EmmaLou is looking more and more in a motherly way. She would be due about the middle of July if my dates are correct. I wasn’t actually present for the honeymoon, I have to go by the evidence that was put before me, such as that ‘happy glow’ on her face after Mr Miyagi started courting her, along with her disinterest following the apparent honeymoon.
I’ve been looking forward to this baby, as it is by an AkaUshi bull and I am hoping for a heifer, as I lost Emma’s mama last summer. It just feels safer having 2 milk cows. Strange to have my emotional well being linked to a milk cow, but that is the way of things. The animals are always there for me, at any time of day or night. They are neither shy to lavish their affection on me, nor critical of my shortcomings. They entertain me with their antics each day, and provide us with superior nutritional sustenance. If anything happened to EmmaLouMoo, I am not sure I could bear it. An AkaUshi heifer, with any luck, might be a great milk cow for the future, as I hope her Jersey half would produce a lot of cream, and her AkaUshi half will throw nice calves for the freezer. That is MY plan, anyway, for when MissEmmaLouMoo is retired...which is some time off, as she is only 3 this year.
The meatie chicks will be taking over her tent in May (weather permitting) and they can free range with the eggers during the day, with one of the Maremmas to watch over them, while the other stays with the sheep.
I have a psycho hen that injured herself. She had a very hard time getting around for several days. It seemed her hip or some part of her leg was dislocated. She had a hump in her back and was generally just not doing well. I decided to give her a few days to see if she got better or worse. She didn’t seem to be making any progress, as she was only able to put weight on one leg, while the other dragged uselessly. The roosters wouldn’t leave her alone, which of course, did her no good service. I left Cletus to babysit chickens while Bruno stayed with the sheep. When I went out to feed, I saw Cletus laying with the injured bird. He stood up when I approached and she bolted off, squawking, in her odd side rolling manner. I hollered at Cletus not to be bothering her, assuming of course, that she had been coerced into laying with him. I am afraid he was fascinated by her odd movements and couldn’t resist the urge to capture her. I envision him disassembling her, the way a small boy does his favorite toy, just to see how it works. Cletus just loves chickens. Sometimes a bit too much.
A few minutes later, I was throwing hay to the steers, and saw Cletus chasing her again over by the fence. He captured her and was carrying her in his mouth towards the chicken pen door.
I angrily yelled at him to drop her. He did and began slinking away, knowing he was in trouble. I grabbed the now traumatized hen and demanded Cletus lay down. He obliged and I set her atop him, as I had done with the chickens last year when I was having trouble with him molesting them before he began protecting them instead. I continued to berate him verbally as I set the hen all over his body, not allowing him to get up. I then carried her into the pen and turned her loose. I checked her carefully. There were no feathers missing, but she was pretty upset.
The next day when I went out to gather eggs, she walked past me, perfectly normal. It’s either one strange coincidence, or Cletus is a natural chiropractor. Now I wonder what his REAL intentions were, as he has been very protective with the chickens ever since last spring and grieved when we processed the meaties. Knowing these dogs, he was probably doing something right and I accused him of wrongdoing. At any rate, he’s not bothering her now and she’s good as new. These dogs are extremely sensitive and they tend to wilt under verbal correction. Laying Cletus down like that, in HIS mind, was pretty extreme, but he deals with it. You can never be unfair with these dogs as they have incredibly long memories.
Ewe #3 had twins. My nephew saw them out in the field right after they were born. I went out and joined Bruno and Cletus to bring them up into the lambing jug. Mama followed me as I walked, stooped over with a lamb in each hand so she could smell them and follow me. She is normally a really hard ewe to get near, so letting her lamb outside was the easiest way to handle things.
I got the lambs in on the straw, and she followed me in, along with the dogs. They sat outside the pen watching, as I dipped the lambs’ navel cords in iodine to help prevent navel ill, where bacteria can travel up the cord and cause a systemic infection which is crippling and usually fatal. I gave them each a little selenium and vitamin e, helped her dry them off, milked a little colostrum out of each teat to make sure they weren’t plugged and made sure they both nursed.
They are much smaller than Stewie, of course, as they are twins, but also he was an especially big lamb when he was born. The first lamb is marked really funny, with almost her whole front end being black and the rest of her white with a black spot on her hip and one on her belly. It looks like she is wearing a baseball jersey. The other lamb is pure white. It shouldn’t be difficult to tell who is who.
The fact that this ewe had twin ewe lambs instead of ram lambs, has changed all my future plans. My plans WERE to keep Rosemary and send Stewie to freezer camp and buy 2 more ewes. Stewie is looking like he is going to make a better ram than Ray and isn’t related to the other 3 ewe lambs born this year. It looks like Stewie will be staying on as the new ram and the three ewe lambs will be staying as well, and all 5 of the adult sheep will go to the sale. That doesn’t do a whole lot for our freezer, but whatever Tooney the wooly ewe has will have to take care of that. I am hoping she has twins as well, as Randy and I alone can use 2 lambs per year. I was hoping to gift some this year but that’s not looking very likely.
It snowed last nite, but is raining today, so Cletus is taking shelter in with the new baby goat, whom I have dubbed “Stinky”. He’s cute right now, but I know that in the future, the name will suit. I just hope I can keep HIM out of the garden too. With my faulty memory of where I am going, and what I am doing, more than once I have arrived at the back door to find that Stinky has followed me through the gates without my noticing. He has made it all the way in the house more than once, as well.
I take Stinky’s bottle out to the shed to feed him. He sucks it down greedily as Bruno checks around in the straw for anything interesting. Finding nothing that requires his attention, he heads back out. Stinky finishes up and begins jumping up in my lap. He’s wanting to play so badly and I am sorry I don’t have another kid for him to keep him company. He jumps on and off the stanchion I am sitting on, sometimes landing on his feet, other times landing on his head. He jumps into my lap and snuggles his head against my shoulder and I groan, knowing that I don’t want him to be that friendly.
After a few days I finally manage to get the sheep to allow him to go out in the pasture with them, without trying to kill him. He loves it, cavorting with the new twin lambs, as they jump over the low limbs on the Octopus tree, chase each other through the grown-ups and play leapfrog, jumping over one another, while twisting and kicking up their heels. It’s impossible to stop watching them when they play this way and just as impossible not to laugh at loud at them. It’s too bad that most of the world has no idea what they are missing.
Try as I might to give him the cold shoulder, Stinky thinks he MUST take a nap in my lap after eating. He jumps up and lays his little head on my shoulder, forcing me to pet him. Then he lays down against me, snuggling into my neck and happily rests. My arms are beginning to ache and I can’t believe I am afraid to get up because I will disturb a baby goat. I would get up with a human child and lay it in a crib, but somehow, I am compelled to sit here with Stinky. I gave him his last bottle out in the pasture. The pups began playing next to me as I squatted down, and succeeded in knocking me over. I was now stuck on my belly like a beached whale, holding the bottle for Stinky to finish. Afterwards, finding no lap to sit on, he climbed up on my BACK and went to sleep!!!
Mature buck goats are truly the most disgusting, ill mannered, gross and horrible smelling animals in creation. Why any self respecting doe goat would want to keep company with them is just beyond me. The smell from when a buck rubs against you is so bad you can’t wash it off...I think burning your clothes is probably your only bet. I have visions of running around the ranch wearing a barrel and suspenders after sweet and sociable Stinky has caused me to burn my entire wardrobe, which consists of 2 pair of jeans and various sweatshirts and summer tops. This is not the way I want to end up. I set him down and work my way out the door, leaving him behind. I plug my ears against his pitiful cries as I head back to the house.
I'm so cold hearted.