New Life

With life comes changes, I have a great friend and one of her sayings is "we live until we die". This saying is so correct, we want what we want and can choose to do more or less depending upon our circumstance. Life on the farm is more minutes of hard work sprinkled with minutes of beautiful. Farming is like life, it's ever changing, ever challenging and more than that it brings with it death. It is the cycle of life and when we lose people through death we mourn, that ache in our hearts if they are close never stops it lives with us until we pass. 

When living on the farm, the death of animals is no different, the farmer feels them all, not the same grief or feelings as the loss of a person, but it is sometimes made harder by the fact there is life from that death. Whilst during the birthing period for cattle he will be out and about in cold weather, gumboots on, checking everything, he has a book where he records the births and deaths and will move them off into the trees should they die, for no other reason than all creatures deserve dignity.

He will bring to me the baby calf or lamb to hand rear, most people find this fun, it is not fun when they are hungry and they kick you, cattle are known to kick behind when scared. I have had some good leg bruises and the farmer probably has more than he could count. They get scared and kick out. Teaching a young calf to suckle can start with getting them to suck your fingers and them introducing a bottle then moving them onto a fixed feeding bin so that you can limit touch so they can be re-introduced to the mob once they are over 3 months old.

Lambs are a bit more difficult, they are beautiful when they are a couple of days old, much like puppies where they will bond immediately with you, but after about a week, they then baa whenever they see you, not only because they think they are hungry but because they like company. I was asked by a friend this week to take a couple of lambs that were being hand reared in the city, they make a lot of noise and they are smelly (they wee and pooh a lot). Dogs will also eat their droppings and it's awful, but mostly it's a commitment that many are prepared for but are unable to commit to due to work and home pressures.

I collected these two very cared for lambs on Saturday and drove them back to the farm with me, they had been very much looked after. They were twins and their mothers rejected them so the place that was breeding them took them in and gave them to families that didn't want to see them die. Three feeds a day and warmth and company is what they got until it became too much and the beauty of caring for things is also knowing that you have reached a point where someone else can take over and they get to move to a farm.

They have settled in well with Turnbull, so we are happy to announce the arrival of Johnny and Coco (in the coat). Turnbull would be 4 weeks old the same as Johnny but Coco (originally named chops) is only about 2 weeks old and as it's cold, I noticed her shivering the other day so she gets to wear a designer old dog coat, till she gets bigger.

This is the animal nursery yard - which was my vegetable garden and they have a shelter which was built by the farmer which they curl up together and sleep in at night and can get out fo the rain during the day. Coco baas a lot and I can imagine it would have driven neighbours mad, any sound of human means food, they are far enough away from the house that it isn't a bothering noise, but close enough to assist should they be in danger. They will be living together for always now and they will be bottle fed till they are about 3 months, I have changed them from 3 feeds a day to 2, which is easier to manage whilst doing everything else.



Published by Robyn verrall

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