Growing up on a farm, I was constantly exposed to animals. Dogs and cats roamed through the house. Chickens wandered through the yard, rabbits were resting in cages, and horses made their paths in the pasture.
One thing I never saw when I was growing up were lambs in the house. Under most circumstances, they’re an outside animal.
Well, I’ve seen it now. My parents have two young lambs in the house. That, in itself, is pretty wild, but when you factor in one of my mother’s Australian Shepherds just having nine puppies, I was amazed there was room to move around when I recently visited.
Normally, lambs spend their first weeks of life with their mothers, getting sustenance from their milk. However, one of the lambs was rejected by her mother, an unfortunate but not uncommon occurrence, while the other lamb had a mother who was not generating enough milk. As a result, my parents have both lambs in the house to protect them from the icy claws of winter, helping them along with a milk substitute geared toward lambs.
It was quite a sight to see when I went out to visit and saw one of the lambs, Patch, bounced up to me, curious about the new creature that was on the premises. When I sat down on the kitchen floor, Patch and the “Little Sister” came up for attention. It was nice to be able to interact with the lambs without a mother getting in the way for fear the strange human might be trying to hurt her precious baby.
The lambs would follow wherever I went, including the bathroom where the puppies, who were just opening their eyes that day, were residing. The lambs were curious about the pups, but I don’t think the young Aussies were too thrilled with having wooly white things with hooves sniffing around them and occasionally stepping on them.
Life and death are a part of every farm. Sometimes, you can’t avoid death, with some babies coming into this world stillborn, or some being killed by predators like wolves and coyotes. However, when there’s a chance at life, many farmers will do what they can to make sure an animal’s stay on this planet isn’t too short.
Soon, the lambs will be rejoining the flock, and then the cycle of life will continue. However, it just goes to show that no matter how long you live, there will be some new experience just around the corner.