Sunday, August 5, 2007

Princess of Antiquity Oaks -- and another lamb

In the middle of yesterday afternoon, I took a break from picking maggots out of Princess's skin and went outside to see if the rest of the lambs looked okay. I knew I wouldn't be able to catch any of them by myself but hoped I could get close enough to see if any others might be having a problem with maggots. I had completely forgotten that there are still several ewes left to lamb. After getting as close as possible to the lambs and seeing nothing but healthy, "hoppy" lambs, I decided to go back into the house. As I passed a shelter, my peripheral vision caught a glimpse of something, and I suddenly remembered that we still have pregnant ewes! I ran to the shelter and found Minerva and a beautiful spotted ram lamb nursing. He was quite dirty, so I decided to wash him off in a bucket of water, hoping to give the flies nothing tempting enough in which to lay their eggs.

Today, Princess continues to improve. She is objecting to my poking and picking maggots, which is good. Yesterday was scary when she just laid there for hours motionless and quiet. Every hour or two I check the holes in her skin, and I wind up picking out another dozen or so maggots. Finally it looks like I have them all, but a couple hours later, there are more. Of course, our local farm supply store does not have the spray that was recommended by several of the women on my sheep list. They have almost nothing that I need. I wind up ordering most of my farm supplies on the Internet. So I am stuck with tweezers and hydrogen peroxide until the spray arrives via pony express.

Last night, I dreamt of -- what else -- maggots. After seeing them for so many hours, I really didn't expect much less. I got to bed around midnight, then Princess woke me at 3:30 wanting a bottle. I gave her three ounces of milk, and as I was washing the bottle, she started fussing, so I gave her two ounces more. Then I went back to bed, and every minute or so, she'd let out a tiny little bleat. After 15 minutes of that, I decided that she might need to potty and didn't want to do it in the crate, so I took her outside. The lamb and I stood in the light of the barn for another 15 minutes with Princess just looking at me and sticking close to my feet whenever I took a step in any direction. Finally, I picked her up and came inside. Knowing that she probably just wanted me to hold her, I sat down on the couch, trying to decide what to do. I'd have been happy to have her sleep with me except for the maggot issue. I knew I'd never fall asleep if there were real life maggots in my bed with me! Only a few seconds after I sat down, she leapt out of my arms, ran to the other end of the couch, squatted, and peed. I managed to shove a towel behind her before she actually started peeing, so the couch was saved. I put her back in her crate, and she was quiet until the sun rose.

Today she is spending all of her time either sitting in my lap or laying on a comforter that I put on the floor next to my computer chair. She has definitely bonded to her new human and canine family. I'm not sure if Porter, the English shepherd puppy thinks she is his new toy or his new baby. He keeps trying to play with her, no matter how many times I yell at him to stop, but he also insists on cleaning her bottom every time she goes outside to potty. I'm not quite sure how this will figure into his future as a sheep herding dog.


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

While I was reading your newest post, it occurred to me that this might be one very good reason to lamb in early spring, instead of the summer fly season! I hope little Princess soon learns to associate grass with potty functions, instead of your furniture!

Deborah said...

A couple weeks ago I said to a sheep shearer that I met at a festival that I was lambing at the end of July and wouldn't have to worry about lambs getting hypothermia when they're born. He said, "yeah, you'll just have to worry about the flies." I thought, I have Shetlands and we don't dock tails, so I have nothing to worry about! grrr . . .

Nancy K. said...

I even worry about the ewes getting bothered when they have bloody tails after lambing and I lamb my girls in late April to early May. I am SO impressed by the excellent care you've given this little lamb. If I ever get a sheep with fly strike, can I send it to you?????

I don't know about Porter's herding future, but you sure are going to have one HECK of a spoiled sheep!!!


Deborah said...

Yes, now I'm worried about my ewes too! Someone sent me an email privately about a ewe whose udder got infested with maggots! I am definitely NOT going to do this summer lambing thing again.


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