Image for post
Image for post
Ewe and lamb, not related

The orphan

A ranch lesson

Sometimes there is pathos in ranch stories, sometimes there is joy.

Not all of the cute little baby lambs survive, not all of the ewes are good mothers.

The rancher has less influence on the course of things than he or she would like, but sometimes they can intervene in a good way.

The tiny, new-born, snow white lamb in this picture was rejected by its mother immediately after birth. This is unfortunate, but sometimes happens. There isn’t much you can do about it, and normally, the lamb quickly dies.

The ewe on the right in this picture is not this lamb’s natural mother. But about the same time the lamb was born, she gave birth to her own baby, stillborn. The mother was painfully swollen with unused milk.

Aaron, our incredibly sensitive and caring shepherd, isolated the ewe and the lamb in the pen on the East side of the Workshop Barn, hoping they would find succor in each other. It was not that easy. The lamb bleated its tiny cry, but the ewe — unmoved — pushed the baby away every time it tried to nurse. Finally, Aaron climbed into the pen with the sheep, wrapped the resisting, struggling ewe up in his arms, and held her motionless to let the lamb suckle. He did this for three days running, several times a day.

The ewe eventually got the message that this was natural and healthy and good for everyone, and she accepted the lamb as her own. Aaron released them back into the flock as mother and baby, and they are doing fine.

A small success. A ranch victory. Something good. Something to be proud of.

Originally published on Tumblr, 10 April 2015.

Written by

Ancestry Thinker, Software Alchemist, Regenerative Rancher

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store