Had a scare with Lady today. She was staggering and wobbling when she came out of the barn this morning. After Princess, anybody looking wobbly sets off my big red panic button. After watching her for a few hours, she has a definite limp on her left hind leg, but there’s nothing visually wrong with the leg, and she doesn’t show any neurological symptoms, so I’m 90% sure she just strained something. It’s happened before, and it’s usually gone by the next day. That 10% still makes me nervous, though.
Even on three legs she’s faster than I am, so I haven’t managed to take her temperature or feel her leg yet. I’d try to get everyone in the barn so I could catch her, but I’m afraid she’ll get knocked down/trampled/kicked in the rush. If she gets any worse, or doesn’t get better by this afternoon, I’ll have to try it anyway.
“Just keeping you on your toes!”
Why? Why do I need to be on my toes? Can’t I ever just relax and walk normally, without being one crisis away from a nervous breakdown? Would that be too much to ask?
Keeping an eye on Lady meant sitting outside for a long time, and it is a truth universally acknowledged that a ShepherdPerson in possession of treats must be in want of some sheep to eat those treats, so I had a lot of
distractions company while keeping watch.
“Treats? Any treats for us?”
Neo and Nova, my first little lamb crop, investigated my lap and hands for treats, while Mira stood by my shoulder and radiated disapproval.
“You guys go away! This is MY mommy, MY lap, and MY treats!”
Neo may be a gentle soul, but he is pretty big and Mira’s not quite brave enough to
try to butt him away. She settles for squeezing in between him and me while glaring at both of us.
On the subject of treats, I’ve been giving the sheep a pelleted feed instead of Chex cereal for a while, because it’s actually formulated for sheep and it’s cheaper for a 50lb bag than endless boxes of breakfast cereal. I’m thinking I need to go back to Chex though. The sheep like their crunchies better, and I think the pelleted feed might actually be too nutritious. I don’t feed them much, maybe two or three handsful for the whole flock, but certain sheep of the Shetland variety around here are starting to look a bit rotund.
“It’s all wool!”
Yeah, I don’t think that’s all wool.
“Maybe it’s muscle?”
Sorry, no, unless all your muscle is around your belly.
“Fine, I don’t have to listen to this, grumble-mumble, my girlfriend thinks I look fine, grumble-mumble.”
I’m a bit suspicious that using the pelleted feed may also have accidentally flushed the girls last fall, leading to my 100% twinning rate this year. I do not like a 100% twinning rate. It’d be fine if I was running a commercial operation, where the extra boys would get eaten, but…
“Hi, ShepherdPerson! We’re hanging out with Johnny today because Dad’s in a grumpy mood again!”
…Yeah, don’t think I could bring myself to eat the Dukelings. If anybody’s in the market for a nice Soay ram lamb, I wouldn’t be opposed to selling a few of them, though.