|And just what use are you?|
Certainly bottle fed lambs (agni) think the bottle holder is some form of ewe. There I was, in the sheep shed, with a bottle of milk for a lamb that had been rejected by its mother. Ewes can be difficult. It was one of a pair of twins and came hurtling towards me when I called.
I bent over slightly and held the bottle next to my right knee. The lamb gave my knee a couple of perfunctory head bumps and latched onto the teat. It's stomach visibly swelled as it suckled. A lamb that is suckling an ewe is not given as much time on the teat as a lamb on the bottle. The ewe gets bored and walks off. The bottle fed lamb gets more milk in one go.
Then I became aware that the situation was being studied by the other twin. Its reasoning process appeared to be as follows:
brother on teat,-
mother has two teats, -
other teat must be free, -
mother (very odd shape) standing very still, -
must seize opportunity. -
It then gave a couple of hefty head bumps to the back of my left knee, seized a fold of my jeans and started vigorously to suck. Disappointed, it gave up before the right knee lamb had finished its bottle.
The purpose of the head bumps, I have been told, is not to express any form of affection or recognition but an imperative reminder to the ewe that she must let the milk down. It is quite an endearing habit when the lamb weighs under 15 kg.... Less so when they get to be over 25 kg..