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Wednesday, June 08 2016


My first clue that something was amiss was when everyone else filed in and Mariannie stood behind the hay barn staring at me. The Border Collie did a loop to pick her up but the large gray ewe tilted those impressive horns in the dog's direction and stamped a foot. Alrightie then. Houston, we have a problem.

There was clearly a reason why she felt she couldn't come into the barn with everyone else. I walked over there, half-expecting her to be snake-bit, but what I found surprised me even more. Mariannie was in labor.

Whoa.

I don't have a ram. My mind quickly reeled back to when I purchased this batch of sheep - November 20. Nope. She didn't come already bred. That's a shame, because if that had been the case at least the lamb might be a Navajo Churro or half Jacob. But since the gestation period on a sheep is 5 months, there could be only two suspects:

Cash - young Dorper ram who sired this year's crop of Dorper lambs. I had taken great care not to expose Cash to the Navajo Churro ewes because who wants a cross between a sheep known for its high quality wool and a sheep known to shed its wool?

Although I had no recollection of Cash getting loose with the churro, it's possible. Anything is possible if you have a ram.

The other possibility was more of a Jurassic Park adventure - Hermionie, the hermaphrodite ewe.

Yes, she/he has boy parts and girl parts.  Hermionie has a vagina, but she/he also has an easily visible scrotum that appears to be empty. I've been told by vets that Hermionie may have testicles in her abdomen. Alrightie then. Does she have a penis? As I stared at Mariannie lying in the sand behind the hay barn, I couldn't remember if we checked to see if Hermionie had a working penis because she/he clearly urinated from the other end.

Yes Folks, this is the kind of crap that you deal with if you have a farm. Life is beautiful. Life is cruel. Life is exciting. Life is a lot of things, but life is never boring.

So there you have it. Mariannie was clearly having someone's baby. We ushered everyone inside and moved the Livestock Guardian Dogs outside. Since things like this cannot be kept to yourself, I grouptexted my local churro sheep tribe. (If you didn't get a text don't feel offended, I hate group texts myself and try to limit their use. I only texted the folk who would have beaten me over the head with the phone had they not been real-time involved in this adventure.)  Anyway, a lambing stall was prepared, a ewe in labor was in it, and now all we had to do was wait. And wonder. Who was the daddy?

It was decided that since the black-headed Dorper trait is so dominant that if Cash was the father, some combination of that would probably show up. When considering the possibility of Hermionie as the sire there was much talk of the Jurassic Park Jeff Goldblum quote,

"Life will find a way."

Up until I discovered that Mariannie was pregnant it was my understanding that Hermionie 'identified' as a ewe and used the Ewe Bathroom. If Hermionie was the 'baby daddy' that would seriously complicate things because although I have nothing against them, and in fact, I really like Hermionie and want to keep her/him, I'm not in the business of breeding hermaphrodite sheep. If Hermionie was the father then I could no longer keep him/her with ewes, nor could I sell him to someone with ewes. Or even with a ram, because for sure she/he has working girl parts. I'm not sure if she/he can get pregnant but it isn't a chance I want to take.

And as my 'tribe' pointed out on group text, what if Mariannie wasn't the only ewe pregnant? Gotta love friends who will point out the worst possible scenario in the middle of a crisis. I decided to cross that bridge when I came to it. You can only handle one situation at a time, and the crisis at the moment was prayers for a healthy birth. I didn't care who the daddy was as long as Mariannie and the baby/babies were okay.

Three and a half hours after I first noticed her in labor, Mariannie delivered a vigorous baby girl. As a nod to our "who's ya daddy" mystery, I named her Jerri Springer.

(For those of you who live a full life and have no clue who he is, Jerry Springer is a television host of a somewhat sleazy talk show that often deals with "who's the daddy' paternity tests.)

Jerri is solid black. This gave no clues as to who was her daddy. There was only one thing left to do. Just minutes before midnight, Other Half and I stood in the barn and argued about it. I won, so we awoke and sexually assaulted poor Hermionie to determine if she/he actually had an external penis. I can now report -

drum roll please . . .

 . . . that she/he does not.

Therefor it is physically impossible for Hermionie to be Mariannie's baby daddy!

Which leaves the equally undesirable option that little Jerri is a Navajo Churro/Dorper cross. Oh joy joy.

Oh well. Jerri is healthy, Hermionie is healthy, and Cash now lives on another farm miles down the road so there will be no encore performance. Cash had a soft plushy coat so there is no telling how Jerri will end up. I need another pet sheep like I need another hole in the head, but I also believe that God doesn't make mistakes. Somehow Jerri ended up with us and so be it. She's a cute little thing.

Hopefully Hermionie will soon forgive us for the midnight home invasion and assault.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 08:43 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Comments:
Oh my! You do live an interesting life! Hopefully there will be no more unplanned pregnancies at your house. Life sure is funny.
Posted by Patty on 06/08/2016 - 12:28 PM
What a little beauty. Love the colour is it as black as the pic indicates? That black gene is very strong. The story reminded me of the 50's-60's unmarried mother saga. Great read as usual.
Posted by Liz {Vic, Aust.} on 06/08/2016 - 07:34 PM
https://www.flickr.com/photos/47815791@N02/20605403723/in/album-72157657194632020/ Caught in the "act." How my ram attempted it.
Posted by C Baker on 06/10/2016 - 06:31 PM
Oh my!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 07/05/2016 - 02:03 PM

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