9th January 2007
We all know that maternal bonds transcend species and there can be no greater love than when a mother saves the life of her baby. Grab the tissues and read what Mummy did.
Mummy’s story is truly amazing as is this adorably determined little Southdown cross ewe. While most tales of our rescued residents involve some human intervention to secure a happy end here at Edgar’s Mission, Mummy determined to not only cut out the middleman but also a trip to the abattoir.
The first Southdown sheep arrived in Australia in 1793, imported by the Rev. Samuel Marsden and today they are used to cross with other breeds to produce what is known as prime lambs. A prime lamb is a sheep in the first year of its life that will be killed for its meat. Around 7.5 million sheep and 19 million lambs are killed each year in Australia, Mummy and her baby were meant to be in that number but no one told Mummy this (or did they?).
One day as we were busily going about our regular farm duties here at the sanctuary we saw a ewe and her lamb standing just outside the front gate peering in. Ever so careful were our movements as we made our way to the gate to do the friendly country folk thing of letting your visitor in. Almost audible was Mummy’s plea as she looked us directly in the eye as if to say “please do you have any room at the inn for me and my child?” and so Mummy with her bub dutifully trotting beside her had found their nirvana, and then they were off! Positively ‘feral’ was Mummy once inside the gate, she wanted nothing to do with us. By some divine intervention and much puffing and panting on our behalf we managed to get Mummy and Bubby secured into one of the quarantine yards. Here she would stay for a couple of weeks in which time she decided that we really were the good guys after all. No doubt this decision was hastened by Mummy’s quick addiction to wheetbix and proving sheep are smart Mummy was equally quick to learn that walking up to humans, looking them in the eye and baaing will elicit the wheaty treat!
Mummy’s arrival at Edgar’s Mission was to prove extremely fortuitous for her and her baby. We tracked her previous ‘owner’ down by the tag in her ear, a deal was struck, and then Mummy and Bubby were officially ‘ours’. No longer would she be a statistic or simply be known by her ear tag as here at Edgar’s Mission she can freely express her unique individuality. And most unique is Mummy, her rotund figure and now friendly nature along with her love of wheetbix make her a firm favorite amongst visitors. The farmer’s passing quip that Mummy and her baby would have gone to slaughter along with his other sheep some days earlier still makes us shudder at the thought of what might have been!