Milestone!

At long last, I have internet in my house!! I am writing this post from the comfort of my own bed. šŸ™‚

It may seem ridiculous, but one of the main reasons I wanted internet at my house (aside from Netflix and the ability to check my email without having to go somewhere) was so that I would be able to blog. It’s so difficult for me to collect my thoughts when there is a lot of commotion surrounding me.

Oh my goodness so much has happened! I suppose an update is in order.
I can barely remember what’s happened between January and now but February was one of the hardest months I’ve had in my entire life. We lost 6 animals to various things.

It began with a mama sheep giving birth to her first lamb. Sadly, the lamb was stuck in the birth canal and did not live longer than 6 hours. Those 6 hours were a complete miracle though because she was dead when she was born. We resuscitated her and managed to keep her alive for an afternoon.
The next animal we lost was a heifer calf, Ellie. I feel completely responsible for this one because she was under my care and I probably could have prevented it. šŸ˜¦ She was never a particularly strong calf due to the fact that she didn’t get any colostrum from her mother because the mama cow’s udder hangs very low and the calf couldn’t find the teat. One night it got down to 9 degrees and although Ellie was in the barn, she was not strong enough to withstand a temperature that cold. She got hypothermia. We may have been able to save her had it not been for the fact that we were also currently in the process of weaning her off milk. That causes a tremendous amount of stress on an animal’s body and she did not have the energy to stay warm.
Ellie died on a Monday.

Tuesday morning I was milking the cows and Ben comes flying in from work and says that one of our beef cows has delivered a baby and is stuck in the mud and can’t stand up.
Her calf, a bull, was strong, adventurous and curious. We have named him Magellan because from the moment he could walk, he began exploring. šŸ™‚ We spent all of Tuesday (Valentine’s Day) in the field with the cow feeding her grain, hay, water and giving her oral drenches of dextrose, vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. We managed to move her to the barn on our farm but she still cannot stand. We are in the process of rehabilitating her using a sling that allows her to put some weight on her legs but not all of it at once.

Wednesday of that week was dealing with the aftermath of the cow and making sure she was sitting upright and comfortably all day.

Thursday was awful. Ben again returned from work having discovered that one of our registered Devon cows had died. We still have absolutely no explanation for this death other than sometimes cows just die. We even did a minor autopsy on her to check her stomach and intestines and she was not impacted or anything. Nothing looked out of the ordinary. At this point Ben and I were completely emotionally spent.

Friday my father-in-law came to me to talk about a sheep that had been sick and I’d been caring for. She had been sick for almost 3 weeks and had lost the majority of her wool. We had begun feeding her grain daily, but she was not gaining weight. We had to put her down that day because she could not stand up anymore and had lost her appetite completely.

Nothing happened again until Tuesday of the following week. I left to make our Tuesday drop off for milk customers and take my brother-in-law to his weekly music lesson. Not ten minutes after I left, one of my sheep went into labor. She labored for about 2 hours making no progress. My mother-in-law went in to feel the positioning of the babies and they were completely breech. The first boy came out completely backwards and the second followed not long after in an equally contorted position. We believe they were stillborn and may have shared the same sack in the womb which is what caused the problem. We lost both twin boys. The mother, however, is exceedingly strong and was up and walking around less than an hour later. She was very sad for a few days. You may not think animals are capable of feeling emotions, but let me tell you that they are. She cried for two days in search of her lost babies. Every time she saw a human she would bleat softly in her “mama voice” as if we had taken them from her and could bring them back. It was heart breaking.

We are beginning to recover emotionally and trying to remain positive and learn from our experiences. It has been a very hard two and a half weeks but God gives us trials for a reason. He wants us to lean on Him and trust in Him for our strength. This is one of those reminders that our God is always sovereign. But we must also remember that He is ALWAYS good. Even when it doesn’t seem like it. Having all these experiences will perhaps teach us how to save another animal in the future. I am thankful that I live on a family farm where we love and support each other through everything. Had we not had Ben’s family here, we may have given up completely. They are a constant source of encouragement to us and are always willing to give up their time to help us when an emergency arises. What a blessing to have them!!

I hope this new month goes much more smoothly than the last. Spring is coming and with it, hope. šŸ™‚
~JoAnna

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