Jessie’s Blog: Moose the Lamb

The newest addition to our farm is a bottle lamb called Moose. For those of you who don’t know what a bottle lamb is, it is a lamb who, for whatever reason, cannot nurse from its mother. The lamb may be too weak to stand and nurse or it may have been found without its mother, or orphaned. In Moose’s case, he was rejected by his mother. Moose is about six weeks old, and we got him when he was two days old from our friend Amy. He is a three-way mixed breed. His dad is a Katahdin (ka-ta-den), which is a kind of sheep that has hair instead of wool. They tend to be smaller than Suffolks (su-facs), a common breed of wool sheep in the Northwest of America. Katahdins also can jump six feet in the air.

Moose’s mom is half bighorn sheep and half Black Belly sheep. I don’t know much about Black Bellies, so I can’t really tell you more than that about his blood; I do know they are also a hair sheep and not a wool sheep. Moose is mostly reddish-brown, but has some white on his head and some small white spots on his back, making him resemble a deer fawn, a bit. Moose likes to explore the world the way every baby does: by sticking anything he can find into his mouth. Moose started out getting fed about every six hours.  He was constantly hungry. I liked to feed him in the day, but I let my mom do the 3:00 am feeding; no way am I getting up that early! My sister says Moose is a sheep named Moose who thinks he’s a duckling and lives in a dog kennel next to a rabbit. She says he thinks he’s a duckling because he follows you EVERYWHERE. And if you run or jump, he’ll run or jump after you.

We keep him outside a lot of the time because you can’t housetrain a sheep (and because my dad says barn animals should not come in the house), but Moose yells when he is outside alone, so we spend a lot of time just hanging around the yard with him. When he was in the house, he mostly stayed in a dog kennel. He seemed to like that. It is where he slept at night, so my mom did not have to go all the way to the barn to feed him. Before too long, though, he got to be old enough to go out with the rest of the sheep. He likes that, but will still come running when we go out to the pasture with his bottle each time. Now we feed him twice a day, morning and evening.

I like having bottle lambs because they are adorable, and I like feeding them.  They are tamer than other lambs. But this can also be not so good, because when they get bigger and want to lean on you or come running at you, they can push you over! They grow but they don’t realize they are grown. Also, it can be harder to say goodbye to a lamb you have raised with a bottle when it is time to sell the lamb. It’s all part of life on the farm.

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