Sunday, December 9, 2012

It Takes a Village

Recently our herd has come together in ways that even I would never have imagined. It all started when Mouzza had her quads. The shepherdess thought that it would be better for Mouzza to only have to nurse two of the babies. So she politely asked Mouzza if she could care for two of the babies in the house and leave two of the babies with Mouzza? Mouzza was fine with this and it was decided that the shepherdess would take the two doelings into the house and leave the bucklings with Mouzza. In hindsight they should have switched this but who could have known at the time? All was going well with the arrangement until the bucklings, being bucklings, decided that they were starving all the time and Mouzza started getting thin. Well, to be honest she looked good in my opinion but the shepherdess worries too much and she started fretting about Mouzza. I think she was seeing more thinness than was really there. So the shepherdess asked Mouzza if she could take the bucklings into the house to live with their sisters and bring them back out in a couple weeks. Mouzza was not 100% sure about this arrangement but decided she would take a small break, but only if the shepherdess promised to take the utmost care of the babies. Well, we all know that is not an issue. The shepherdess rarely sleeps and making sure the babies were well cared for around the clock was not going to be an issue. She did say that the sleeping arrangement of the bucklings would be a bit different as they were used to the bunk bed method which she was not really prepared to continue. 
The original sleeping arrangement of the boys. Mouzza is a wonderful mama, very patient.
All went well for a couple days. Mouzza called out to the shepherdess from the pasture just a handful of times to make sure all was well with her babies but she didn't fret like some of the other mamas do. One of the bucklings found an alternate sleeping arrangement and was content with it.

"Look brother if you just curl up like this is it wonderful!"
On the third day away from his mama one of the bucklings decided that he was going to go on a hunger strike unless he was reunited with his mama. The shepherdess being a worrier started up the worrying even though the younger shepherdesses kept counseling her to be patient. For days she fretted about the tiny amounts of milk the buckling would eat and for days he held tight to his vigil. After a week of this the shepherdess decided to give in and let the buckling go back with Mouzza. Mouzza, however, had grown accustom to her freedom now and decided that the living arrangement suited her just fine. This made the shepherdess even more worried. Two more days went by with the bucking hardly touching the bottle. Cinna is also a worrier and she started worrying about the shepherdess. Then Cinna, being of great wisdom for such a young doe, suggested that, "Perhaps, it takes a village to raise a buckling." She decided to let the buckling nurse from her when she came into the milk room one night. Then several of the other does, including Mouzza, decided that they were fine with this arrangement too. So now  the shepherdess is no longer worried ... well, not about him at least. Thank you Cinna. 

Flip Flop helping the village.
Serengeti is not really comfortable with the nursing situation but is happy to share her grain.

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