Farm Happenings From city to country life Urban Homesteading

What Sam the lamb taught me…

1-IMG_1673Somewhere along the line I became convinced that information you needed to know could be found if you looked hard enough. I value the infinite resource that is the internet. I’ll wade through personal opinion posts on forums, I’ll read blog posts and articles to find the info I seek…

This is probably why farmer Grover gives me an amused grin and remarks “you can’t believe everything you read” when we are discussing farm things. It’s true, I’m an information seeker and I tend to learn best when “in the throes” of something. It’s worked out well for me until recently.

Becoming the caretaker of baby lambs has thrown me right into the abyss of unfamiliar animal husbandry, so I googled and asked people about what could possibly be going on with the youngest lamb we’ve taken on. The verdict was grim… He’s probably septic from an umbilical infection or he’s got a white muscle disease or it’s pneumonia… or he didn’t get “first milk” aka colostrum so he’s destined to die… “oh their will to live is very weak” if they are depressed they just die…
I was seriously considering taking him to a vet to be put down based upon the grim outlook based upon my research. It was a hair pulling two weeks of us bottle feeding him, searching for answers and trying to figure out how I could help him- then it hit me.

I can’t control this.

Nobody likes to lose animals and nobody likes to find out they could have done something more to help after it’s too late… but running in circles grasping at straws isn’t doing anyone any good either. So, I told myself we would just go with our gut, really pay attention to the lamb’s cues and do our best.

For two weeks he was near death, he peed & pooped himself, he wouldn’t stand or walk but he would eat and was perky. I was torn- should he be put down, is he suffering? A knowledgeable friend came by and put me at ease, he wasn’t suffering and beyond help. He was alert and he was mostly normal, maybe lacking in key vitamins. He needed to build leg strength back up, he needed more time and he needed to decide if he had the fight in him or not. Here he was a week ago:

We really felt that he wasn’t suffering from anything major and that he was just overcoming his circumstances slowly so I just let go of the worry and doubt about his condition. He still peed himself and needed to be stood up by me for feeding and eliminating but his body continued to grow and he continued developing his little personality.

Two days ago I stood him up to have a pee and walked away for a moment and he just shuffled behind me. Weak legged shuffling but progress… and his little tail wag- so sweet!

Now he’s found his voice, literally and will call to be fed “maaaaaaahh, bahhhhhh!” several times a day and he spends the nights playing in our entry way with Holly, our older lamb. The most exciting improvement is he goes outside with me to do the feeding chores in the mornings, walking a bit here and there and nibbling grass.

So what Sam the lamb has reminded me is that control is a maddening illusion. Life and death plays out the way it is meant to regardless of how “in control” we might appear. All we can offer is our best effort, the rest is out of our hands.


<p>A city girl turned farmer. Yes women do farm ;) Owner and operator of direct to consumer, Ryder Family Farm in Southern Illinois.<br /> Wearing many hats I'm also a mother to 3, a wife, a yogi, a farmer, a 4-H & Girl Scout leader & hospitality manager.</p>

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