1. The house is a mess because neither you nor your spouse has time to clean it because you are both forever doing something with the lambs
2. You automatically get up at 10 PM, Midnight, 2 AM, and 4AM to "check on sheep" without the aid of an alarm clock
3. You have a 6th sense for that slightly different baa, or nicker that indicates a ewe is in need of assistance
4. That same 6th sense quickly identifies the most feeble of lamb bleats
5. You have been mistaken as someone with a drug problem because you have been caught in public with 2 syringes in your pocket from giving lambs vaccinations and BoSe
6. You fingers are permanently stained by iodine from dipping navels
7. Everything you find yourself tugging on you instinctively give a quarter-twist just as if you are pulling a breach lamb from a ewe
8. You spend more time in your barn then you do in your own home
9. "Two in the house", means you got two sick lambs trying to get better in the house and nothing too do with your own children
10. Your wife is out in the barn in a dress because a ewe decided to drop a lamb just before church
11. Your whole life is a set of numbers and acronym's instead of words, as in "let's see, #52 gave birth to #278 and #279 which weighed 8 lbs and 7 pounds, and need to be given 1 cc of BoSe and 1 CC of CD&T and weaned in 60 days..."
12. Telling your kids, "I am going out in the barn", means they might have to get breakfast, lunch and supper for themselves
13. You have given two lambs enigmas, another a feeding tube, and can keep two lambs nursing off bottles in in the same day (with no sleep...see #2)
14. Your clothes smell of lanolin...24/7...no matter how many times you wash them
15. Your kids are well adjusted with the cycle of life because they have witnessed so many lambs die while trying to revive them in your home
16. You have had to call up poison control because you have stabbed yourself with a hypodermic needle loaded with BoSe/CD and T
17. You have the local coyote hunters on speed dial so they can help get rid of lamb losses
18. When you see a newborn lamb, stained with blood and amniotic fluid and they look so frail and lifeless, bleat like a newborn baby, and realize you can help it live; EVERY hardship faced is worth it
So much cute!! Bless you, I couldn't do what you do. I remember touring a dairy farm during calving season. There was a first time mama with her fresh calf, just lying there stunned and not breathing.
I ran up and started doing NRP stuff (neonatal resuscitation) things like straightening out the neck/airway and vigorously toweling the calf. The farmer grabbed a piece of straw and scratched the inside of the calf's nostril. The baby came around, so that was good. . .
Lambing Season is actually going really well; ZERO lambing mortality so far and we are having about a lamb per day.
That would seem disheartening as we are not having twins and triplets, but it took me a bit to figure it out. Last fall we had a severe drought, and actually are still in it due to the lack of snow this year. That caused condition loss and we all know what that means...singles. But they have been robust, no bottle feds and good mothering even from the first time lambing yearlings. We attribute that too good winter feed.
The singles are helping in the regard that we have less sheep overall. Last year crowding killed 12 just to trampling alone. This year we are dividing our barn up better, putting only 10 sheep and their lambs per section, so trampling deaths should be eliminated.
Every year we try and look at what our highest lamb mortality is and work on that. Without question, if you have livestock, you ultimately get dead-stock, but we are getting better. Our new barn last year really helped so we are getting there. Our ultimate goal is 4% lambing mortality.
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