Wonder the ram was born into freedom under cedar trees, the first animal to be born on the sanctuary. Wonder and Charlotte didn’t manage the nursing, however, so I had to bottle-feed him, first with Charlotte’s expressed milk (to get all that great immune-building colostrum), then with a lamb formula, five times a day. It was wonder-ful. He was completely adorable, as you can see from his baby picture.
Now he is the largest of the flock and he also manages to get the dirtiest of any of them, but it all comes out in the wool-wash. Wonder is what is known as a wether (neutered male sheep). When shepherds put a bell on such a sheep, he is known as the bellwether, which has come to mean someone who takes the lead or initiative. In actuality, Wonder is a lamb and his mother and great-grandmother (Queenmere, the Queen mother) alternate taking the lead of the flock, with Chloe (Queenmere’s daughter, who is only about six months older than Wonder) and Wonder following.
Wonder is a sheep who bridges two worlds, though. Since he had two mothers, one a sheep and the other human, he displays certain distinctly nonsheep-like behavior, such as sometimes going off on his own and not sticking with the flock—a bit of an individualist. He still recognizes me as his second mother and has a special sound for me, a cross between a throaty growl or purr and a baaaa, different from his regular baa. I am happy to have been made an honorary member of the flock.
Sad news: Wonder died on May 15, 2009, nine days after his mother, Charlotte. There was nothing wrong with him. It seems he just couldn't bear to live without her.
For more about sheep, see about farm animals.
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© 2005, Stephanie Marohn, all rights reserved.