It's really too bad that since bringing home the sheep my digital camera battery has had no charge and I haven't been able to locate the charger... Every photo I've posted in the last few months has been taken with my phone, and so now that we are into winter my phone is pretty freaked out by the contrast between the snow and pretty much anything else around.
I spent a quite a bit of yesterday morning with the sheep.
Ingrid (pictured here, left) can be quite flighty, especially after I've recently had to handle her for anything, so I try to spend some time convincing her I'm not Voldemort-incarnate on a regular basis. She's yet to be convinced...
Yesterday I noticed one of the sheep was leaving me little mini sheep pies instead of sheep pellets, if you catch my drift. In the world of sheep this is referred to as scours, and can only mean bad news. Scours is a general catchall term for loose stool in ruminants and can indicate all sorts of things including viral or bacterial infection, or high parasite infection, or basically anything to upset the carefully balanced flora in their rumen (the first chamber of their crazy complex stomach). I'm starting to feel more comfortable with my little mini-flock though and I didn't panic (an amazing new habit I'm trying to start). I quietly ushered them into their holding stall, where there is a particularly nice corner I can use to catch and examine them and one by one I checked for signs of scours (or bloat - I'm paranoid).
The ram always resists the most actively (Run away! Run away!), Gertrude is always indignant (Ew. The human is touching me... you owe me a damned treat!) and Ingrid is, within seconds, predictably collapsed on the ground, dramatically awaiting her demise (Oh my god, I am caught! Kill me quickly!)
After checking them all and finding no signs of loose stool on anybody I decided I'd be the paranoid shepherdess and I set up camp for a while on the stump of a tree I felled earlier this year. I cut this log to a perfect height and angle specifically for sheep watching, and it's really come in handy since I can perch quietly and they quickly forget me there. After about fifteen minutes I had seen everybody relieve themselves at least once and everything looked normal. I'm going to chock it up to the fact that they got a bit more alfalfa than usual in the morning when my dear hubby mistook course alfalfa hay for grass mix. Everybody's eating, drinking, pooping, peeing, baaing, running and has a decent Famacha score, so I'm fairly content that it's nothing to worry about.
It's difficult to keep a level head when this kind of thing happens, after everyone livestock-oriented that I meet seems to say "You have sheep? Whew! Good luck with that!" or "Sheep are the one creature on earth constantly trying to DIE."... Haha. If that is the case, panicking surely isn't going to help, so I'm doing my best to breathe and take all things "sheepy" relaxed and easy.