So my husband got it in his head that borregos (sheep) are more profitable than goats. It is true that borregos sold by the kilo are more expensive BUT they are a smaller animal, so overall there are fewer kilos to be had. Disregarding my logic, he went ahead and traded our macho goat for a young borrega and her borregita.
I continued my naysaying despite the now physical presence of more borregos. Borregos carry on something awful whether or not they are hungry. (See Separating the Sheep from the Goats They are more delicate healthwise. (See Birth and Death) They need more care than goats. They don’t eat as varied a diet as goats so food during the dry season will be harder to find. All to no avail.
The young borrega managed to come down with a BAD case of chorro (diarrhea) probably from the change of diet from her previous home to ours. This affected little borregita because the mama’s milk all but dried up during her illness. So three days after purchase, it was looking like borregita wasn’t going to make it. She was listless. She became weaker and weaker until she could no longer stand. It was pitiful. My husband debated whether it would be kinder to just kill her.
I objected. Surely there was another option. We’ve had orphaned babies before on our mini-rancho. I convinced him to try and nurse her back to health. We bought a bottle and some milk, mixed with suero (electrolytes) to feed her.
The difference was marked almost immediately. The second day of bottle feeding she could lift her head and bleated to let my husband (now named Papa Chivo–yes she’s a borrego but Papa Borrego doesn’t roll off the tongue as well) she was ready for more milk.
My husband and son alternated bottle feedings and the borreguita was christened Baby so that when she hollered in the middle of the night I could shake my husband awake and say “Go feed Baby.” After about a week of milk, she started to show an interest in the paca (alfalfa bales). So feedings were supplemented with a bit of alfalfa and some ground maiz sorgo mixed with milk like a cereal.
It took about a week for her to try and stand but as soon as she could wobble about she demanded to be taken out with the rest of the herd. She couldn’t keep up, so my husband had to carry her. She was content as could be munching on the grass she could reach while resting and watching the gang graze. Mama borrega was happy as well. She was a nervous Nelly when she had to leave Baby behind. Maybe that’s what we’ll call her–Nelly.
We had every hope that Baby would make a full recovery. However, one morning she was again laying on the ground bleating piteously. She didn’t suffer long. She died just a few hours later.