Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Got Milk, Momma Sheep?

"Oh, you can milk just about anything with nipples." -Greg Fokker, Meet the Parents, 2000

Yeah well, once you milk a goat it makes you want to milk anything with an udder and teats. So the other day, I gathered up my trusty, child-sized lasso and my mini Farmer helper and we done wrastled us up that momma sheep and situated her up on the milk stand.

After a thorough inspection which included brushing all that nasty shedding wool off, lots of pets, a food bribe, and gentle talking, I checked out her big, round udder only to find that it was...empty. Drat! I'm sure her daughter was over there grinning at me. She was the last one to have access, that's for sure.

We left her on the milk stand for a while because it's not a bad idea to get her used to it in case we have to do hoof trimming or other care later on. She was watching me with distrustful, wild sheep eyes the whole time. But she did have a few cautious nibbles of alfalfa during her stay.

Momma Sheep's Udder
She tolerated our attention but was more than happy to get back to the herd where she is the big boss lady. She does some interesting things like kick her front leg out at us. It's clearly a warning. She pushes away the other babies that aren't hers, but they snuggle right back up to her despite her efforts. When we go into the sheep pen, she's the first to run and the little ones follow her lead.

When we first got the sheep, they huddled in the corner and stared at us as if we were going to grab them at any moment. They stayed far away from the food and water unless we were all the way on the other side of the goat pen. Only then would momma sheep cautiously kick, walk, kick, walk walk, kick, freeze, walk, and nibble.

Today she mosied on over there pretty fast after I dropped off the fresh hay. Not when I was in the sheep pen, of course, but I was still in the goat pen, so that was an improvement. I doubt she'll ever really like me much, but I'd rather she not be terrified when I drop in for my twice daily visits.

The Herd in their usual corner
We did get the last animal for the sheep pen, a ram, last Monday. He's a bit young to work any magic like Mojo, but we named him Lucky. He's 3 months old and has a huge, round pot-belly from pigging out where he last lived. They were feeding him hay and grain, probably fattening him up for...well, he is lucky to be the head sheep stud when he grows up.

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