Keeping Sheep in Ohio

Ohio has many rural areas in which folks practice farming on a small scale, more for enjoyment than for profit. In addition to being able to harvest your own vegetables is the dream of some, a small farm will often have space for some animals. For those so inclined, keeping a small flock of sheep can provide satisfaction in various ways. It also can bring a mixture of both joy and sadness.

The Birth and Death of a Lamb

While I was visiting my brother’s farm in March, two new lambs were born on a cold morning.  My niece, who had gone out to tend to the farm animals, discovered them right after they had been born.  We allowed some time for the mother to be alone and bond, then went out for a look.

The lambs were lovely, but they had not been born at a lucky time.  The temperature had dropped the day before and the air had a sharp bite.  As we approached the barn, a lamb that had been born several weeks earlier during mild weather was frisking about, kept warm by her new growth of wool.  The new lambs, however, looked very cold, and one of them looked distressingly fragile.

Work commenced immediately to help these cold little lambs.  Extra straw was placed in their stall.  Warmed water and enriched food were provided for the mother.  The lambs were bottle-fed a supplement.  Additional heat lamps were installed and other animals brought into the barn to generate additional warmth.  Even so, one lamb did not make it.

The picture you see here was taken during that morning visit to the barn, when the lambs were no more than a few hours old.  The one you see here is the lamb that lived.