KitchenLamb1 So kitchen lamb stayed in the kitchen for three weeks. That’s ridiculous, and he needn’t have stayed in for more than a day. But, I was busy with the whole new job and big commute thing, and other stuff. I didn’t really have a plan for him after the immediate focus of saving his life and teaching him to drink from the bucket/nipple contraption. Since the Border Collies were doing a good job cleaning up after him when I let him run loose in the evenings, it was convenient to  only have to deliver his food to him in the kitchen and I wasn’t hugely motivated to move him outside. But the drawback became that he’d make noise during the night and wake me up. His complaint was that he is attached to us, and wanted to sleep with his “herd” in the bedroom. 😉

One night I decided to let him do that, and indeed he was quite satisfied to curl up with Spanky on a dog blanket and he mostly slept through the night. I awoke once to the sound of his little “tap shoes” tripping across the wood floor (maybe he’d gotten up for a midnight snack out of the bucket hanging in the kitchen) but that’s not a hugely disturbing noise. But what was disturbing was that Maggie spent much of the night growling at the other dogs, because she was trying to hoard the lamb. Or maybe the lamb was trying to nurse off of her, in which case, her growling may have been justified. Anyway, the sleep loss was annoying, so finally it was time for Kitchen Lamb to relocate to the out of doors. 😀

It seems there are three choices with bummer lambs. 1) Sell them immediately for a low price so some other sucker can deal with their high overhead of milk-feeding, but you give up much profit on the lamb. 2) Raise them in some location that’s other than the rest of the sheep where it’s convenient to keep their milk supply flowing (like the kitchen), and risk that they become too pet-like and friendly to want to butcher. 3) Try to transition them back out to the sheep flock as soon as possible with the intention of growing them out as butcher lambs to recover your cost in milk replacer and make a little money on them.KitchenLamb2

I’m choosing something between options 1) and 3). Belatedly I listed him on craigslist, but I don’t want to just unload him for fifty bucks, because he’s already drank nearly that much in milk replacer, and I need to get compensated for my time invested in him. So, I figure $100 would make it worth selling him now. If he doesn’t sell for that, I’ll grow him out and get another hundred out of him in the fall.

It would have worked best if I could have whipped him right back out into the field as soon as he learned the bucket system, reducing his bonding to us and the animals up by the house. But, I didn’t get around to it, so now his transition is a little tougher. I put him inside an ex-pen with his mother (#KRK33) and brothers, so that he has someone to hang out with and bond to. His bucket is hanging on the side of the pen, securely bungee-corded. I figured it was a safe bet that the other lambs would not be interested in a rubber nipple or fakey-tasting milk replacer, and so far I’ve been right on that count. But, I didn’t account for the fact that #33 would think milk replacer is delicious and discover that she could easily reach it from the top of the bucket and slurp it dry! <sigh> It took me a few quarts to deduce this was what was going on and get a chicken wire top installed on the bucket.

He’s doing OK out there, eating fine from his “blue diner” and enjoying sleeping with his brothers. I have not been able to interest him in grain, either the candy-like molasses lamb grower stuff, nor dry COB- he just likes grass hay and fresh greens. That’s fine, but it takes a little longer for the rumen to be up to digesting green grass, so that delays getting him off milk, as compared to if I could wean him onto more easily-digested processed grains.

The remaining problem is if he sees us, or the border collies, he starts calling out, wanting to re-join what he thinks is his “real” herd. Right now, he can still slip through the Electronet squares, and I fear if he gets out with Bronte (and now Moses, too) and cannot figure out how to get back inside the hotwire, it will be curtains for him. So, I’m hoping he’ll bond better with the other sheep, and grow a little more so escaping isn’t so easy or tempting. Then he should be ready to run with the herd, and hopefully ready to live off of good grass alone, soon!