Monday, 29 February 2016

The lamb, the ram....

I have just got back in from the sheep paddock. It was cold out there this morning, dry but with a brisk wind which cheerfully blew a draft up my skirt. Good thing that I had wrapped myself around with my big woollen shawl so my top half was warmer.

The photo below was taken in 2012, after our life in the caravans (seen behind my head) demanded that I had warmer winter clothes. I could have bought . hat, gloves, and winter coat, but what is the fun in that! Better to sit for hours and crochet up a big thick poncho type of shawl, a hat, and fingerless gloves. The gloves, though, have long disintegrated, helped along by the rottweiller puppies the first winter they were here. The gloves, for some reason, were on the floor, and puppies being the inquisitive beings that they are, could not help but explore the endless possibilities of play that such soft, stretchy things could give them, mostly to do with tug of war games which soon unravelled the wool. As for the hat, that is away in the cupboard, not needed now because we are in the house and the caravans are long gone, but the shawl is still very much used.

.January 2012
January 2013, and the rottweiller pups have arrived!
Anyway, back to the paddock this morning. What was I doing? Going out to feed the lamb, who we have stoically refused to name because we can't become too attached to him. If he continues to thrive then he will become a ram. We already have one ram, plus there is another male lamb born who is already growing his ram horns and is gorgeous, and this little abandoned lamb is gorgeous as well, and so the ongoing predicament of smallholders who keep animals is 'what do we do with the over abundance of livestock'.  Animals give such joy and interest, and have taught us so many life lessons through learning how to care for them, but decisions about what to do with the animals, like the male lambs when they are near to being adults, remain difficult for us, which is a good thing, because it stops us from being hardened to the reality of keeping livestock. For us, a place without animals is a place which has no heart. this morning......on the way out to feed the lamb. I 'do' the morning and evening feeds, and Lester does the lunch time feed. All the sheep were inside their little barn. I suppose the chilliness of the morning was keeping them inside. Yesterday I went into the barn to feed the lamb because it was raining. 'Best not to do that again', is what I thought, as eight sheep plus their lambs took umbrage at my appearance and nearly knocked me over in their haste to get away from me. It would not have been so bad if the ewes and ram had kept all their feet on the ground, but they didn't. They went into leaping mode, just like they would have been when they were lambs. Having a heavy sheep leap towards you, and than past you, at shoulder height is quite scary. Trust me. This is not something you want to experience!
But then the sheep all came back into the barn to see what I was doing, all now calm. A couple even came up to say hello as I fed the lamb. Now that is something that I would like you experience!
...... so this morning......everyone was in the barn.....I called out 'Lamby, where are you?' in the hopes that he would come outside. I could hear his little bleat of acknowledgment. I saw him dive under the udder of a ewe in the hopes of getting some milk, but she flipped him away with her head. I lost sight of him. Could see the ram suddenly do an upward curve to his back. Had a momentary thought of 'Crikey, what's wrong with him....', saw him hunch upwards even more, and another thought flashed quick and sharp  into my head 'Oh no, that really does not look good......'
......but I need to get that lamb fed before the milk cools down in the bottle. Warm milk runs sweet and fast through the teat, cooler milk takes forever to flow.
I call to the lamb again. Meanwhile I am fixated with the dreamy look the ram is now getting. I call again. At the same time I see four little black feet, and they are underneath the ram. I bend over to get a better look, hoping that the lamb would move before the ram collapsed in a heap on him.
Ummmmm...... see the lamb nuzzling on the willy of the ram. Now know the reason why the ram was not looking his normal self. Ummmm...... 'Here's the milk, here......come here'......I say. See the ram suddenly jolt out of his state of bliss. See him turn sideways and with his huge horns scoop up the lamb and flip him into the air. See the lamb scurry through the feet of the sheep, and on out towards me. Milk given. Job done.
As for the rest of our small flock..... the other lambs are growing quickly and now spend most of their day grazing, with their mums now only letting them have milk for a few seconds now and again. And yesterday we had the first of the lamb escapees of the year. I have no doubt that there will more to come. For some reason young animals reach a stage when they feel the need to get through any barriers which get in their way, preferably a wired fence through which they either go through, under, or over. This applies to chicks, piglets, and lambs. All will feel the need to venture forth from where they should be. The first lamb, then, escaped from the big field, only to get into a fret when it could not get back to its mum, possibly encouraged in its fretting by Maz deciding to have a go at being a sheep dog.
I now need to go feed the chicks. No problem there. Just change their water, and put another plate of food down. The biggest chick was getting very bullying towards the little black chick, so I put the big chick into a box on his own so he could have an opportunity to review its behaviour. It stayed in the box for a couple of hours. It seemed to do the trick, and the bullying seemed to stop.
So the abandoned lamb is doing well, although can get into a muddle as to exactly where to get his milk from, the chicks are now growing some proper feathers, and I now have Boolie doing his 'You have been seen sitting too long at the computer' whine, Maz is nudging me with her nose, Blue is licking her legs, something she knows will always get my attention because the endless sound of lick, lick, lick, gets on my nerves! So what they are collectively saying is ' We Want Our Breakfast'!
Bye for now,


