My last lamb was born, making 13 lambs total, and 12 surviving. (One of these days I’ll post about that poor lost lamb, way back in mid-February. His surviving twin is practically as big as a yearling already. Their mother, Azalea, has the most bounteous sheep udder on the place. I often see Mary’s lambs cleverly dropping to their knees behind Azalea to sneak a snack when Azalea is distracted.)
I tagged the last little ewe lamb, the result of Bean’s teenage pregnancy, and banded her tail. The lamb was born knuckling over on one fetlock. This is usually caused by crowding in the uterus, and sure enough, after 24 hours the lamb is standing straight on her feet. Hooray!
I burned the new calf Rocky’s emerging horn buds with caustic paste. It is basically industrial strength wart remover. This makes him very uncomfortable for a couple of hours, and he has to wear a helmet of duct tape to protect himself and his mother, Katika, from any drips or smears.
I hate these unhappy chores. It is against my nature to cause animals any discomfort. However, the discomfort is fleeting and the results are important — no horns to gore me with as a grown bull, no long woolly tail to become sticky with dung and eventually be eaten out by maggots.
Still, I once said to my visiting big brother, trying to pat my steer calf Spanky, who danced away:
“Oh, he’s a little shy.”
And my brother snorted. “A little SHY? So would I be if you cut off my testicles and burned off my horns!”
By the end of the day, however, both Rocky and little lamb #12 were curled up next to their mothers, looking unconcerned.