Saturday, March 07, 2009

It was one of Those days...

WARNING: This is a sad post - as always, life and death happen on a farm - sometimes simultaneously - sometimes, just the death part...


Yesterday was a sad day on the farm at Marietta Shetlands - The Shepherd normally gets up and feeds the sheep then comes in and has his breakfast. As the company he works for has cut back to four days a week, for right now, he has Friday's off, so he went back out after his morning oatmeal to check on the girls, especially Moni, our dark brown ewe, as she wasn't taking the cold very well, grinding her teeth and shivering - (he even put up the heat lamp).

What he found was Moni, with a dead ram lamb, and one more coming. It seemed to be coming normally, feet first and head in the right place, but it must have been in the birth canal too long, as, even though he assisted, it was also dead.

Moni seems OK - she passed the afterbirth yesterday afternoon and has been eating and moving around. He decided not to milk her colostrum (although we've never needed it, it would be good to have some in the freezer) so her milk wouldn't come in so much. He's still "on watch" with her, but today she is out in the pasture munching on grass - life goes on.


In Memory of Buddy -

Buddy was the wether that we had in with H.B. as his "buddy" - What we hadn't really noticed until about a month ago, was, that H.B. was not letting him eat and, in typical ram fashion, being kind of mean to his pasture mate.

But Buddy was a lover, not a fighter and often as not, he would just lay down so H.B. couldn't chase him - but sometimes he was still getting "pummeled".

The Shepherd had separated him out from H.B. but he didn't seem to be gaining any weight, and after shearing and the ultra cold weather that we've had the last few days, it seemed that there were other problems. As he was talking to the vet about Moni, they chatted about Buddy and decided that he would bring him in and they would put him down.

I suppose, in other times, on other farms, Buddy would have met his end on the farm and been cooked up for soup - Since neither one of us care for lamb, we have no small white packages in the freezer, and he rests in peace here.

After shearing, we also are wondering if Jewell is "with lambs" - hopefully there's one hiding in there - if not, it will be the end of a blood line because the ram she was in with, Danny and his newly shorn pasture mate, Taylor will be going to the auction soon - probably not this weekend as the weatherman keeps saying it is going to snow - looks like it might, but it's 41 degrees out right now.

So that's how our week ended. When you have a small flock, each animal is so valued. When you are a farmer, the value is in your harvest. When you are a shepherd, your harvest is in the spring when the lambs come. Essentially, we lost a quarter of our harvest.

We still have high hopes for Pearl and Luna who were bred to H.B. - they are looking pleasingly plump, and like their moms before them, getting pretty bitchy. They are several weeks off though - I'll keep you posted.

9 comments:

Corinne R. said...

I am so sorry for your loses. I hope that Moni continues to do well and that Pearl and Luna have some very special lambs for you.

Jan's Funny Farm said...

It must be hard to lose so many animals at a time. We're sorry.

Kathy said...

We are so very sorry at your losses. Buddy especially hit us hard as we've faced the same scenario with our ram having just one wether.

May the Lambing Godess blees you and the Shepherd with healthy lambs for the remainder of the season...and ewes all.

Hugs from the SW Shepherdess who is Down Under at the moment...

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Oh Tina, what a sad spring so far for you and the shepherd. I'm glad I've kept Browning with the girls; I kept him to be a ram companion, but have worried that Braveheart would hurt him and now I know I can't take that chance. He will still be helpful as an "open ewe" companion, since I don't plan to breed all four girls every year.

Lavendersheep said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It is so hard to have all of it happen at one time. I hope the rest of your lambs will be happy and healthy!

Donna said...

That is awful about Moni's lambs and about Buddy too. When it rains, it pours. Here's hoping the bad stuff is over and you'll have beautiful bouncing dreamy lambs soon!

Dave said...

I hate it when bad things happen to good people. I hope that the rest of your lambing goes much better...

Robin said...

Oh, Tina -- our sympathies to you and to John. :(
May spring, whenever it comes, be a time of rebirth.

Tammy said...

Hi Tina,
I've been computerless for since last week, so am catching up with everyone's blogs. So sorry to hear about the sadness of losing your lambs and wether. I hope and pray that Moni will recover and be back to herself soon. It is so hard when they are sick and equally hard when something sudden overtakes them.
Take care,
Tammy