Rhodesia said...

LOL the ram must have been smiling! It was freezing here this morning, a frost and at mid-day the temp was still only 4C!!! The icy wind is horrible. Have a good week Diane

Kerry said...

Love your shawl, looks so warm and cozy x

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

glad the lamb is doing well. It must be fun to watch their antics.

DUTA said...

I like your shawl, hat and hand warmer. You save a lot of money by crochetting and knitting your own stuff. And of course, You've got the source material - sheep wool. Wool clothing is very expensive. No wonder, as there's nothing that gives more warmth in winter than wool. I've recently 'put my eye' on a lamb wool shirt on the internet, but I'm waiting for a sale as it's too expensive for me ( and shipping cost from the USA to Israel - not cheap).

Janice said...

Poor little lamb. I had to laugh when I read what happened with the ram. I can just see him getting all hot and bothered and then seeing the little lamb, no wonder he flipped him with his horn!!!lol Glad the little lamb didn't get hurt. Never a dull momemt for you!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

there just is never a dull moment.

PioneerPreppy said...

Heh. I now think us keeping our rams separated from the rest of the flock is an even better idea than I did before :)

I am seriously thinking about penning up the damned rooster too :)

Vera said...

DIANE, just looked at Meteo and looks like we are in for a patch of cold winds and rain. Yuk! But at least we are staying warm now the Rayburn is working! Hope you are staying warm and dry as well. This patch of weather will soon be behind us and then we shall having 'words' about how hot it is, and 'we could do with some rain' mutterings!

KERRY, that shawl is a monster, more like a blanket than a shawl, but I wear it out and about on the farm and it keeps me warmer than a coat does! Haven't got a coat anyway, so it is just as well it does!

LISA, being so close to our animals gives us endless moments of pleasure!

DUTA, I do save money by making my own clothes, mostly because they hardly ever wear out, except for knitted articles which eventually just get so stretchy that they fall apart! Hope you can get the shirt....postage from the USA to France is expensive as well.

JANICE, the lamb is a resilient little fellow, bless him. The ram did give him a hell of a bashing!

OHIOFARMGIRL, I think you would agree than when we keep animals there is always something going on!

PIONEER PREPPY, it was funny seeing the lamb getting the ram all hot and bothered, as for roosters....... darned things....lovely to look at but terrors when it comes to harassing the hens. We have two beautiful black Orpington cockerels who have just started competing with each one will have to go unfortunately because we have not as yet got our proper chicken hut sorted out! Looking forward to seeing photos of your lambs when they arrive.

Cro Magnon said...

My oldest hen (Richard; don't ask) died yesterday, and I put her on the wood pile in order to go indoors to fetch a large plastic bag. When I returned to the wood pile Richard had gone. I imagine one of the dogs from next door had taken her. I'm now waiting for my neighbour to turn-up saying 'I think one of the dogs may have killed your hen'. Interesting!

Vera said...

CRO MAGNON, oh dear, sorry about Richard. She must have been special otherwise you would not have given her that particular name! It will indeed be interesting as to whether or not the neighbours dogs took her carcass, and if they did, would the neighbour come and tell you! Or perhaps a fox or some such?