Meadville Tribune

Local News

March 29, 2014

Cochranton had a little lamb ...

COCHRANTON — Unlike Mary’s little lamb in the age-old nursery rhyme, Curly — a 2-week-old lamb — isn’t being laughed at by students nor banned to the courtyard by teachers at Cochranton Junior-Senior High School.

Instead, the students, faculty and other staff have embraced the animal and she is a huge hit at the school.

Curly is one of a set of twins born to a sheep owned by Cochranton Principal Don Wigton. When the lambs were born, the mother rejected them and refused to nurse them.

“She was a first-time mother,” Wigton said, explaining further that “it was a traumatic birth. I tried, but she wanted nothing to do with them.”

Curly is a mixed breed of Dorper and Kathadin. Her body is nearly all white, except for a few black spots; her face is nearly all black.

Recognizing that his schedule would prohibit him from giving the twins the proper care and attention they needed in their infancy, Wigton knew he had to come up with a plan to take care of the two. He called his sister, Susie Baker, who is a special-needs teacher at Cochranton, and inquired whether she and another special-needs teacher, Kim Snedeker, might be interested in caring for the lambs as a project in their classes.

“We had never done anything like this before,” Baker said.

“I’m a city girl,” said Snedeker, noting she had never had animals before.

But the pair agreed to take the lambs and see what they could do. They are both delighted with the results.

Curly is a female. Her twin, Moe, was a male who didn’t survive. Baker noted some concern was voiced about how students would deal with Moe’s passing. However, she noted, “We (Cochranton) are a farming community,” and they explained to students that death is part of life’s cycle.

Once the lambs joined the classroom, preparations were quickly made to take care of them. Snedeker and Baker feed Curly when they arrive in the morning around 7. Either they or the students then see that Curly gets her bottles at noon and 3 p.m. The nighttime custodian, Eleanor Kalinowski, volunteered to feed her during the supper time hour and again before she leaves at 11 p.m.

Students and teachers take care of cleaning up when Curly has an “accident.” Baker said the lamb signals with her tail sometimes just before she has to go to the bathroom. Sometimes, however, nobody sees the “signal” in time. Students or the teachers quickly grab a jar of antiseptic wipes and paper towels and clean up after their adopted pet when that occurs. Quick reactions eliminates any odors.

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