Papa Chivo saves the day

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Even after Baby the Sheep’s untimely death, my husband carried on with his idea of switching from goats to sheep.  He came home one day with Big Mama, an enormous black-faced furry sheep which cost a pretty penny.  So now our herd was made up of 3 pregnant goats (Jirafe’s twin daughters and La Blanca), Baby’s mama, Big Mama, Caramela the sheep, and Skunk, the sheep macho.  

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Big Mama didn’t waste any time and within days gave birth to Fuzzy.  Fuzzy is a huge baby and naturally enough, very fuzzy.  I started to like the idea of sheep if it meant in May we could shear them and I’d have a bit of wool to make stuff with.  

Not satisfied with Fuzzy and Big Mama, my husband traded Buttercup for an even bigger sheep, Cottonball, and a smaller sheep, Mary, both of the woolly species. Cottonball also didn’t waste any time and that very evening went into labor.  

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Things didn’t go as smoothly for Cottonball.  After hours of labor, she was no closer to giving birth.  The Borrega guy (one of our neighbors) suggested an injection to help speed things along.  That helped, but the baby just couldn’t get out.  It was presenting rump-first.  So my husband became the midwife and inserted his hand to grab hold of the lamb.  Its neck was bent around, which was causing the hold-up.  After some more tugging, Peep came free, however, her neck was bent at an odd angle.  My husband thought maybe her neck was broken.  She was also very weak.  

But the proceedings weren’t finished yet.  A hand went in again and there was another baby presenting rump-first.  This one was smaller than Peep and seemed to have less of an issue with the neck.  Thus arrived Bo.  Bo and Peep were both girls.

Only things weren’t done yet.  Another rump-first lamb was having difficulty getting out.  So some more mid-wife intervention on the part of my husband and the Borrega guy and FINALLY Wuzzy was born.  Wuzzy was a boy and of the three the first one to stand and make his presence known.

By that time Cottonball was exhausted.  We weren’t sure Bo and Peep would make it through the night and there was still the risk of infection because of the assisted birth.  The next day we bought some penicillin for Cottonball and some dried milk for the babies.  Cottonball wasn’t interested in nursing any of the babies.  We considered trying to have Big Mama adopt at least Wuzzy, but he was a third of Fuzzy even though they were only 6 days apart in age.  

So bottle-feeding began while we waited to see if Cottonball would come around.  Wuzzy was the first in line at feeding time and would not be set aside until he was satisfied.  Peep was the loudest baa-er when hungry.  Her neck was still twisted but she could walk and carry on so, which made us think maybe her neck muscles were sprained and not broken and hope for recovery. She looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Bo wasn’t able to walk until the second day.  She didn’t carry on like Peep.  She didn’t insert herself for feedings like Wuzzy, but she was able to eat and walk.  We were hopeful.  

We also bought some selenium vitamins to give the lambs once they were 15 days old. Since we weren’t sure that Cottonball would feed them regularly, we wanted to give them at least a fighting chance.  Cottonball did improve the third day after birth, but she was very lax when responding to Peep’s hunger cries.  She seemed to allow Wuzzy to feed occasionally, but then he just wouldn’t take no for an answer.

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The third night, there was a gathering of coyotes outside our front door.  We think that there might have been a dead cow in the area that they had been feasting on.  Their howling woke my husband.  He sprung up and ran to the window to scare off the coyotes because “they were going to wake the babies.”  Papa Chivo in full form!

Cottonball made a slow recovery but never did get into the swing of motherhood when it came to the triplets.  My son took one look at them and said we needed to rename them Troll 1, Troll 2, and Troll 3.  They are not cute little sheep.  They are not glorious like Wuzzy.  They remind me of what zombie sheep might look like, gray and mottled.  Well, maybe they will spruce up after a while?  What do you think?

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2 Comments

Filed under Animal Husbandry, Homesteading

2 responses to “Papa Chivo saves the day

  1. Alex

    I always wanted something to shear for wool to make yarn and weave or knit. Sounds like you’ve got your hands full.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll let you know how it goes in May–our targeted sheep shearing month since it’s so HOT here then. With any of our ventures, there’s always a 50% chance of disaster!

      Like

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