Raising Bottle Lambs Do’s and Don’ts

The proper position for forcing lamb to swallow milk.

Need more babies in your life?  Consider raising bottle lambs.  We adopted our first orphan lamb this spring – a beautiful, soft, teddy bear of a Navajo-Churro ram lamb.  Our neighbors offered this little cutie up for adoption, so after getting my husband’s okay, the kids and I loaded up into the truck and brought him home.  I have been wanting a small flock of sheep on our property for some time and thought here is a great opportunity to try it all out!  Beware, bottle lambs are so cute and it is easy to get attached!  Soon, we bought another one to keep him company, and this is where we ran into a hiccup!  This lamb was about a month old and would NOT take the bottle!  This scenario had never even occurred to me.  At this point, we were feeding them four times during the day.  The only way it would drink is with me holding him in a headlock and squeezing the milk into his mouth.  You are thinking it couldn’t be that bad, but it was so frustrating! For seven whole days, I had to squeeze the bottle into his mouth and hold his head up to force a swallow.  I was ready to give up, our first lamb downed his bottle in a minute or two and it took at least ten minutes, to get Trouble, as I call him, to drink his nourishing, life-giving goodness.  Finally, on day seven, he started sucking on the nipple. It’s ridiculous how proud and accomplished I felt for just persevering and teaching Trouble to drink his bottle.  Things were a lot easier from then on out. 🙂

I have been wanting a small flock of sheep on our property for some time

So, go get some baby lambs.  You need them in your life.  Your kids need them.  Expect not too much time involved in feeding.  For a couple months you have to be around for feeding during the day.  I had a baby who still takes naps during the day, so no big deal to find us home at great feeding times.  At two months old they are ready to wean.  Be prepared.  You may get a stubborn lamb.  Do persevere, it may seem like those little, fluffy babies just want to die.  But you can outlast them!