I've started the weaning process, and the lambs are protesting. Loudly. They have started to eat lamb creep, which is a concentrated pellet with the all vitamins and minerals they need to grow. They are investigating the grass but they don't seem thrilled at the prospect of being herbivores. Not when there's warm milk to be had.
We've gone from bottle feeding 5 times a day, to 3 times a day. While I'm away, I expect Mike will reduce that to 2 bottles a day. Which is great for me, because I won't be here to hear their woeful bleatings and feel sorry for them.
To help Mike out, I'm introducing them to haylage - a very palatable and nutritious form of dried grass. You can easily make a hay net out of an old feed sack with a couple of holes cut out at lamb height. They weren't sure what to make of my jury-rigged contraption when I put it in their pen:
I'm not gonna try it...YOU try it....
Their natural curiosity seemed to prevail in the end and they gingerly sampled this new offering:
If you think THIS is gonna make up for the milk, you got another thing coming
It's a start. I didn't realise that with orphans, you really need to introduce them to different foodstuffs early or they won't recognise them as such when they're mature. I made this mistake with Big and Little lamb, who turned their noses up at stubble turnips and hay, and demanded concentrates. This not only made them unsociable, as they bleated like babies for their twice-a-day food hit but it also added to their, shall we say generous, layer of fat.
Hay and haylage is the way forward for these ladies. A fat ewe is not a healthy ewe, and it makes their future lambing difficult if not dangerous.
Speaking of fat, I thought I would work off some of mine by taking the busiest spaniels on a long walk. I was reminded of how much fun fossil hunting is when Mike brought me home that ammonite the other day. I walked along the river bed while the dogs ran amok, and I found these:
L to R: a fossil bivalve, relative of the clam; small complete ammonite; lg outer ring of ammonite and small inner one.
The nature table has expanded to include the nature windowsill. I will keep my eyes peeled and hope to add more finds soon. As you can imagine, the days just fly by in rural England. I only hope San Franciso is this exciting.