Sunday, September 21, 2008

Llamas and lambs

The llamas are moved! Yesterday, as Mike and I worked on moving the turkey mama and her poults to a new movable pen, we talked about how to catch the llamas. I knew Margaret was out in the pasture with them, but I figured she was just hanging out. Then I saw a llama walking in front of our small barn. I screeched and pointed because there is no fence between the front of the barn and the road. Just as I was about to really panic, I saw Margaret walking from between the barns leading another llama. She was talking sweetly to Sterling to come along and follow his brother -- and he did! Katherine was coming up the rear holding the halter and lead rope that should have been on Sterling.

Margaret recalled that Sterling and Merlin have been together their whole lives, and they're around 12, which is why the llama breeder wanted to sell them together. So, Margaret assumed Sterling would follow along. Unfortunately, my camera beeped that the memory card was full after I'd taken only two pictures, but the boys cooperated quite nicely and are now living with the sheep.

So, how did Margaret succeed all by herself where three of us had failed before? She went into the pasture and started following Merlin quietly and slowly, showing him the halter and explaining to him that she just needed to put it on for a short walk to their new pasture. "I complimented their intelligence," she told me with a smile. Mike and I were only briefly humiliated before we realized that she had just saved us a ton of work, and we should just be thankful that she had taken care of a job that we had all been dreading.

As for the coyotes ... This morning, Mike went out and climbed up a tree near the sheep pasture to see if they showed up again. Although he didn't see a coyote, he did have a chat with a sheriff's deputy. Apparently he saw Mike sitting up in the tree as he drove by, because he pulled into our driveway, turned around, and drove back over to the pasture to ask what was wrong. Mike just said, "Coyotes," and the deputy said that he had seen one at the pig farm two miles south of us. Mike decided to stay in the tree for another hour in case it decided to have lamb for breakfast, but it never showed up.

Now that the llamas are in with the sheep, I am hoping the lambs are safe. White Feather had a ram lamb a few days ago. So far, all five sheep that have lambed have had singles, so although they do ovulate in April, obviously they don't ovulate much. Newborn lambs look so cute and wobbly! In case you've lost track, we've have four rams and only one ewe so far.

The oldest lambs are so much fun to watch. They chase each other and push each other around. On Friday, they were using these two trees as their jungle gym. When I was across the pasture, they were running figure-eights through here. The two oldest lambs would jump up on the area where the two trees have grown together and then launch themselves into the air as if they were flying. Unfortunately as I tried to sneak closer, they got shy, so here you can see the little ewe peeking at me from behind her favorite play spot.

I'm certain now that the little ewe is brown. When I first looked at her pictures on my blog, I thought her wool didn't look quite black, but it wasn't until I saw her in the sunlight that I started to think she was brown. You can see when she is standing next to a truly black lamb that I was right. She is our only brown ewe, and we couldn't be more excited about it. She is actually Margaret's ewe, which is exciting for her, because she only has white ewes.

On a final note, I am happy to report that Teddy has improved dramatically since his attack in July. When talking to a couple of shepherds that have had similar experiences, they assured me he would heal and that he would even grow wool where the coyotes had ripped off his skin. And indeed, he has! The four-inch by six-inch area is almost completely healed and 1/4-inch wool is already growing on the new skin! If a human lost that much skin, we'd have to have a skin graft. The healing ability of animals is truly amazing to me.


Nancy K. said...

Good job, Margaret!!

I'm so glad to see everyone on the mend. Did you deliberately plan on fall lambs?

I actually had to start feeding hay today! This is a first in the Bluff Country...

Deborah said...

No, the fall lambs were quite the surprise! I think you were busy with the sheep show when it happened. Here's the link to the post:

pedalpower said...

Yea Margaret!

Congratulations on all your new little ones too!

Pamela said...

Such lovely little ones! And great the little sheep now have such brave and intelligent guardians. Here's hoping your coyote problem is officially over.

Jenny Holden said...

Well done getting Teddy better, poor chap has really been through it. He must be tough.

Lambs are gorgeous! But they're going to need plenty of bedding, unless it doesn't get cold by you! Did the tup escape?

Gabby Girl said...

Such cute little babies! I want one! :)


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