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Obituary: Baby 2013-2023

I didnt think i would be writing another message so soon after my previous loss but with a heavy heart it is the end of an era as regrettfully I have had to let my Baby go. I had hoped to write a "meet the family" blog about her but here instead is her obituary:

When I moved here in 2012 I brought 2 sheep and 2 goats with me. One of my sheep, Raphael, had suffered urolitholiasis as a yearling and was saved by surgery at the Royal Vet College, but it left him with the risk of it reoccuring and being inoperable.

Sadly that came true the following year, one cold March while we were all living in temporary accomoodation. I couldnt let Raphs suffer any longer, but his passing left Munchkin- his field mate all alone. Munchkin had a bit of a love hate relationship with the Golden Guernsey Goats and she was lost without her friend. So it occured to me i would look out for orphan lambs to take in- as i had helped rear some the previous year around this time.

One night i was cycling back from the Lighthouse Visitor Centre, where i worked part time, and my torch hit something white in a pund. On inspection it was a wee white lamb- far too small to be on its own, but there was not a sheep in sight anywhere! I concluded either its mom had died or it had got separated and i didnt know back then if it was possible for them to get reunited. I couldnt leave her, so i dumped the bike and carried her the 2 miles back to my tent.

With supplies from a kind neighbour i began teaching her to take a bottle. It was no easy task- she evidently preferred her mothers milk and treated me like a predator not a surrogate mom. Then one day she became aware of Munchkin and ran up t0 her, when i offered her the bottle- she drank! After that as long as Munchkin was around "Baby" would happily drinkg from a bottle.

Munchkin was delighted to have a friend again and they remained field mates for the rest of Munchkins life- despite new lambs joining over the years.

So Baby became the first member of my Forever Flock of North Ronaldsay Sheep, and for the first few months lived in the tent with me (she was so small i was afraid she would squeeze through the sheep netting!) Throughout her life she always retained a degree of wildness and was not a sheep i could just walk up to and hug, but if I sat down she would come and request a neck rub.

In those early months she managed to break one of her horns off- so much blood! But as her horns had not finished growing in adulthood she ended up with one horn shorter than the other. That and her distinct baah made her easy to make out from the rest of the flock.

I hope i gave her a happy life= it is never long enough, we always imagine we can make them live forever, sadly record breaking life spans are very rare.

She will be missed greatly- she has had such an influence on the family here, and started my love affair with North Ronaldsay Sheep, she taught me so much.

Rest in Peace my beloved Baby.

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