Becoming a Real Sheep
Remember my bum lamb ‘Baby Bea’? I am happy to report that she has become a ‘real’ sheep at last. It wasn’t an easy process for her, and took some time, but she is now a full fledged member of the flock.
I’m sure that you remember that Bea was born in October just before my birthday. The 1st day of January, I moved Bea up to the barn and separated her with her two ram cousins to be weaned and creep fed. Bea was devastated. Not only had she become attached to us (and of course her bottle!), but Beauregard was her hero and closest companion. For several days she ran up and down the fence bawling and looking for a way out. She would have nothing to do with the other lambs at all.
When I would go to the barn in the mornings to feed the lambs, she would run to Beau and stay right by his side. Several times she managed to slip out, but I just told Beau to go back into the lot and Bea went right with him. For a while when I would shut the gate, Beauregard would stay by it as if to comfort the distraught lamb. Eventually Bea began to take up with her cousins, and learned to play with them. She would still follow us to the gate, but she would stop on her own and watched us leave, then run back to her grain.
In our lower shed Greg designed a creep gate in one of the lambing pens just big enough for only lambs to go through. Inside we have a tub feeder for the grain and the lambs learned to go through this door to eat. This way when the adults are reunited with the lambs, they cannot bully their way in and eat all of the grain. The adults have their own trough in the upper shed that the lambs cannot reach.
This past Monday I reunited the adults with the lambs. The little rams galloped over to greet everyone, and Beatrice went right with them. She even recognized her own mother and touched noses with her. Now Bea is one of the flock. She comes to greet me with the rest, eats grain from my hand, and happily trots around to the creep feeder for her breakfast. Sometimes she still tries to sneak out of the gate with Beauregard, but she is easy to send back where she belongs. I have a feeling that when the flock is let out into the big front pasture for the summer that she will once more join us on our morning walks and I will probably even let her come into the yard for a visit with her best friend. It isn’t easy growing up whether you are a child or a lamb. But my baby Bea has made it. She has finally grown into a real sheep.
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