Friday, 4 May 2012

Being a Mummy Sheep


My three adopted daughters are growing well. Snowy is huge and fast becoming the most beautiful sheep with white eye patches and a gentle nature. Moon is the naughtiest of the three and insists on jumping up, bruising me with her sharp hooves. Little Pink is still the baby and behaves more like a dog than a lamb; she adores being fussed and is happy to toddle about with us without needing a harness.

Though the four feeds a day have been slightly trying, especially the 11pm one and washing bottles and teats four times a day has been a strain on my hands, I've thoroughly enjoyed raising the girls and the children have loved seeing their new pets grow.

Last week was challenging, the 9yo was home sick and I still had the builders in. At the usual time I set off to collect the 7yo from school, the 9yo wrapped up in her seat. I took our usual route over the Clee Hills. Up high on these hills and across Catherton Common, is Common Land. Residents graze their animals here; sheep, cows and horses wandering freely. There's plenty of signage to warn motorists but very few stick to the 40mph limit and even that feels fast when a creature bolts into the road. 

Towards Clee Hill Village we passed a lamb on the side of the road. She was sat like a dog; on her bottom her two front legs bracing her body above the gravel layby. She was in a bad way. Clearly she'd been hit by a motorist. 

I turned the car around and parked a little way away explaining the situation to the 9yo.

The lamb didn't flinch as I approached, a bad sign in itself. Blood streamed from her nose and mouth.


Thank goodness we always carry blankets. I wrapped her up and, though she was heavy I lifted her and carefully laid her in the boot of my car.




With the 7yo speedily collected from school, we three lashed to the vet's practice closest to where I'd found the lamb. The children watched the still creature as I drove and at one point the 9yo motioned that she thought it had died. I confess I felt relief that it was out of pain but the 7yo gently stroked a leg and the lamb struggled: She was fighting her injuries.

The vet surgery was fantastic and gave the lamb a 50/50 chance. They promised to call me to let me know the outcome.



The worse part of the experience wasn't the blood on my blankets or the aroma of the car, no, it was noticing a white van driver eating his sandwiches and drinking his tea. He was parked fifty yards from where the lamb's life was ebbing away and he continued to watch as I struggled to lift the hefty animal into the back of my car. Humans worry me sometimes.



***

The vet called not long after we got home. The lamb had been put to sleep.

We all need to slow down in our cars. In rural areas you could hit a lamb, in town it could be a child.






The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon