Posted by: The Saffa Mom | December 12, 2011

Never trust a farm animal! Rather get bunny rabbits.

September 2010 we moved house.

From a townhouse in the city, on a terribly busy road to 5 hectares in the country. Although we can’t really claim to live on a farm, as farms produce- my Princess believes with all her heart that we are farm people. (Farm people who rush out to the city every morning in heels and make up.)

What makes you farm people? Farm animals Silly!

We inherited them when we moved in. I was still a little apprehensive and asked my Knight to check whether the owners were going to be finding a home for the GIGANTIC black pig. Ummmmmm. “My love, they are moving into a townhouse.” I didn’t need to be too smart to realise that we were now the proud baby sitters of a pig, and 8 geese. At least they had their own yard.

Took some time to get to know them all. Geese are nothing like dogs. (For those who think it would be a good idea to replace your dogs.) We quickly found the boundaries with all the animals, and we grew to love them. Henry found a place in my heart. However, my knight still regarded Henry as potential pork for someone else. (Not him though). Don’t get me wrong. Henry was not like a dog either. But he did love a good back scratch and tummy rub. Very clever animal. As long as you stayed away from the two tusks that literally pointed skywards out of his mouth, you could have a particularly loving pet owner relationship.

A few months into our new home, the geese had babies and we were filled with such pride as we watched the huge amount of goslings finding their way around. A few went missing, which I blamed on meerkats and owls- but most made it to a good size. Then one afternoon, the owner came and fetched all of them, and took them to the market. We were all a little sad, (and in fact pissed off since I was paying to feed them) but realised soon that we could not really have 24 geese.

A little while after that we arrived home to two baby Cameroon goats and three Sheep. Now we were definitely on our way to being farm people. The owner of the property felt that they would be a good help with the grass, and apparently thought they were cute. (Note to self- no farm animal is cute.)

We called the sheep Baa 1; Baa 2 and Black. The goats were Harry and Sally. After months of getting to know each other- the sheep really did become like dogs. They would come running when they knew I had veggies and they would eat out of our hands. The goats are a little more skittish though. Unfortunately Baa 2 got sick some time during the year, and she passed away. Baa and Black had a lamb in August, much to our amazement. We didn’t even realise that she had been pregnant!! (Shocking farm people hey?)

These are experiences I never had as a child, and to be able to do this for My Princess fills my heart with such joy.

In October things all started going a little wonky.

A sheep shearer had to be arranged to come and shear the sheep. Now let’s be honest- I am sure that sheep shearers come from farms (are not just farm people like us- but REAL farms). Tell me if I could be wrong, but I wouldn’t imagine a sheep shearer coming from the city and deciding that they wanted to do this particular job without have some form of animal experience. Makes sense.

I get a call from My Knight (who does tend to exaggerate at certain times) that the sheep shearer has been mauled by the pig. You can understand my loss of words at this point. My Knight then continues on a rampant rage that the pig is gone! Gone! No discussion!

(Honestly though, he has never liked the pig, and has been looking for an excuse to get rid of him forever.)

The experience taught us that if you are able to drive to the hospital, drive. It will be far quicker than the ambulance that took 45 minutes  to find us and still charged us R3000. (Might I add at this point that the sheep shearer did not have medical aid.)

At the end of the day, the sheep shearer was not mauled, but merely stabbed through his leg by one of Henry’s tusks. Unfortunately, the tusk had to come out once it went in, and it happened to be a different direction. Although it cost us over R15000 at the time, we are trying to claim these costs through the public liability cover on our insurance policy, I still understand where Henry was coming from. He is an animal. He is a male. He will have territorial issues.

In the following couple of weeks, I worked my ass off to find a home for Henry. It was a new home or an execution. My knight was not joking. It was serious heart breaking stuff.

Henry now lives at a home for boys in the Dedeur area run by a Pastor. Apparently he is doing so well. The boys have more responsibility and Henry has a home.

There were lots of tears the day he left. It was quite a traumatic thing for all concerned, not just the four boys that were picking up a pig that was screaming like he was being murdered (never heard anything like it before). My Princess cried for days. I felt like things were a little odd in the farm yard after that. Like the boss had disappeared and the animals didn’t quite know what the new ranking was.

Then yesterday something happened that threw me back somewhat. Back to humble beginnings. My Princess and I were on our way into the farm yard, her in front to stop any animals from pushing their way out. I turned around to close the gate and heard Logan being thrown onto her back and start screeching. As I turned our ram was off in the opposite direction and Logan was running to me, in shock and screaming at the top of her lungs. My first reaction was to pick her up and get her out of there.

According to her story- our Ram had literally “rammed” into her. Her chest and stomach area more precisely.  For those city people- Rams can be quite big. In fact, when he all fours are touching the ground his head stands taller than My Princesses. I have often watched him and the goats playing rough with each other, and their heads become their main weapon. (Perhaps that is why sheep are particularly dumb animals.)

My Princess calmed down went inside to clean up, and I went back into the farm yard to finish what I had started. Although I was a little shocked that it had happened, I didn’t think much more of it. Logan came back out and wanted to help me, and I truly though that Black was over himself, and was more interested in the food than anything else. She was standing right next to me, throwing food out to all the animals. He lifted his front legs, brought them up into the sky and landed his head into her chest and stomach again. As I saw it happening I screamed at him, but I doubt it softened the blow. I picked her up in my arms as quickly as it had happened, and ran out. Black calmly carried on eating.

It was somewhat traumatic for her. Somewhat traumatic for me, and I may perhaps not love this farm people idea so much anymore.

My first phone call this morning was to the REAL farmer who helped me find the home for Henry- Darrin. Black’s actions were apparently typical signs of a mature Ram. And yes, he would continue.

First thought- let’s swap him for a girl.

Darrin said that it would prove to be quite difficult at this time of year. The market is over flooded with offspring that farmers are trying to get rid of.

Then there is the option to sell him. My concern is that we will have a female all alone in the next few months, as her baby lamb will also need to go. (Under no circumstance should they mate- apparently).

It would seem a little cruel to have one sheep. Who will she follow?

There is a third option, which still leaves me with the similar concern.

The ladies in my office have suggested we have him slaughtered! Their words “meat is expensive, you could have a freezer full”. It would be mutton, not lamb though.  Mutton is a rather fatty meat and I have only ever had mutton curry. Any recipe suggestions?

My last concern would be- can we eat our pet sheep?

I think I need to sleep on that one.

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Responses

  1. Ooh, those are some tough decisions. My heart is very small when it comes to things like this. Maybe I should stop putting myself in their shoes. Sometimes all the choices are hard ones. Hope it all works out well in the end.

    • I let the decision mull a little in my head, and i dont think it would work. First choice would be to swap him for a girl.
      So anyone want to trade? x

  2. Ouch! A tough spot to be in. If you can distance yourself from Black and consider him an animal. A decision might come easier.
    I have another blog I follow, from a farm. Some animals are for eating and some not. That’s the decisions that were made. Unfortunately there are no children to consider to the equation either. That makes it easier.
    But an animal or the child? Easy call in my book.
    Maybe a trade for some other kind of meat?

    • Must admit, i feel like i have already distanced myself from his corner. In fact, as horrible as it sounds i havenot even gone to get them all teh left over veg from the fruit and veg shop. They can eat the grass- like they are suppossed to. Ugly hey- maybe i should tomorrow though. x


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