Soggie, the lamb who is going to stay.
It is spring, the time when a baby wave passes over the sheep island of Texel. Thousands and thousands of lambs are born there. There are many soggies among them, lovingly adopted by many Texel families.
A special phenomenon in the spring: frolicking and jumping lambs in the Texel meadows. Full of zest for life. They run back and forth happily bleating, getting up to some mischief here and there and making a few agile jumps in between.
After romping around with your peers, you naturally get hungry. Mother sheep is usually close by, with an udder full of fresh milk, she braces herself to suckle the young ones. It is a touching sight when her offspring squeeze under her, look for a teat and start to lap enthusiastically with their tails waving.
With such a full belly it's wonderful to take a nice nap. Cozy against your mother's fur, nice in the sun, preferably in the lee of a tuunwal. To put it in Texel style: on top of things.
Usually a mother sheep or ewe has two lambs. But triplets are also born and sometimes even four or more. Mother sheep cannot raise so many lambs at the same time.
Lambs that cannot go to their mother for milk are called soggies. They are bottle raised. Every spring there are a lot of those soggies on Texel. So much that the farmer, who already has his hands more than full during lambing, does not get around to bottle-feeding all those lambs.
During that busy period, Texel households come to the farmer's aid. They adopt one or more soggies into the family. A lamb like that on the floor causes a lot of commotion, children especially love having such a playmate.
It can happen that you hear lambs bleating on many Texel yards in the spring. Especially when they get hungry. Then the children can get started. Because you have to bottle feed a soggie like that about six times a day.
Those who bottle-feed often get a lot of attention from the lambs. Anyone who arrives with a full bottle is greeted enthusiastically by the temporary family member, who greedily gulps down the bottle.
Gradually a strong bond develops. Then such a soggie becomes a real buddy and hops enthusiastically behind the caregiver. Just as they would otherwise stay close to mother sheep.
Soggies stay out until they are big enough. Then they go back to the farmer to scrape together their own food in the meadow among their brothers and sisters.