Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Lambing Season

My last post included a photo of a newborn lamb in the field. For the past couple of days, the boys and I have been walking down the road to Kitty's farmyard to visit the new babies who are being born there every day. Most of them are nestled into the hay with their mamas, but several tiny ones have been turned out by their mothers, and are now orphans.
Mother nature isn't always a kind lady. This little love was mostly skin and bones, and she was bottle fed and put under a heat lamp in an effort to keep her going. Michael stood hovering over her box two days ago, unable to tear himself away from her sad bleating, and asking me over and over again where her mama was. It was heartbreaking, and this morning when we went back to check up on her, she was gone. Although I think there are important teaching moments that can happen when we live this close to nature's way of doing things, it seems unkind to let my three year old know that she has died. He'll have plenty of chances later on to find our about survival of the fittest, and in a way, as the youngest of three boys, he's learning enough about that within his own family already.
These orphans are faring much better; they're about four weeks old. Here you can see them fighting over the nipples attached to an artificial feeder by their pen. They're also under a heat lamp, and when they rest they huddle together and keep each other warm and happy.
Soon these three will be weaned off of the bottle, and will switch to feed. For now they are still too young and delicate to live out in the field, so they still need a warm box and food. Kitty is calling the black and white one Big Ears, and I'm pretty sure we've decided to adopt him. He walked right up to us this morning and let us pet him as if he were a puppy. The boys begged me to take him home, and Kitty and I are talking about it. Henry has just finished building the chicken run out in the garden. I think next week he'll have to build a lamb pen, too. Obviously, I'll keep you posted.

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