Sheep May Safely Graze
Johann Sebastian Bach's 'Sheep May Safely Graze' is one of my favorite pieces to play on the piano or organ. We all like to view sheep safely grazing on a hillside or in a meadow.
The other day Craig saw an ewe on her back. Remembering his uncle's sheep, he knew that when sheep are stressed, startled, or chased, they might roll over on their back and then can't get back up again, making them a prime target for a coyote.
I researched why sheep might get on their backs. Perhaps it stepped into a hole or rolled down a hill. If their wool becomes heavy on their backs, that may cause them to roll over. This is especially a problem when ewes become pregnant, making constant care and supervision of sheep an important task for the Shepherd. The extra weight of wool is why shepherds shear their sheep.
Jesus once said, "What man is there among you who, if he has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out." (Matthew 12:11)
Care of animals is important and their lives are important. 'Sheep lives matter!' The Shepherd and the Farmer cares for his animals and wants to protect them, even at the point of a gun. My father once wisely said, "Foxes belong in the woods, not on my farm."
After first writing this blog, we found a ewe lying in mud close to the hay rack. She was cold and couldn't get up. We put her in a separate crate inside the shed and covered her with straw and added a heat lamp. The following day, we added a fleece 'horse' blanket (thanks to our neighbors when they moved off their horse farm) and a heating pad. With a syringe, Craig was able to get her to drink water, then he added black-strap molasses mixed with apple-cider vinegar which she enjoyed. Then she ate a little hay. Tomorrow they will try to get her to stand. While we never know what the future holds, we're glad we know Who holds the future.
Cornell Small Farms program has a $199 course in sheep production every Thursday 7--8:30 am from January 14--February 18. We wanted to enroll, listen and learn, but the price is a bit steep. We can learn from free You-Tubes. We want our sheep to safely graze.