They Were Saving Them For A Rainy Day

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*Disclaimer: This post contains content that portrays real life on the homestead. Some images may depict events that could be considered sensitive. Please be advised.

An Early Start
Now, I know that lots of y'all get up super early on a regular basis, so me complaining about this is about like me, and Arkansan, complaining to a northerner about the cold; but, this morning started out rough for me because I had a 7:00 staff meeting at work. That meant I had to get up about an hour earlier than usual to feed and check on the animals. Add to that the fact that it was pouring rain, and I was not a happy camper. I begrudgingly put on my coveralls, grabbed my flashlight, and headed out splish-splashing toward the pasture.

The way I have the temporary fencing set up right now, I have to turn the solar charger off and step over the fence to get to the barn. As soon as those sheep see me carrying their food bucket, they mob me. That is usually when I do my morning head count.

"1, 2, 3... 4-5, 6, 7, 8..."

There were supposed to be 9 out there. "Here we go again", I thought to myself. "I don't have time for this, this morning!"

I began the search for the missing sheep; pushing my way past the unruly gang of sheep that was trying to rob me of all my grain. I eventually spotted her and immediately knew that I needed to keep her separated from the rest of the herd. So, I gave the ravenous horde their share of the grain and saved the rest for the straggler.

I got her isolated in the barn and put her ration of feed down. She immediately stepped up to it and checked it out before backing away and eyeing me worriedly.

A Good Mommy

There isn't much that will keep these sheep away from their grain (we have to carefully ration it out to them or else it could lead to rumen acidosis), but this momma wasn't about to step away from her baby as long as I was around. I was very impressed with her loyalty! Not only had she stayed put with her baby under the dry barn roof while the rest of the mob met me at the fence, but she was willing to forgo nom noms to keep it safe! Talk about a good mommy!

I thought about trying to get the new duo separated from the rest along with our other momma and baby, but more than that, I needed to get back in the house and finish getting ready for work; so, I trusted the lamb's wellbeing to its mom and trudged my way back through the mud to get to the house.

Work was... work: meetings and paperwork and more paperwork so that I could have more meetings. It continued to rain throughout the day. Thankfully, we didn't get any of the severe storms that the weatherman said were possible, but boy was it soggy by the time I got home.

Again, I dawned my still-damp coveralls and boots to head out through the mud. By now, the rain had moved out, but there was still standing water in many places on the ground. This time, as I approached the sheep pasture, I noticed all of them except one was hanging out together. Then, I noticed why...

Another Lamb!

By this time, the homestead hottie (my wife) had been out to move this morning's new duo into the nursery paddock; but, there was still a baby in the fence. We had another ewe give birth, today!

This one was not quite as impressive with her mothering skills. While I did notice her letting her baby nurse, when she realized that I had some food, she dipped out and came running. I needed to get her and her baby over into the nursery paddock, but she is one of our more skittish animals. I tried attracting her with her own personal bowl of grain, but she wouldn't follow. I picked up her baby in hopes that she would follow me then... no luck. Eventually, I had to place the lamb outside of the fence and wait for mommy to finish eating. The poor little lamb was bleating, crying out for her mom; but, mom would only temporarily look over her shoulder before shoving her nose back into her food.

Eventually, after all the grain was gone, she did rush over to find her baby. I don't think she'll be a bad mother; but, she just wasn't quite as diligent as the other ewe.

Sad Reality of Life On A Homestead

After I got everyone settled, I had a chance to climb back over the fence and look around. That's when I noticed a tragic sight. Apparently, our newest mommy had been pregnant with twins; however, this one didn't make it. I'm not even sure why. It looks like she cleaned it up, but it was just laying there. Perhaps her tendency to wander off cost this little one its life; or, more likely, it was born weak or with some deficiency that signaled the mom to abandon it.

So, that makes three ewes that have lambed in three days. I think we still have one more to go, plus we still have the three goats that should be giving birth any time now.


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