Livestock Lambing

cleobc

Veteran Member
I wrote this for my Facebook page. Lambing is a trying time. Rewards, frustrations, sadness--all in the same day sometimes.
I had a neighbor in the mountain community I once lived in who would say if she ever lost her mind, she was going to get a gun and pick off the RVs driving oh so slowly up the pass highway. I have recently thought about this, but I would choose different targets should I go postal: ewes.
This time of year, my good-tempered, intelligent sheep lose their minds. An excess of hormones drives them to personality changes that I find difficult to deal with in an exhausted state.
...The Lamb Stealer: “My baby.” “That’s not your baby, sweetie, that’s another ewe’s lamb.” “My baby!”” Not yours, honey, you’ve just barely gone into labor and your hormones are telling you that you already have one.” “MY baby.” “Look dear, just leave the lamb alone and have yours! You don’t get to just skip the hard work and pain and go straight to the cuddling phase!” “MY BABY!” “Look, you idiot, go lie down and PUSH!”
The Self-Interested Mother: Me: “Your lamb is bleating. Go feed it.” “I’m eating here. I don’t care if he’s hungry right now.” “He’s blatting loud enough to wake the dead. Go feed him.” “The little brat will get dinner after I get mine.” “I can’t hear myself think! The neighbors will think I’m torturing animals!” “Munch. Chew. Swallow.”
The Ovine Terrorist: “I keel you!” “I’m not hurting your lamb, just dipping its navel.” “I keel you!” “Not hurting it, all done, go away!” “I keel you!” “Beat it, you woolly moron, quit following me! I don’t eat raw lamb and I wouldn’t eat yours anyway!” “I keel you!”
 

summerthyme

Administrator
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LOL! We're heading into what will likely be our last calving season (planning on selling all but maybe 3 or 4 cows and a bull... sick of working this hard for nothing). It's very bittersweet... I'm definitely getting to the point where the endless midnight (and 2 am, 3 am and 4 am) checks are getting to be more than I can handle. And mostly, cows don't get quite as nuts as sheep (a bit higher brainpower to start with)

But that doesn't mean you can ever forget about the potential Bovine Terrorist... we did butcher a nice 7 year old cow last year because she'd gone from being dangerously aggressive for 24 hours or so after calving to needing to be securely tied for 3 WEEKS, to trying to kill us in the pasture all summer. Plus, she was horned. The hamburger is delicious!

But there is nothing cuter than a pasture full of calves or lambs, once we catch up on our sleep!

Good luck this year...

Summerthyme
 
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RememberGoliad

Senior Member
Sheep are pretty damn psycho for their size, especially about their young. Singular there. I do not think sheep can count to two. We have one ewe who is *usually* the best mama in the world but Lord is she dumb! She dropped one lamb and had to get up for some reason and move about 30 feet, got back down and had the second one. Completely forgot about the first one. Couldn't have cared less about it. Of course, none of the other mamas wanted it, so guess who wound up feeding it? Yep.

She HAD to do this at 1pm on a Saturday when the nearest and onliest feed store closes at 1pm and opens back up Monday at 7am. So I drank black coffee all weekend and fed the little one my heavy cream for my coffee. (It's the only dairy product besides butter that we keep around. Oh, THAT has changed now....there's an unopened bag of colostrum replacement and a full unopened bag of lamb milk on top of the fridge, and if/when they get opened they'll be replaced next trip to town) Told my wife if she's still alive come Monday morning (the lamb, not the wife!) I'd ride into town and grab some lamb milk. She was and I did. That was May 3 this year.

I know one's not supposed to name one's food. But we did name this one. How can you NOT, when it thinks you're its mama? DW picked out the name. We call her Bergini. Story behind that, too. When we bought the place, the front porch was nowhere near sturdy enough for her wheelchair. So she got a new one. We're in south Texas, where people have a little different accent than most places. A 'ch' ending on a word is as likely to be pronounced 'sh'. I grew up here and slip into mis-pronouncing stuff all the time. I sent her a pic when I completed her ramp and deck and called her and told her I sent her a pic of her new porsh. Ok. Cut back to the lamb. Made it a little night-bed down by the bottom of her ramp. Didn't want her wandering off and getting lost and me having to go hunt for her in the wee hours before dawn, wagging a bottle all around the place. So, after a day or so, Denise came up with the name Bergini. I figured she was thinking of some Italian dish with a marinara sauce or something and thinking ahead. A few days later I asked her how she came to pick that name. She replied, "Now you have a lamb Bergini to park next to my new porsh."

Bergini is now 3 months old and weaned. She's our yardman now. She grazes around inside the yard fence and has exactly zero interest in the other sheep. Dogs love her. They just look at her as a funny looking, profoundly retarded dog with a speech impediment. She follows me around like a puppy, and when I go out to the shop or the chicken house--both out in the pasture--she goes with me. Her incubator and twin sister show mild interest in her but nothing motherly. She has no interest whatsoever in associating with those 'field critters' and is more than ready to get back up to the house with me later. Maybe puberty will change that. It'll surely get Big Guy eager to come up to the house and make friends when the time comes.

Yes, they do change from happily stupid critters to defiant, belligerent, protective idiots from the time lambing enters their minds until they're tired of a little leech following 'em around. It is fun though.... so long as you don't get between mama and a newborn and turn your back. (I guess that's with any animal, even humans, though!)

I have no doubt this is only our first bottle lamb. We bought the place in '18 with four sheep left on it that the seller couldn't catch and haul. Those turned into 19 by this summer. Seven boys went to sale barn last Monday. Rest of 'em have probably already forgotten that they were even ever here.

Is it just ours, or do rams have a really goofy sounding voice? The ewes sound kinda like a Model T horn. Just a tongue-out, abrasive yell. The guys, though, have a little personality to their calls. Sounds like a question, kinda a soft "Duhhh?" which seems to fit their intellect perfectly.

The whole gang about 10 days ago ...Bergini is not in this pic. This is her about 5 weeks old...
 

Faroe

Un-spun
Sorry to hear it's been frustrating. I kept a small flock of Shetlands back in IA.
Bright for ...sheep. Little and personable. They never gave me any trouble.
I still miss them.
 

RememberGoliad

Senior Member
Sorry to hear it's been frustrating. I kept a small flock of Shetlands back in IA.
Bright for ...sheep. Little and personable. They never gave me any trouble.
I still miss them.
Frustrating, yeah. I've only ever been around cattle, and while somewhat cerebrally challenged they're at least predictable and show some initiative/cunning. But it's not all frustration. Rewarding, yes, that too. Every time I see Bergini I think about if it wasn't for this plandemic she'd have been carrion within a few days. I'm just glad we were here to watch her grow. And all of 'em give us a giggle at one time or another. Especially Big Guy and his "Duuuhhhh?" :cry:
 

Walrus Whisperer

Hope in chains...
I watched a goat roundup this morning. Neighbor was gonna get rid of half of his herd, getting too much for him. Lady rancher comes with a stock trailer, the fun begins. Some of these goats were pretty big, some very small; some with horns, some not. He comes out with a bigger Billy goat that had big horns. It almost got away from him, then it butted him right in the male parts. 3 times! He's on the ground in pain and still has a grip on the goat. He told me later he's got bruises from here to Sunday. :eek:
Dang, never a dull minute around here!
 
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