Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Play dead!

When Dave and I took hay to the critters they burst out of the back area and into the yard, which I thought was better than then knocking Dave over with the wheelbarrow full of hay. But Barclay started chasing the sheep, and the pasture gate was open, so out they go into the pasture, and before I could catch up he had a mouthful of wool on Marian's side and was hanging on for dear life as she tried to run away from him. Being a sheep (and we've already established that means 'not very smart') she ran into the corner of the field, and when I caught up Marian was laying down, all legs tucked under, head straight out forward, chin flat on the ground, eyes closed. Playing dead! Barclay didn't know what to do with that - he was jumping around, climbing over her, but there were no legs to grab, and she wouldn't react to him. I finally picked him up and carried him back. When we got away from her Houdini went over to sniff her and she jumped up and shook, and then she ran over to the other sheep, and the whole bunch headed back to get some hay. What crazyness!

Of course, it would have helped if Barclay came when I called her away from her, or if we had the hay stored in a barn, where we could feed the animals without tramping through mud and risking getting knocked down every time. Our layout is just not right for keeping livestock all winter. It's a lot of work, and the animals don't have a good place to stay where they aren't standing in mud and poop. I'm seriously considering finding them new homes and getting out of livestock at all. I feel like if I can't take care of animals right and safely for everyone (including the livestock), then I shouldn't have them.


dotoner said...

You would be so sad without them! Keep at it - its a work in progress! I dont know anyone who takes such good care of her animals as you Steph!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sounds like you've got a touch of the winter doldrums, so don't react so harshly. This too shall pass. Winter doesn't last forever and the mud will move on.

There are some places in the country that have mud all year round, and flooding. Or like in our area, drought and little pasture or grass. So we have to feed hay all year round.

No situation is perfect, and with animals anything can happen. Barclay's 'moment' was just that. No more no less. Noone was hurt, and plenty of lessons were learned from both sheep and dog.

Hang in there. Drink a glass of wine. Take a warm bath. Get a good nights sleep and remember tomorrow's another day.

You can start making plans on what you might like to do this Spring and Summer to change things the way you'd like them in time for next winter. :)

~aka Rapunzle

StefRobrts said...

I know, wise advice from someone who has plenty of her own critters! I just can't figure out a way to make it all work better on our property. I'm not too upset about Barclay taking down the lamb, no one got hurt and he was just playing with her (though I don't encourage it), I am just a bit of a control freak and I guess I want things to be a little bit more under control. Maybe I have too high standards for how I want things to be. It has taken many years to get here.

Jaynie Roberts said...

We found a dozen eggs in the fridge at 606 last night. Are they yours?

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Whew, I'm glad you didn't think I was being too pushy or 'know-it-all', cause believe me, I know not enough! lol!

I just wanted to help you get through a rough spot somehow.

Just like Orphan Annie said, "The Sun will come out your bottom dollar that...tomorrow...come what may"

Hang in there, my friend,

annaliese said...

oh! you sure have had crazy times, haven't you?! stupid sheep playing dead are my favorite! (sarcasm) I thought our neighbor's dog had killed one of the hair sheep (who did end up being killed by coyotes later, ironically) one day, but she was just playing dead.