Tessa figured out how to nurse, finally, at 1:30 AM Monday morning. We had gone out with the tube and syringe, ready to tube feed her again, but I had brought the bottle nipple on a whim and said "Let's try the nipple again". We had to pry her mouth open, as always, but once we got it in, all of the sudden the light went on in her head and she started sucking like mad. It was a huge relief. I was trying to figure out how in the world I was going to tube feed her by myself on Monday while Ken was at work. The last couple of feedings before this one, she was pretty squirmy. But now that wasn't an issue anymore. Hallelujah!
So the next hurdle has been teaching her that she has to open her mouth and take the nipple herself. She's slowly getting the idea. But she's a funny one. For the first couple days, she wouldn't even open her mouth to "baa". It came out sort of muffled sounding. Yesterday and last night I would let milk dribble out of the bottle so it was on the end of the nipple, and as she was hunting for the food she knew was coming, I'd press the nipple against her mouth. The milk would dribble out onto her lips and some would get inside and this encouraged her to try to find more. This morning at 10AM she almost got it. I haven't had to really pry her mouth open during the last day, but have had to push the nipple into her mouth. This morning she sort of opened wide enough and got just the tip and then sucked it in, so that's definitely progress.
We were thinking of trying to get her back onto her mother, but with the problems she'd been having just learning to nurse, that is not looking like it's going to be an option. We'd have to tie Cozette up again, and then try to get Tessa to nurse off mom so that she would know where it was. Then, we'd have to keep Cozette tied for probably several days until she accepted Tessa, if she ever did. But the longer you wait to try this, the less likely it will work, and we're just now getting Tessa to understand how to nurse on the bottle and she's already 4 days old. So it looks like we have a bottle lamb. I ordered a rack and bottle that you can hang from a fence, and we'll have to train her to use that so that when I'm back to work (taking vacation this week), she can feed herself during the day.
Comment from: Rosemarie (Chickie) Lacroix
Thanks this is interesting. I’m enjoying reading all you have written. Have you tried priming the mom and lather her nipples with milk? I don’t know anything about this but it was just a thought. You may have done many things already. Congrats on getting that little one to eat. Will mom get milk bound? I don’t know anything about raising sheep so pardon the questions.
I’m going back to read some more. Are you the grandma or the foster mom? Best of luck with your new family. That’s a cute little one.
Happy Winter Spring? Chickie
We did try to get her to nurse from Cozette again, after she had learned to nurse on the bottle, but it didn’t work. We tied Cozette up again, and Ken held her, and I got Tessa up to mom, and tried to get her on the teat. But even with milk coming out, and Tessa’s mouth right up on the teat, she wouldn’t nurse. Tessa was trying to back away, and Cozette kept leaning over like she was trying to sit on one hip, and it just seemed like more stress on everyone than it was worth. I think Tessa was afraid of Cozette by then, because she’d been butted away enough times and probably wondered what we were trying to do to her.
Cozette still has Tug to nurse on her, so she’ll keep producing milk and won’t dry up until he’s weaned.