A Mother’s Grief

Two tiny babes arrived last week.  Their mother, like all mothers, immediately protective.  Nervously nuzzling first one and then the other.  Squatting to let them nurse.  Instinctively knowing what to do.

RealRancher Carla Crofts shares the sadness a mother ewe feels when she loses one of her baby lambs.

One baby is a little larger and very healthy.   He is already trying to buck and play.

The second is small and fragile.  She struggles to find the nipple when nursing, tires after suckling just a few seconds. The second day it is obvious she is not doing well.  Her mother continually nuzzles her, talks to her.  These are her first babies and she is overwhelmed.  One wants to play and explore this new world, the other is lying quietly-barely moving. If she makes it through the night she has a chance.

Day three brings renewed hope, she has been able to eat enough to fill her tummy.

Wait.  She is not feeling well – she stretches to ease the pain in her tiny stomach.  Can we give her anything to help?  It is a slim chance, but all we can do.  And then it is over.  This tiny life has ended.

The next day we leave the mother and her surviving baby in the same barn so she will figure out the second baby is gone.  That evening we put her with the other ewes and lambs.  In the morning we let them out to graze.  All day we can hear the mother calling for her babe – not the one nursing, the one that has died.  Her pain is evident in her plaintive cry.  When we let them in for the night she runs back to where she last saw her baby.  Her head hangs in grief.

I don’t think there is a way to measure a mother’s grief – no matter if we are two legged or four legged.

From RealRancher Carla Crofts – Sweetwater, Wyo.

Published by RealRanchers.com

RealRanchers.com is a visit to the day-to-day lives of America’s original animal welfare advocates and environmentalists.

4 thoughts on “A Mother’s Grief

  1. Very true story. We had a heifer calve, and we lost the calf after several days. The mother was unable to stand on her own and after a week of being without the calf, she gave up herself and we had to put her down.

  2. So sad. But, I have seen that time and time again. And your right, there is no way to tell the level of pain and grief from one mother to another. The loss of a child-I can not imagine. But, I know that I have grieved with mother’s that have lost a child weather two or four legged creatures of God. But, I do know that with time, that grief gets less and less but, never forgotten.

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