Sunday, April 21, 2013

One happy ending

Yearling mama and the chosen one
With all of the dreadful happenings lately, I'm happy to say that we have had at least one happy ending. But first, I have to tell you the story leading up to the happy ending. (I know, suspense is not my forte.)

After ten years with sheep, we had our first Shetland ewe to ever reject a lamb. It was a yearling, and I'm thinking that maybe there is a reason why most yearlings only have a single lamb. Maybe they can only count to one, or maybe the idea of mothering two lambs is simply too overwhelming. Whatever the reason, last Wednesday a yearling lamb had twins, and she would only let one nurse. She was tap dancing around the pasture refusing to let the other one nurse. After watching this sad story for about half an hour -- and watching the lamb trying to nurse on every other critter in the pasture, including the llama, we finally decided to call it quits. The saddest thing was when the little ram tried to nurse off Kewanee, an adult wether, and Kewanee butted him, flipping him onto his back so hard that he completely rolled over like a dog.  And mind you, this little lamb was at least a couple of hours old. He was mostly dry, although filthy, so mama had done nothing to clean him up after he was born. When picking up him and his brother, it was painfully obvious that his tummy was empty while his brother's tummy was quite full.

I was not terribly happy about having a bottlefed ram for multiple reasons. First off, rams should not be bottlefed, and if they must be, then they need to be castrated because intact rams that have been bottlefed tend to be extremely dangerous. They think that you're one of them, and they treat you the same way they'd treat another sheep -- ramming you whenever the urge arises. What's wrong with a bottlefed wether? Well, I can't see myself butchering a bottlefed animal of any species. I just get too attached to them. And I don't need more sheep. I'm trying to cut back. Remember?

Sarah and the rejected lamb
Challenge #2: I'm leaving for New York City on Monday, and Sarah our apprentice was going to be leaving on Saturday, meaning that Mike and Jonathan would be stuck with caring for a newborn bottle baby that needs four bottles a day. I tried my best to convince everyone that there was an upcoming "take your lamb to work day" next week, but they weren't buying it.

Saturday afternoon, a lovely family with two young children came to pick up a couple of goat wethers that would be family pets, and while they were here, I showed them the lambs in the barn. Without even thinking about it until the words were already out of my mouth, I said, "I've got a bottle lamb that you could have." The mom's only question was whether it would need a bottle in the middle of the night, and as soon as I said no, they were sold on the idea. The children were ecstatic about having their very own little cuddly lamb. We talked about lamb care, and they said they'd bring him back in a couple of months for castration.

Part of me was very sad to see the little guy leave, but it's a little easier when I know he's going to such a great home where he is going to get lots of love and attention. And seriously, I have to admit that I'm already over-extended, especially with our apprentice leaving. Speaking of Sarah, even though she left yesterday, I'm hoping to provide you with a couple more posts from her!

Clean-up from the flood continues. Mike is out in the pasture working on the fence as I type. One good thing about the rain is that it did cause the grass to go through a big growth spurt!


Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

Ohhh good! such a happy ending, poor little baby lamb!

Danielle said...

You should feel lucky that is the first lamb that has been rejected.


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