Sunday, December 4, 2011

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

Waylon’s life has been like a country song.

He left his mama and the home farm behind. He found himself in with a gang of other misguided youth. Then, he had “women”…lots of them! …and now, he’s incarcerated and alone. SO alone!

Last month, Waylon headed out to the ram paddock. You can read about that here.

Since then, he has paced, he has cried, he has butted the fence, he has cried, he has climbed the fence, he has cried. He injured himself attempting to stand on the gate to look for his missing girlfriends. The best explanation of his injury would be a sprained ankle. He hobbled around for more than a week, crying the whole time. He finally made a complete recovery.

Last week, he stopped eating well. Then, he stopped eating at all. He would nibble at things, but there was no enthusiasm to his eating, no real appetite. He looked thin. I worried.

When I worry, I in turn worry the Boss. I get more than a little repetitive as I try to figure out solutions. I am probably about as annoying as Waylon’s crying. The difference is, I apologize—Waylon does NOT.

In considering solutions, we checked his health. Sheep can be victim of several internal parasites. The one with the most visible effects is the Haemonchus Contortus, the red stomach worm. This parasite survives on the host’s blood, and anemia very quickly follows infestation. Waylon’s eyelids and eyes were pale. This demanded prompt action. He was given and antihelmintic and a probiotic immediately. The antihelmintic kills the parasites, the probiotic restores the good "bugs" to the gut and encourages appetite.

The following morning, his appetite was back, he had a little zip to him. But, he was still crying…

We have already been through the list of solutions. Get him a “friend” was the most likely one. However, that is much easier said than done. This time of year, all the shepherds are down to their breeding stock. A donkey might work, but we didn’t want to introduce the handling issues of another species. (someday I’ll have to tell about our llama of long ago, Shirley) Besides, it was quite possible Waylon would freak out with a donkey and then we’d have a whole new set of problems.

The decision was made to let one of the little girls go live with him for a while. This will more than likely produce lambs at a weird time of year, but there are worse things. Like a dead ram, for one. Once we get the lambchop crop of 2012 on the ground, we can figure out a better long-term solution.

In the meantime, just one more day of Waylon…..”Crying, crying, crying over ewes…” (Roy Orbison, I apologize. I went for the pun...I really couldn't help it!)

**for the record, I DO know that the title is Hank, Sr. …not Waylon Jennings!**

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