How to Milk a Sheep

From Christmas, Dog, Advent, Sarah

Actually, I have no idea. Ask Travis. He’s the sheep milker ’round these parts. I tried. I really, really tried but it made my own nipples tingle in sympathy. So I held the ewe’s back leg and Travis got down there and ‘psshht, psshhht, pshht,’ the milk squirted into the plastic bowl. Yeah!

The surviving twin lamb was failing, as in dying, so I brought her in and we took turns holding her over the vent of the propane heater, then put her in a laundry basket with a heating pad under her and an electric heater blowing on her. It still took hours for her to thaw out. I have little doubt that the other twin froze to death before the mama could clean it off. They came in the middle of that single-digit cold snap we had while I was in Asheville.
Anyway, we brought lambie in just after we got back from Wal-Mart where we bought a baby bottle (and a baby enema, just in case). The little thing was cold and floppy, bordering on rigid. Her breathing was shallow and her heartbeat thin. As of 2am today, when she polished off the last 2 ounces of colostrum and corn syrup (I thought the sugar might be helpful), she was standing up, butting the bottle and twiggling her little tail. Yay!
I can never figure out how to feel about doing all this work to save a life, only to eventually offer the same animal for sale. For meat. Maybe we should start making sheep’s milk cheese?

About Bettina Colonna Essert

Illuminated Magdalene High Priestess and facilitator of empowerment and healing circles for girls and women, including a monthly Red Tent Temple. BA in English, minor in anthropology. Waldorf homeschool mom. Reiki master, cranial sacral therapist, herbalist, menstruvist, feminist, epicurian.
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