Flicker’s Lair Blog

A day on the farm

by Heidi on April 23rd, 2009
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Isn’t Spring supposed to be about joy and new life! Well we are not having a good week, and today has been especially difficult. This post should probably come with a warning, it is an honest account of the harder side of farming, rescue & life.

Tuesday saw the unexpected birth of 4 kittens, who were then left by their mum in the cold and 1 died before I found them. At lunch time today I found another of them had died.

Last night when closing up the barn we discovered one of our ducks, the all white girl, is missing. We are really hoping that she just has a secret nest somewhere and has gone to sit on it, and that she will reappear one day with ducklings in tow.

Wednesday morning Steve found a small, possibly premature, cold lamb. None of the sheep were paying the body any attention, and we were not sure who might be the mum. Yesterday Arya was wandering around shouting and she is not normally a big talker. Today she seemed very low, staying close to the barn, away from the rest of the flock, and lying down. By late afternoon I was very concerned by her behaviour. We called the vet, who checked her over and gave her an ultrasound, it is likely that she was the mother of the dead lamb from Tuesday. Fortunately there does not appear to be another one, or a retained placenta. We are not sure what is wrong with her, but she has a course of antibiotics and had an anti-inflammatory shot.

When the vet left I had to go get the dogs ready as MJ was being picked up to go for a home visit. Fingers crossed for her. After which I went back to the barn and found Peony in labour! I watched her for a bit then ran back in and grabbed my camera and the sheep book. I was starting to get worried and thinking about grabbing some surgical gloves and helping her, I turned to put down my camera and when I turned back the lamb was on the floor. It wasn’t alive. I tried rubbing it and a swinging technique I had seen but nothing. Should I have stepped in sooner, was there something else I could have / should have done? Did my lack of experience lose that lamb’s life?

Peony giving birth

I went in to check on Arya who was lying with her head down and breathing heavily, I thought she was going. I sat with her for a bit, but needed to go back and check on Peony. Who promptly dropped another lamb in front of me! This one alive. A beautiful little spotted baby. I turned around to find Arya had escaped her stall! When I left them Arya was on her feet and having a little hay, Peony’s new baby is on foot and has fed.

Peony & new baby Peony & new baby

I came back indoors and went down to check on Willow and her kittens and found the last two still within the cave and not especially cold, but gone. When I checked on them at lunchtime they had full bellies, so I know she was feeding them. We can only assume that there was something else wrong. Willow’s health isn’t great so it was always a worry.

To top it all off there is a dead robin on the front lawn. There doesn’t seem to be a mark on it, it is just lying there.

I feel like I am failing everyone around me. There have been no tears yet, I just feel tired and numb. For years I have been battling with depression, recently I have been having quite a few black cloud spells, and have been struggling for the last few days, so I can’t help but wonder if my reaction to these events is just because of my condition, or if these animals are suffering because of my lacking as a farmer and a carer?

Steve’s is finally home now, he has been at a Tree care & pruning course this evening, so at least you can expect tomorrow’s post to be if not cheerful, then perhaps less depressing.

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  1. What a sad week on the farm. Don’t despair – these things happen for a reason, and if the kittens died, and two lambs didn’t make it, it’s for good reason. Look at all the happy, healthy animals surrounding you, they’re all doing well. MJ may be about to embark on a new furever home, and you have two new little lambs to celebrate! Focus on the positive, Peony’s new little lamb is just precious!

    Comment by Kim — April 24, 2009 @ 6:45 am

  2. It is impossible to be cheerful when there is death all around. And you are not responsible for that death, just the innocent bystander, caught in the emotional crossfire. I hope you can spend some time cuddling the living and having your spirits restored.

    Comment by Michelle — April 24, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

  3. P.S. I don’t think there is a “good reason” for death; death was not part of God’s original plan. I take comfort in reading the end of the book (Revelation chapters 21 and 22), being reassured that there will come a time and place when death and suffering will be wiped out forever. Until then, I think God cries with us.

    Comment by Michelle — April 24, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

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