Beauty | Lifestyle | Health

Sunday, 10 August 2014

An Unexpected Guest

I thought each Sunday/Monday I'd make a more "lifestlye/personal" post about what I get up to on the weekends - a lot of the time it'll probably be more in the city (I live near Auckland but not actually on the shore or the city itself) but sometimes I like to stay at home in the country.

I live in a farmland area and we own a small flock of sheep and some cows. As it's lambing season there are a lot of wee lambs running around the fields. Sadly this year we've had an unusually high number of lambs not making past their first few days due to their mums leaving them or the cold weather damaging their chances.

I had just had a shower and was getting changed when I heard a "maaa" from the kitchen, at first I though nahh can't be a sheep. Then I heard it again, "OK definitely sheep."

Sure enough, in the kitchen there was this little sweetie.

Being a sooky animal person I was the one who fed him, we had a teat left over from previous lamb rearing but we couldn't find the bottle to go with it anywhere, so we sterilised a ginger beer bottle and gave him dilute cows milk until we could get lamb formula in the morning. 

Thankfully he took to it superbly and drank a full two bottles that night. We think his mum had barely fed him at all, so he was very skinny and very hungry. 

I put him to bed in his box with fresh newspaper, a towel I'd warmed up in front of the fire and a hot water bottle between his cardboard box and the wall to keep him warm. Even when you take every care of them lambs often still have little chance of surviving if they've been left in the cold and without food for too long. This little boy was only 24 hours old, dad said it was possible he may already have pneumonia and we wouldn't realise. 

Thanksfully, the next morning I woke up to another little "baaa" in the kitchen and went and fed him first thing in the morning. He seemed much brighter than the night before and has got himself out of his box and was trying to such on a whiskey bottle (I expect because it looked so much like his gingerbeer bottle...) thankfully the lid was very securely on! We got him some formula and fed him up properly and took him outside for some fresh air and a walk to stretch his little legs on the grass. 

He was a bit tottery on his legs but seemed to be enjoying the sun. I fed him again and put him back on the grass but he didn't want to get down from my arms, so in the end I had him sitting on my lap for about an hour while I read a book.

He fell asleep and eventually I put him back in his box in the sun. He got a bit restless there so we put him on the grass, he teetered over to the garden and found a little place to nest in. Lambs often cuddle up to trees while their mums are feeding.

I went out for a little while with my boyfriend Jack to get some lunch and go for a walk on the beach. The weather was beautiful but it was bloody freezing! Onshore wind and very clear skies always mean very cold weather in New Zealand.

When we got back poor lamb was very droopy and I couldn't get him to feed. Unfortunately it turns out he had pneumonia after all. Dad gave him a penecillan shot in case there was still a chance we could save him ut he died in his sleep about three hours later. I buried him under the grapefruit tree in our garden, was horribly upset.

Bit of a sad end to a Saturday but unfortunately that's the reality of farming - don't think I'm cut out for it!

Anyway, back to regular posts on Wednesday if not sooner. Next weekend will almost certainly end on a more positive note!

Claire x

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