Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Where did everybody go?"

The boys are a little lonesome.  This morning was the appointed time for moving the girls and the lambs to the new pasture.  (This would be the area formerly known as our front yard.  Both of us would rather have sheep than lawn...)
The lambs are old enough to be weaned, and once they are, their mothers can go into season again.  Shetlands are capable of having lambs twice a year, but we don't want to do that.  First of all, it's hard on the mothers, and second, we don't want lambs born in the middle of winter.  We'll put the flock back together this fall, so that the lambs are timed for March or April.

Goldie was the first, as Goldie always has to be first in anything smacking of Not Routine.  She's hard enough to catch when she isn't already suspicious.  An apprehensive Goldie is a faster-than-a-photon Goldie.
Madman managed to grab her and get a halter on her while I caught and picked up Smoke.  (And then had to climb over a fence while carrying a large struggling lamb.  Too bad we didn't have an extra person to take photos.  On the other hand, if we'd had an extra person, I would have handed over the struggling lamb and done the photography myself.)  (On the other other hand, Madman had to get Goldie over the fence, so I really had the easy part of the deal...)
I lead the way, carrying Smoke, and trying to call Goldie's attention to the fact that she probably wanted to follow us.  "Look, Goldie!  I've got your lamb!  Goldie - look look!"  Goldie, meanwhile, was simultaneously trying to dart in three directions at once, while dragging her feet to keep from going in the direction Madman was trying to lead her.  And just to keep things real, she threw in a double backflip that startled the hell out of Madman.  (We think it startled her, too, since she landed on her side.  She might not have known she could do that.)
Once we got them through the gate and they realized there was FOOD in this new place, they settled right down to cropping and chewing. 

Two down, four to go.

The rest were easier.  I carried down two of Onyx's lambs while Madman was catching their mama, then carried the third one while he dragged Onyx.  Though he'd had a better idea by this time, and carried a scoop of grain to hold in front of her - the old carrot and the stick trick.  Much better.

Orion and Merlin spent the morning being upset.  Merlin cried and cried, and Orion kept whacking him.  I'm not sure if it was because he wanted Merlin to shut up with the blubbering or if he figured it must somehow be Merlin's fault that the girls were gone. 
Madman was a little surprised at how upset Merlin was, until I pointed out that it's the first time in his life he's been separated from Onyx.  They grew up as lambs together, and even Goldie has been around ever since he could remember.
Poor little guy.

After everyone got settled, I tried to get some photos, but mostly I got shots of sheep with their heads buried in the grass.

Here's a couple of pictures of Smoke.  I still think he's the prettiest thing.

And here's how the spotty ewe is looking these days.  (Madman has taken to calling her Abigail, but the name doesn't really resonate for me.  I still usually refer to her as 'the spotty one.')

And here's the ewe I've been calling Tiny, since she was the smallest of the lambs, even though she has now caught up with her sister.  And yes, she does have her head through the fence so she can eat the grass growing on the outside.

Cuz, you know, the grass is always greener...


kmkat said...

Animals. Never a dull moment with them around.

Bullwinkle said...

I want sheep in the front yard! (Who wants to mow in this heat??)

Poor Merlin - growing up is hard.

Helen Griffin said...

as a city person, I know i have an idealized image of little lambkins

I always wanted one to eat the front lawn grass Our house lot was 80 X 100--huge for NYC--but really a bit short for feeding a lambkin!--especially considering there was a house, a separate garage, and a long driveway on that space.

Your stories are wonderful eye openers.. (but i still think lambkins in the front lawn are a lovely sight!) Queens NY (part of NYC) has a farm museum--and it has a flock of sheep (looking just lovely) in the front yard--which is an old orchard that also serves as a pasture.) I love how the sheep look... (almost enough to make me want to live in the country--but just almost.. nor quite really enough!

Anonymous said...

I've really enjoyed all of your sheep stories- they always make me laugh (as long as I am not doing the heavy lifting!).