Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lamb rescue

 This little lamb was out with the flock, but apparently was napping in the long grass when I moved the flock away.  It could hear the flock and pretty much decided that a straight line is the best way to get back to mom, but that straight line took it straight into the manure lagoon. 

At this time of year there's a crust over part of the lagoon that looks like cracked mud.  It's not solid, and what's underneath won't support a lamb, but if you take a running start at it you can get out 20 to 25 feet before you drop below the surface, which is what this lamb did. 

I heard the lamb calling, and walked over to find it shoulder-deep in the manure; as it struggled it worked itself slowly down into the liquid.  I've done a lot of whitewater rafting, and a lot of water rescue, and what ran through my head was the mantra that I was taught for rescue:  Reach, Throw, Row, Go, Helo...  I couldn't reach the lamb from the bank.  I did locate some electric fence wire and clipped it off, but i couldn't get it far enough out or lasso the lambs head.  It was struggling and singling as I did this.  Reach was out.  Throw was out.  Row -- I don't have a boat here.  I could use a board for floatation...  floatation...  so I ran over to the barn where my rafting equipment is stored and pulled out my whitewater life jacket.  Strapped it on, and took off my boots, and swimming out to this lamb was as gross as you can imagine. 

The lifejacket adds another 50lbs of floatation, which meant that I could grab the lamb and lift it out of the mud, and toss it a few feet towards shore, and then do a sort of breast stroke to move myself, and then repeat.  The stuff has the consistency of porridge, but it's heavier than just water, which meant that I really didn't have much trouble keeping myself flat on the surface and keep my head out of the soup. 
 I got the lamb out, and then myself, and then started looking for the nearest hose.  I stripped myself in the garden and hosed off my clothes self, and I sure hope that lamb tastes good this fall. 
I could probably have gotten the lamb without the lifejacket, but I wasn't sure what the consistency would be out there, or how difficult it would be to move, and the jacket provided me with the ability to stay on the surface and a margin of safety. 

I think that lagoon needs a better perimeter fence, though.  I don't want to have to take another dip. 


Funder said...

Wow, well done. You didn't hose off Lil Stinky too?

Bruce King said...

Everyone got hosed off. And then scrubbed and hosed again.

David said...

Better safe than sorry with the life jacket. That manure may have turned out like quicksand and pulled you under. What a miserable way to go if that were to happen. Your family would think of you every time they would see or smell the manure lagoon! ;-)