Raising livestock is a continuous cycle of birth and death. Hopefully, there’s a lot more of the former and very little of latter.
This week at the Lehman farm, we had a little of the latter. One of our sheep died. He was the only male in the herd, and a very happy one at that! During his short life, he fathered nine lambs. This is enough to make him a good investment. (Sheep farmers make their money from selling lambs. Shearing is merely something you do to keep the sheep healthy, since wool has almost no market value.) But, his return on investment does nothing to replace him in our hearts.
Unlike smart farmers (who use numbers), we name our livestock. This one was “Bo”, short for Rambo. Being a sheep, he was too dumb to come when called, but he knew enough to run to us when he heard the sound of the grain bin being opened. And, even if he wasn’t smart enough to know his name, he had a place in our hearts . . . that small but special place reserved for animals that are a little dim-witted and occasionally smell bad.
Why he died, we don’t know. Sheep are funny that way. Sometimes, they just seem to lose the will to live. One day, they are sitting when the rest of the herd are standing or lagging behind when the rest of the herd comes to the barn. The next day, they are either doing better or dead.