Monday, March 29, 2010

Freida the Hussey

This is the story of Freida the Hussey. She is a farm favorite but she truly did earn her name. She is the only ewe I have ever had or even heard of that actually broke into the ram pen! Freida came to us eight years ago. She needed a home in the middle of winter and as adamant as I was about no more sheep, they didn't have to twist my arm very hard before I relented and we brought her home.
She is a mix of Romney, Blue Hexam, Lincoln. Corriedale & Border Leicester. A true Maine mutt :) She weights about 165 lbs and gives us wonderful fleece every year. She's been Grandma to all the lambs each year and she wears the bell when the sheep are on pasture.

When she came to live with us we knew she had a big abdominal hernia. We never bred her as the Vet advised against it for Freida's well being because of it. She is now ten years old. One Sunday morning I went out to do chores alone and something looked off. After a minute or two of surveying the sheep pens I discovered lovely Freida in the ram pen having herself a good time. I was dumbfounded and stared in disbelief. I had been so careful with her all these years and a 10 minute romp just raised my stress level considerably. We watched her carefully - our vet said the only problem she may have is trouble pushing the lamb out through the birth canal due to the damaged muscle structure. We wanted to be sure we were there in case she needed help. Good thing - she definitely needed help but not the kind you think!

Tom went to the barn around lunchtime on Monday last week to just "check"on things and he calls and tells me I need to come quickly, "we have a problem". Sure enough, Freida has just delivered a black ewe lamb. She is showing no interest in getting up and no interest in the lamb. Tom and I helped her up, put the lamb next to her head and backed off to let her do the rest. Right!! She took one look at that lamb and headed for the hay feeder. Freida has always been guided by her love for food - this time was no different :) We jugged her with her lamb and tied her head in the corner. She had hay and water within reach but couldn't hurt the baby. She wouldn't let her nurse so I milked her colostrum and fed it to the ewe with a syringe several times over the next few hours. At the 10 p.m. feeding the lamb wasn't very hungry. I stepped outside and listened and I could here Freida talking to her a little. I decided to see if the mothering instinct would come to her. The next morning when I went to the barn, the ewe didn't want her bottle - she had been nursing and Freida was talking to her. I untied her head and she started licking her and caring for her. Hallelujah!!

Freida

Freida's ewe lamb, Betty Boop

Freida has become a wonderful Mother and is raising a lovely lamb, Betty Boop is a gift for sure. That being said, I will make sure Miss Freida does NOT get into the ram pen ever again!


10 comments:

Michelle said...

Betty IS a strikingly beautiful lamb; glad of the good outcome!

Candy Duell said...

Oh I love the black, Betty is a beauty! She also looks like she is a big girl, is she?

simplefarmgirl said...

What a beautiful lamb.. I always loved the black ones. glad moma is taking care of her now. Like in humans some new moms just need a little guidance

Tammy said...

What a fun story! I'm glad for the happy ending. After ten years it probably took a little time for the mothering spark to ignite.:-) I guess the old gal figured it was either now or never when she broke into the ram pen. I have an old ewe (Shetland) who I didn't have bred for the first time this year. She is STILL cycling, and I'm afraid she will try something like this! Anyway, Betty Boop IS a special gift and what a beauty she is.
Tammy

Nancy K. said...

I'm so glad that Frieda safely delivered a healthy ewe lamb for you! What an unexpected gift!

I had a ewe LAMB break into the ram's pen last fall that will be lambing in a couple of months. I had not planned on breeding any of my girls ~ CERTAINLY not any ewe lambs ~ but she apparently had other ideas. Crawled right under the gate, the little dickens did...

;-)

Gayle said...

Such a little trouble maker! :) Glad it all worked out.

kristi said...

I love a good hussie story! It is good to have one animal to keep us on our toes! So I know all the Maine Mutt breeds except the Blue Hexam......so off to check it out;)

DayPhoto said...

I'm glad everything worked out. What a stress load that probably was. But Freida found out that a baby is a nice end to a romp and that is really good.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/

lisa said...

That has got to be a relief! Betty Boop defiantly is going to have some nice fleece!

Christy said...

Glad it worked out!