Farm Animals Update
We are responsible for quite a few farm animals – cows, sheep, goats and donkeys. Sometimes they require lots of extra assistance and attention especially around birthing time. We provide protection and care to the best of our ability. Sometimes farm life is stressful.
Punky, the orphaned bottle lamb, is slowly getting stronger and stronger. I did break down yesterday and bring her inside right before a really, really bad storm. I know, I know, she has to eventually learn to be out in the weather, but I just wanted to make sure she stayed strong. We had a good time holding her while watching a movie during the downpour. After the movie, she returned to the outdoor world for the night. She still follows me around right at my heels as if I was her mom when we go for walks. But she is getting better at being a sheep and hanging with the flock.
Punky has come a long, long way. We thought we would lose her when she was only a few days old. Now she is nearly a month old and still hanging in there. Sometimes it takes a lot of extra effort to make sure they are healthy. But it is worth it in the long run. It is always hard to lose even one. And we lost Punky’s two siblings as well as another complete set of triplets. We are happy to have intervened in her time line and have succeeded.
Then there was this little guy, a goat kid. They only weigh about 4 pounds at birth. At two days old he got really weak, too weak to hold up his head. We brought him inside for a bit to warm him up. Soon we gathered up his Mom as we realized he would need help for days. She is better at feeding him than we are.
Scott’s dad (named Jack) wanted to call him ‘Jack’ but we decided that would be too confusing. Scott decided on ‘Billy Jack’ since it is a ‘billy goat’. Dad got to hold him while visiting and gave him lots of love; you can see a picture of this on the farm’s Facebook page. At night he stayed with his mom right outside the front door in a covered pen. That went on for about a week as we treated him. It was a challenge, but we knew he would do better with his Mom close by.
We dosed him with some of my herbal concoctions. We also supplemented his diet with selenium-laced goat feed. He is now bounding around in the field with the whole goat herd good as new and growing fast.
Another lamb, Cupcake, went sort of lame a day or so after we picked up Billy Jack. He didn’t seem to be too bad off so we left him in the field with his Mom. We dosed him with some garlic just to be sure and kept a close watch on him. The biggest problem for him was to keep up with his mom with a painful back leg. That’s important – keeping up with your Mom. They need lots of nourishment in their early days. They are born with seemingly just some skin over some bones. It is important for them to put on weight very quickly and stay warm.
He’s still out in the field with Mom and she is very attentive. And while he is still a little slow, he seems to be keeping up with her and the rest of the flock. His limp has greatly improved. He will do well, I think.
Now we are very closely watching Claire, our matriarch milk cow. We milk her and her sister every day. Claire appears to have mildly injured her left ankle or foot, probably slipped in the mud. Sighhhh. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Yet Claire’s limping walk is improving. Taking care of our farm animals is rewarding even if busy and worrisome at times like these.
Well, that’s it for now. Gotta go give Punky another bottle of milk. She is staying with two ‘big girls’ to reintegrate into her sheep’s life.