Some people think animals, especially livestock animals, lack intelligence… What do you think?
I agree that some animals are certainly smarter than others. Some animals are more trainable than others, some are more instinctual than others. I’ve not been sure what I thought about sheep and lambs.
This winter we became bottle baby lamb owners. Our first lamb, Holly, is now several months old and doesn’t need the bottle anymore. She doesn’t even really need to be indoors but since she’s a part of our second lambs rehabilitation program and because we are in the negative digits temperature wise, she’s been allowed to remain inside a bit longer.
Sam, our second lamb, came to us with something like lamb polio and has responded tremendously from physical therapy and extra vitamins.
You can read more about how we ended up with lambs here. In a nutshell; these lambs were from very old ewes and they were twins from different mothers. Sam was rejected by mom. Holly’s mom had a second lamb that got stuck, died and then she died.
Sam and Holly are in a gated off area of our home’s entryway where sweeping up is easily done. We normally reach over the gate and give the lambs their bottles. Holly has one bottle, Sam has another. Holly’s bottle is basically filled with water with just a splash of milk replacer. Sam’s bottle is all milk replacer.
However, since calving season has begun and we are in the throes of insanely uncharacteristic winter weather, the calves are needing lots of help from us right now… and Holly’s bottle is being used with the calves. So she’s being weaned from the bottle. For the last few days she’s been jumping at Sam’s bottle and crying for her bottle, putting up quite a stink.
This morning Sam refused his bottle. He’s still just 5 lbs and is not ready to wean yet. We finally figured out why…
During Sam’s bottle rejection, Nathan gave Holly a few sucks from Sam’s bottle. She calmed down right away and the bottle was offered to Sam again- Sam gulped his bottle down after Holly was pacified.
Everyone told me lambs were dumb and had a terrible will to live, that other livestock- like goats- are much easier to keep alive and thriving. Looks like Sam isn’t lacking in intelligence at all!