Well may you ask who that well-developed lamb is, standing beside the small one: his name is Ramius—named by our grandsons—and he is the rather bedraggled fellow who turned up unexpectedly as a bottle lamb last February. The small lamb we will call Orange Dot for now and as you see, she too is a bottle lamb, born the first week of April.
As Ramius’ mother we know that it’s high time to wean him. Our colleagues in motherhood automatically begin to reduce the quantity and quality of the milk they provide at the six week mark and we have done the same, but it seems heartless to bottle Orange Dot and ignore Ramius.
This is how Orange Dot got on the bottle: she was born in the midst of some eighty ewes and wethers and her mother was the only pregnant ewe in the group. When she came to our attention the next morning, an ewe who was not her mother had claimed her, licking her off, keeping her from her biological mother, offering her nothing to eat. Perhaps realizing that something was awry, Tibbie, the Great Pyrenees guarding that group also claimed her, doing her own licking. So when the shepherd discovered her the next morning, he was unable to persuade her biological mother that Orange Dot was her lamb. I didn’t lick that lamb, she seemed to say, that’s someone else’s lamb: it doesn’t smell like my lamb.
So she went on the bottle, at first being fed more often than Ramius but later in tandem. He finishes his helping first, and he’d like to get at her bottle, but when he’s pushed away, he stays away. They’re pals. He sees to it that she is not left by herself. When the other lambs are frisking around, these two are hanging out, eating some oats maybe. Maybe talking about their Mom.
Copyright Jerry Wigglesworth, 2015