Friday, May 2, 2014

Shepherdess Notes: Selling Bottle Lambs

Taking Turns

We have had some bottle lambs this year. More bottle lambs than we have had in all of the years we have raised sheep.

There weren't any that were "sole" bottle lambs. They were lambs that were supplemented because mom's milk supply was just not enough for them to thrive.  They behave like sheep, they are with the flock, they have mothers and they do what their mothers do.
They like us, but they aren't at the back door, bleating, waiting for us to come out and play, like typical bottle lambs.

I'm a coming....

They do come a running when they see us, they know we have bottles. But when they are done eating they do not follow us up to the house, they go back to the flock.

With so many bottle lambs, we  made the choice to sell all but two. For several reasons-

1. We get attached, and being all ram lambs but one, we knew we would have to sell them     sooner or later. It is easier on the girls if we sell them sooner. (okay, me too)

2. Lamb milk replacer is expensive! We do not have enough goats milk to feed 6 bottle lambs and still have some left for the Does to feed their own babies, and us. That means buying milk replacer, and at 80.00 a bag-that gets pricey!

3. It takes time!

We did keep two. One ewe lamb that I want to keep for breeding stock. Normally, I would not keep a bottle lamb as a replacement ewe but her mom is a ewe that I have had for years and has always been a great mother. Her age is a factor in her not being able to take care of twins this year.
The other lamb is Delaney's fair project.

We get inquiries when we are selling lambs and there are always questions. What may surprise some, is I  have a few questions of my own.  Even if you are trustworthy, I may not sell my lambs to you, and it isn't personal.

I will only sell a lamb to someone who already has at least one! Sheep are flock animals it would be very hard for these lambs who have mothers, and live out on pasture with other sheep, to be removed and put in living conditions where they are all alone! Especially the bottle lambs we had this year, they were part of a flock.

I prefer to sell two lambs together.

I had one family take one and come back for another. They said even with sheep, the older sheep were bullying the new lamb. (3 weeks old)

I am reluctant to sell them as pets, especially at Easter time.

I have made some exceptions, I have a friend who purchased a set of bottle lambs, 14 years ago for her daughter. Her daughter is now grown up and has her own kids and she still has one of those sheep. (the other died a couple of years ago).
She is buying one of our February Tunis Lambs (we are thrilled, he was one of our spoiled babies)

She understands that buying a lamb for a pet is a commitment. They can live a long time.  They also have needs.
Housing, hay, minerals/salt, sheared every year, on occasion-vet care, etc.

14 year old Bambi
Do bottle lambs make good pets? 

Yes, they can!
But as with any other animal, there are things to take in consideration. It is a commitment, and should not be done on a whim. Sheep are livestock animals, and typically live on a farm/homestead. These 15 pound babies turn into 200 pound wethers.

I try to make sure the lambs go to good homes, and that the buyers know what they are getting themselves into.  I do not want to get a call that the lambs died, or they no longer want them.
So, when I ask questions, it is for the benefit of both parties, not to pass judgement.

As with all of my sheep post, this is just the way we do things and my personal opinions :)

Have a Great Weekend!

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  1. I do how you find ideal homes for them. That is one of the hardest parts of breeding animals. If you don't keep them - what kind of people will.ine are pets but the working Lawnmower kind.

  2. Sounds to me you are a responsible owner that truly cares about your animals. Very much respect from me. The lambs are very cute, it would be hard to let them go but it is understandable why they have to.

    1. Kellie, thanks for stopping by the farm!

  3. Oh, I wish I could have them.. smile.... Love your blog with such wonderful pics of your sheep.. xo


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