Tag Archives: raising sheep

The Return of the Zombies

To add to the desolate wasteland landscape currently found in La Yacata because of the scorched earth from clearing burns, someone dumped a dead donkey near the house. Being curious, my husband decided to check it out.  According to his forensic examination, the donkey showed signs of having been hit by a car. While he’s not positive, he thinks it might have been the same donkey that was plowing the area where we sometimes sharecrop. His report included the fact that the guys plowing got progressively drunker during the course of the day while plowing so it wouldn’t have been too hard for an improperly tied donkey to wander out into the road.

I’ve already mentioned that the road past La Yacata has become quite deadly.  It’s almost as if there is a game of points going on–10 points for the old guy on his bicycle, 20 for the guy on the donkey, 15 points for loose livestock, etc. Since my last update, there have been 3 more fatalities (not including this donkey).  One guy, heading to La Yacata to work with the borrega guy, was hit by a truck and dismembered. The guy driving the truck tried to bribe his way out of being held accountable, but the witnesses wouldn’t let him go until the police arrived and arrested him. Doesn’t change the fact that a man is dead though.

Anyway, back to the dead donkey.  It wasn’t there 12 hours before large wild dogs and coyotes found the carcass.  Every night, the two factions snarled and barked and yipped over their meal. Puppy was terrified.  Nary a sound did he make in response, which isn’t like him at all. Even on our daily walks, he didn’t linger but stayed right next to me, especially as we passed the inflated corpse.

Sure enough, all this commotion attracted the attention of zombies. Segue creepy music….The zombie babies have returned. Remember how the three zombie babies were sent to live with the neighbor who had a cow that could provide them with milk since our goats and sheep weren’t able to keep up with their voracious appetites?  Well, the neighbor decided it was high time they started foraging for themselves and brought them to the barn that borders our property. My husband saw them and negotiated for one of the zombie girls. She came back to live with us during some video filming and caused me some anxious moments. Puppy wasn’t happy at all.  It seems that zombie girl thinks she’s a pet and just won’t stay in the animal area. Twice now, she’s tried to eat Puppy’s food and he’s bitten her nose. My husband was furious but I pointed out that it was only natural that Puppy would defend his food dish from zombie invasion.

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A bit bigger, much healthier, but still UGLY!

The next to return was zombie boy.  He and Oreo bump heads for the honor of being head sheep boy, but I’m pretty sure Oreo is going to come out on top in the end.  The third of the zombie trio didn’t return, but I’m fine with just two zombies. 

 

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Zombie babies

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Zombie baby feeding frenzy!

So the triplets made it through the first few days of life, which is saying something about the superhuman efforts Papa Chivo put into them. Bottle feeding didn’t seem to give them enough nutrients, so my husband borrowed a wet-nurse goat.  Unfortunately, the zombies had voracious appetites and the wet-nurse goat could not keep up with the demand.

Big Mama was forced to supplement a bit but didn’t have so much milk since Fuzzy was quite a big girl.  Our 3 goats were pregnant but not lactating.  Caramela the sheep was also pregnant but she’s been pregnant since we bought her.  I wonder if she’ll ever give birth.

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Brown Mama and her lambs, Oreo and Cookie.

Drastic times call for drastic measures. In hopes of getting more milk, my husband traded Cottonball, the zombies’ mother, and Baby’s Mama for this big brown ball of fur which promptly spewed out Oreo and Cookie, the lastest sheep to grace our pastures.  Although delighted with these little black boys, the arrival of twins didn’t help the zombie feeding situation.

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Oreo on the left, Cookie on the right.

But with a little bit of milk here, and a little bit of milk there, and some 2 am bottle feedings, they made it to their second week birthday.  They followed my husband hither and yon, bleating like, well, like little lambs do.

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Skunkette next to Skunk, the macho sheep, and in from of Mary with fleece not quite as white as snow. Brown Mama is lying down with Cookie in the back.

Then in the blink of an eye, my husband traded the zombie babies for this striped skunk sheep.  The zombies went to live with a guy with grandkids to bottle feed them and a milk cow to provide milk.  So it seems we have again averted the apocalypse in La Yacata.

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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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