Saturday, June 08, 2013

Meet the flock - Greta the Hover-Mommy

Greta is a hover-mommy. She had her first lamb this year as a first time two year old ewe. We named him Ivan. He's a big, strong dark spotted 4-horned boy. A really nice ram lamb by Canoe Lake Sonic Boom.

For the first month of his life, Greta would not allow Ivan to play with the other lambs. She would run over an put herself between him and the lamb flock. She'd gently nudge him back towards the shelter with little bumps of her nose. She'd snuffle him all over to make sure the lambs hadn't hurt him.
If they got separated at feeding time, the two times of the day when most lambs have to fend for themselves from day one, Greta would leave her feed pan, hollering, until she found Ivan.

Is Ivan ok?
When we started turning the sheep out to pasture, Greta used her strident voice to keep Ivan at her side. She eventually allowed him to participate in lamb-pedes in the evening, but she watched them carefully. Now that he's almost four months old, and almost as big as his mom, Ivan does play with the other lambs, but he never will have the "devil-may-care" attitude that Cowslip's twin boys have, or Inky or many of the others who are truly convinced the world revolves around them.

Greta is the daughter of one of our herd matriarchs, Basil, who is Thyme's daughter. Greta is mostly a sweet and quiet Jacob Sheep ewe. Her fleece is soft, mostly white, with small black spots. She's very pretty and gentle and kind, sort of just a sheep, a really nice sheep, but just a sheep, until she had her son. Now she's a Hover- Mommy to the max. She'll come swooping in all battle and fury to protect her Ivan from any imagined threat.

Last weekend, we wethered all the little boy sheep and goats. We are not keeping any ram lambs or buck goats this year. Ivan has a future as a fiber wether, he's already promised to a new flock after I get his lamb's wool fleece next spring. Greta didn't really worry about what we were doing to her boy, she trusts her humans, and none of the ram lambs hollered or fussed. Greta did worry that he didn't want to walk around much, and she kept pawing him to get up and move. He would, reluctantly. Part of the healing process is for the wethers to exercise regularly, so that was good. They all seem to be healing fine.

Ivan's fine
Yesterday as I was running out the door to work, late, I heard a squalling and hollering ewe in the sheep pen. I went running out there in my full long skirts and petticoats and apron. My shiny boots squelched in the mud as I ran toward the fence, flipping my long skirts over the low spot.

Greta was standing in the middle of the pen, bawling. I climbed the hill to where the sheep like to take their morning nap in the trees. Ivan was relaxing with his little band of brothers, chewing his cud and ignoring his mother. I made him get up and go down to her. Teenaged lambs still need to listen to their mommies. It helps with the shepherd's sanity.

Even in sheep, mother's come in all types. Relaxed moms, non-maternal moms, self-centered moms. Greta is a hover-mommy.

1 comment:

RunningWhit said...

This was such a cute look into the personality of the herd! I loved it!