Last night was a long one at our farm. Just about 9:00 last night I found a ewe with a lamb out in the pen. Come to find out she had a set of twins. One was already dead and the other was very cold. We spent the next three hours working to save the surviving twin.
We brought him in the house were we dried him off and put him in a bathtub full of hot water. His core temperature had dropped to 97 degrees and lambs need a core temperature of 102 to 103. So for the next two hours we dried, rubbed and fed him until his core temperature had reached an acceptable level.
We then took him out to his mother and spent another hour making sure he had nursed her and didn't get too cold. Then in the middle of the night I got up and went out and made sure he was OK, watching him for a half an hour. My alarm went off at 5:30 and I got up and went out and checked him then too.
The lamb appears to be just fine and should make it. For that I am grateful, but all day my thoughts kept going back to the lamb we lost. I wondered what I could have done different and what I had missed. I would guess I am similar to many farmers and ranchers that I agonize over every animal I lose.
Often those of us who make our living in agriculture are portrayed as people who view livestock as objects, but that is not true. Even though I know the animals I raise will ultimately become food, that doesn't mean I do not care for them while they are in my care.
I will spend the time it requires, in any weather, at any time of the day to care for my animals. My commitment is to provide them the best care possible, with as little discomfort and at the lowest possible stress level while they are with me. That is why I agonize over each animal I care for.