Sunday, April 06, 2008


“Guilt is anger directed at ourselves.” ~Peter McWilliams
I was raised on a small dairy farm. Being raised such we knew that we were responsible for the animals well being. Some of our animals were raised for food and I never felt guilt over that as they were raised well. Then there was a long hiatus from farming and lessons were forgotten.

Several years ago I got a “free” horse. This led quickly to chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, a calf, and when I started spinning fiber animals. They started with two angora goats, added a year old wether that was on his way to the butcher, two Finn ewes and last year a Finn ram. And as much as I would like to shirk my responsibility and say it is the man’s fault because he never tells me “no”, I can’t do that. This is all my fault. I thought I had thought everything through.

Long range planning does not deal with future decisions but with the future of present decisions.~ Peter F. Drucker

The goat, wether and ram were in one field, the ewes in another and all was well. Then in October we merged the two in hopes of lambs. Then in a freak moment we got a great deal on two calves which was too good to pass up. We put them in the field where the ewes had been. Fast forward to this Spring. We divided the sheep area in the barn to get the girls away from the boys for the impending births. Then we divided the girls side into a lambing jug, a creep area and general area with a small fenced yard.

I turned into a freak (complete understatement) worrying about the births and if all would go well, would all the lambs make it, etc. etc. etc. Thankfully all went well with the deliveries. The one ewe delivered three and one came to the house to live with me. Three weeks later the second ewe delivered three and two eventually came to the house to live with me. When the little bottle lambs are put back with the girls they fling them all over so we have to keep them separated. Here is the room in the barn. I can’t put the girls back in their field because the calves are in there. I can’t put the girls back with the boys because I don’t want them pregnant again. I can’t put the bottle lambs in with the girls. I can NOT keep three lambs in my house.

I had already decided that I was not going to breed again anytime soon, as it all of a sudden dawned on me that I wasn’t breeding to get milk like from a cow or something I needed. I was breeding because lambs are cute. I can’t keep them all, well I could but I shouldn’t! I like lamb chops/roasted leg of lamb but even I can’t eat the bottle babies now. So why breed and make more that I have no plans for. OH decisions, decisions, decisions.

Decisions are the endless uncertainties of life that we'll not know if they’re right until the very end, so do the best you can and hope its right. ~Lily Collins

When I was talking to a friend about my lambs, she had said a friend of hers uses Finn to breed Suffolk. So I made a call to see if she could call and find out if her friend would like a free ram.Last night we drove Smuffin an hour away to my friends house and she will deliver him to his new home. Then I cried and the man and I didn’t talk the whole ride home.

“Guilt is regret for what we’ve done.
Regret is guilt for what we didn’t do.”

I feel I had to do this but I had to because I failed to prepare properly. I feel I used him in a way and threw him aside. I regret I was not acting responsibly when I got him and I am hoping that this decision is the responsible thing to do for his future.

So this morning the bottle babies went up to live in the barn on the ewe‘s side. We had already taken down the lambing jug. We removed the creep area from the ewe’s side and built a creep area on what was the boys side and moved the ewes with the lambs they kept over to that side of the barn and pasture. During weaning time the those lambs will be taken from the mom’s and put in with the bottle babies.

Hopefully this whole experience is a lesson that I will take with me and in future realize that I have to show more restraint and fully understand my obligations to the animals entrusted to me.

"The purity of a person's heart can be quickly measured by how they regard animals" ~ Anonymous

I feel like a cold black-hearted person right now.

1 comment:

finnsheep said...

Don't feel bad about the ram. He's going to a place where he'll probably get more action! Besides, you gave him a great home while you had him. He isn't your responsibility any more.