A Day On The Farm
For the most part we’ve experienced wonderful moments here on our farm. There’s excitement when we have new puppies, chickens, ducklings and of course lambs. One event that, I can’t ever get used to is death. Death on a farm is many times inevitable. We as farmers have some control over life BUT not always. You can schedule breedings that in of itself isn’t always a guarantee of success.
My blog today deals with the unfortunate moments of death. We began lambing 2-3 weeks ago. We had a few stressful deliveries but not out of the ordinary. One of our ewes delivered twins. The Tunis is revered as a twin lamb maker. This is always desirable in any lamb breed. The ewe that brought us twins was #121, she was sweet and gentle. I want to mention here; I don’t like to name my sheep until they’ve proven themselves as good, healthy moms. In this case all looked well for #121, she was destined to receive her well deserved name. A week later she started to fall off her feed a bit. Her babies of course were quite demanding on her, and I thought that was all. We gave her a bit more grain etc.. However earlier this week she got worse. We gave her calcium to boost her and other necessary vitamins that we hoped would invigorate her, and a call to our veterinarian, Dr. Jason for advice. The advice he gave me was not surprising to my ears but I didn’t want to hear it. He told me we needed to dry mom up. Gil and I had been discussing this the night before, and as farmers are ready to take up the unfortunate task of surrogacy if and when the situation should arise. We followed through with his advice.
We began by taking mom out of her jug she’d been sharing with her little ewes and then we blackened out (a black cloth screen), the jugs babies were in so they couldn’t see mom. Mom #121 was trying to be attentive but just couldn’t do it anymore. I watched her through our camera that we have in the barn but I knew, if she didn’t move that was it for our new mother. Sure enough at 5:00 a.m., February 14th she called it quits but not for lack of trying.
Thing to remember sheep as with other animals are herd animals and thrive with companionship, and G-d blessed her, and us with twins. How much more difficult it would have been if she had a single lamb, this would have been a totally different ballgame.
In my next blog I’ll share how we’re going about to create a secure safe nursery for the twins, and what brought mom down to the point of no return.