If you watched the videos and did the math from yesterday’s post on our five lambs, you might have figured out that we have four ewes, but I only mentioned three of them lambing.
All four ewes actually did lamb. Unfortunately, the last one lambed at the start of the first blizzard two weeks ago, and her lamb did not survive. It was our first sheep loss since Sports Girls first started showing in 4-H almost six years ago. And while that’s a respectable survival rate, it didn’t make the loss any easier for us.
Handsome Hubby said the ewe, Cocoa, was acting strangely when he went out to feed the sheep at 7:30 a.m. But by the time Sports Girl went to check her again later that morning, she had given birth and the lamb was dead. It was Cocoa’s first lamb, so we really don’t know if she experienced any complications giving birth or if the lamb died as a result of exposure to the cold, snowy weather.
Sports Girl said Cocoa was nudging at her dead baby; that’s how she knew the lamb was there under a light dusting of freshly fallen snow. Sports Girl carried the lamb up to the house, but it was already cold to the touch and certainly wasn’t savable. It was heart breaking to watch Cocoa continue to sniff all around her pen for most of the day looking for her baby. She was new to this lambing stuff, but she knew things hadn’t worked out right.
Sports Girl said she felt a little guilty about not checking on Cocoa sooner, and I even felt guilty over not telling her to check on the ewe sooner. Who knows if it would have made a difference, but I’m sure next year we’ll all be more attentive when the sheep are due to lamb
And while I didn’t actually see Sports Girl cry, I think she probably did shed a few tears over losing the lamb. It’s certainly reasonable to think a 13-year-old girl would be affected by such a close encounter with death. I know I would have been at her age – it was actually still difficult for me at 38!