was comfy and happy. Then her hoofs looked more and more like the tissue in both was too damaged to remain viable. Our vet thought maybe she would be ok, as long as she was comfy, to continue on.
We kept Buttercup’s little feet wrapped with pretty bandages and got some really good ideas from fans of our sheep. Manuka honey helped heal her ears but her pain got more and more out of control. She was unable to walk comfortably. It also looked as if her front feet had frostbite too. Sigh. I do not allow animals to suffer so the vet and I made the decision to send Buttercup back to heaven. As she grew, her feet would only have gotten worse as she got heavier. I’ve never had to put a little lamb like her to sleep. I promise them I’ll be there for them no matter how long I get to love them. But they tell me when it is ‘time.’
Afterwards, Oliver was devastated. She was the only other sheep he had ever known. Even after such a short time his grief was profound. He laid down in the last place he saw her and would not get up. It breaks my heart to see animals grieve. Not much consoles them. SO. Tami offered me a little lamb who was a triplet and not getting enough food from his mom.
Enter Maxwell!! A little scamp who is a Cotswold cross. He was half the size of Oliver even though they were born just days apart.
Oliver, Jim and I set off for Tami’s. It was icy and cold so we met at the top of her long, hilly driveway to pick Maxwell up. He is perfect and Oliver loved him right away. Maxwell was not sure about living in the house but Oliver showed him how awesome it is. Tromping around, galloping like little horses all around. Then flopping down in a heap on a pile of blankets OR their favorite bed my Mom sent them.
Oliver was pretty stingy with that bed. It got to the point they ran for it and first one in got piled on top of by the second. Pretty hilarious!
Watch for more stories about these two- there are so many more to tell!!