8th January 2009
I’m not sure how I came to be in such a sorry state but I was found by the side of the road by some very kind Good Samaritans. Up until that point in my life things had just gone from bad to worse. The countryside was ravaged by drought, little feed had really made things tough for a recently shorn baby merino lamb like me. I wasn’t faring too well, having also recently been stuck in the bog of a dam. The legacy of this was mud stuck all over my chest, under belly and back legs. I had also been fly-struck on my rear end. My tail had been docked some time earlier and the little stump that remained still hurt a lot. A very tight rubber band had been put on my tail. It was so tight it cut off the blood supply which eventually caused my tail to fall off! I remember seeing this being done to all my buddies, we cried out for help and we fell to the ground in intense pain.
The sun had burnt my nose and had caused it to scab, doing the same to my ears. One of my ears has a big chunk of flesh missing. I recall this happening when the shearer, who was in a hurry, accidentally cut me. I wriggled in pain and he cursed at me. And just when you didn’t think things could get any worse for me I caught pneumonia! I am so thankful I was rescued and brought to this wonderful place called Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary. Here I have met several other little lambs, who all have a story to tell.
I have learnt many things here, like wheetbix are yummy treats and pigs are funny animals who like to lounge about in their wallow. Oh and I have learnt something so wonderful, and that is not all humans treat sheep badly. Some humans really do love and care for us. I wish all sheep could be as lucky as me. Perhaps you can help us all by making animal friendly decisions in your life.
Sheep are what is known as a “prey animal”, nature has not equipped them with means to fight, so when faced with danger a sheep will flee their attacker (predator). Never walking in a straight line means a sheep can eye their rear with one eye at a time. An excellent peripheral vision means sheep can see behind themselves without turning their heads. However this wider field of vision may have come at the cost of vertical (upright) vision and they cannot see immediately in front of their noses. Aided by an excellent sense of smell and this wide angle of vision sheep are able to quickly detect predators. This keen sense of smell proves very useful for them, with rams able to locate ewes in heat and ewes able to locate their lambs. Sheep also use their sense of smell to locate water and determine differences between feeds and pasture.
Hard wired not to show pain people often mistakenly think sheep don’t feel pain; the result of this are the many routine procedures carried out on them that we would never consider performing on our domestic pets. However it is for good reason they do not outwardly show pain, to do otherwise would make them more vulnerable to predators that look for those who are weak and injured and sadly when a sheep has become so ill that it cannot flee it is oft times too late for help.