We left her with her dead lamb in the paddock overnight. It sounds macabre but we were hoping to find a orphan this morning for her to foster, and we needed to keep up the maternal bond. The closest spare day-old lamb was in the next county, about half an hour away. It was a small triplet ram, which would do better if it didn't have two siblings to compete with. Perfect.
By the time I got back with the foster lamb, Mike and our local shepherd had carried out the grizzly task of removing the dead lamb's hide, and we fit it over the foster lamb. The extra layer is making the lamb walk stiff-legged and I expect it's heavy on its tiny body. L845 accepted it with very little encouragement on our part. In fact she looked relieved. The foster lamb suckled right away, no questions asked. They're penned together and it's going as well as we could have hoped, for now anyway.
Foster lamb in its 'cloaking device'
As the foster lamb is accepted, I can cut away part of its extra coat every day, starting with the tail end, then the flanks, and finally the rest can go. Then I need to worry about fly strike again. A lamb in a carrion suit must be irresistible to flies.
Even though lambing is finished now, I'll still have night checks to do: making sure mum and adopted lamb are bonding, and ensuring that Matilda is coping on her own as a member of the flock. I put her in the paddock yesterday and she's playing happily with the other lambs.
I gained a lot of experience lambing this year. Fingers crossed that I don't have to put it into practice again next year. Now I'm off to pursue more genteel activities: taking Quincy for a walk to collect this year's sweet chestnut harvest. Skinning a chestnut is much less traumatic.