Ruby Slippers

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My blog wouldn’t be complete without a post about Ruby Slippers. We had one set of triplets born during our lambing season this spring. The mother had a strapping male of 9 pounds and a solid female of 8 pounds; and then she had Ruby Slippers. Ruby came into this world with all the odds stacked against her. She only weighed 1 pound, was weak and spindly, and she wasn’t even pretty. “A lamb not pretty?!?”, you say. Yes, Ruby was not a pretty lamb. Where the other lambs have pink noses and lips, Ruby had a big, brown spot on her face that covered up the pink, and she had a brown spot covering each foot that looked like dirty, unmatched socks. But she could stand up and she could “Baaa” so Bill and I cut and sprayed their umbilical cords and put the new family in a pen in the barn with fresh hay, water and food. All was well, we thought.

Later that day, Bill brought Ruby in the house, saying “I don’t think this one is going to make it”.Her mouth and lips were cold and she was too weak to stand up. No matter that she wasn’t big or pretty. She still had some life left in her and as long as she did, Bill and I were determined we weren’t going to lose her on our watch!!! We covered her with towels to warm her and began feeding her milk replacement every two hours. She could latch on to the false nipple and suck. That was a good sign. At bedtime, we put her in a box with newspapers, towels, and a stuffed doggy friend to snuggle with.

We weren’t sure what the morning would bring but we prayed she would make it. She was a little stronger the next day and each day she became stronger . When we found her sleeping in our Pomeranian dog’s crate, we searched the garage and found Ruby her own dog crate to sleep in. She seemed to be enjoying life in the house and our lives settled into a rhythm. Bill would give her a bottle when he got up then put her in the pasture with the other lambs and ewes. Her mother had easily adjusted to life without a third. Around 4:30 Bill would bring her in the house and I would give her a bottle then and again at bedtime. Next time Bill weighed her, she weighed 5 pounds. We were thrilled! Then she weighed  8 pounds the next week, and today she weighs 15.

Now we are trying to wean her off the bottle and get her to eat enough grass and grain to keep healthy and growing. Whoever says sheep don’t have personalities haven’t met Ruby. She follows Bill and I all over the farm like a puppy. In the house, she wanders around, smelling and biting on anything she can reach, also like a puppy. The cutest thing she does is jump up and down and from side to side on our carpet, like she is dancing. She’s smart, too. Why, she has figured out that if she jumps up in my lap in the evenings, I will hold her and stroke her neck for awhile. Now, if we could train her to use the doggy door, we just might make a house sheep  out of her.

 

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