Notes from Windward: #69


A Shepherd's Update

the second month


     It's late May, a month and a half after the first lambs were born. Here's the roster of mothers and their live lambs:

     Dolly:     Joker and Lilly
     Pepper:     Pip
     Pia:     Luna
     Whitey:     evidently she only looks pregnant

     Dolly has been taking very good care of Joker and Lilly, and they're running about with the herd on the daily grass-munching walks and eating grass and hay just like the big sheep. Dolly is a really good mother and a great part of the herd. She's not particularly friendly with humans, but she knows what needs to be done and does it. A most reliable ewe.

Joker and Lilly

     As for Pepper, we discovered that one of her teats is malfunctioning, so she was not able to support the three lambs she gave birth to. Only Pip was left, and he didn't get much of a chance for milk from Pepper, so we began bottle-feeding him. Since he didn't get the needed colostrum from Pepper, he was susceptible to getting sick, and in fact he went through a dangerous bout (or two?) of scours (diarrhea). Colostrum is the first milk from the mother. It is very rich in immunities and is extremely important that lambs get it right away after birth. Anyway, Pip's all right now.

Pip smiles for the camera

     Pia had two female lambs, of which she lost one. The lambs were born in the midst of a cold snap, and assuming the cold night killed the little one, a decision was made to put Luna, the remaining lamb, in Prop House with Pip for the night to stay warm. The next day Pia would not accept her as her daughter, so Luna became part of the Bottle-fed Brigade along with Pip and the goat kids. In the future it would be wise to have a solid lambing pen with lots of good straw on a cold night to prevent something like this from happening again.

Luna poses for the camera

     As for Whitey, she never gave birth. We don't know why. One conjecture is that she's infertile. We have no way of knowing if she was like this in the past since Whitey is the one we have no records for whatsoever. Another conjecture is that Chaucer never had a chance to impregnate her, since we moved him out of the pen last fall because he was doing some aggressive headbutting with Junior then. Who knows.

And the goats...

     After Jewel died, her two young bucks also joined the Bottle-fed Brigade. Leo has been extremely rambunctious and sometimes annoying. He likes to climb way to the top of things, and even on people. We are starting to teach him to stay down off the people. It's all right now as he's pretty small and adorable, but when he grows up to be a spritely buck, his climbing and headbutting will not be welcome.

Mikey and Leo check out the camera

      Mikey, on the other hand, is quite well-behaved. They're both growing steadily, although Leo is the bigger of the two. They should be starting to eat forest food (instead of milk) around now. Mikey's begun licking and biting at grasses and leaves. Leo is a bit too distracted by his own cajoling to bother with solid food. We'll see how that transition goes.

     Part of the problem with having three-month internships and apprenticeships is a loss of continuity. Some crucial information gets lost or forgotten within the flurry of change. It is therefore crucial to maintain detailed records of what goes on and when. We have recently started a log for the gardens and one for the animals to help preserve some of this information.

     Unfortunately I have never found anything about Whitey (or the sheep who would be Whitey with a different name). Part of the reason for writing in the Notes is to preserve the geneology and health information about all the animals, preferably with some delightful pictures thrown in the bargain.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 69