The gentle shepherd of County Road
Nevada Appeal News Service
MINDEN – At age 92, when most people might welcome a full night’s sleep, Aldo Biaggi is up at 12 a.m., two bottles in hand, making his way to a sheep pen where two week-old bummer lambs await their midnight snack.
It’s a ritual he repeats five times a day since the lambs – two of quadruplets – were born Feb. 1.
“I went out to the barn about 5:30 a.m. that morning and there were three lambs, and I thought, ‘Well, that’s it.’ I went back out at 7 a.m. and there were four,” he said.
The scrawny male and female lambs were rejected by their mother, only known as “No. 17,” in favor of their hardier brother and sister.
“It’s very unusual to have quadruplets and have them all survive. It’s only happened to me once before,” he said. “I left them with their mother for about two days, then I pulled them out.”
Biaggi has been raising sheep on his two-acre parcel near the west end of County Road for 52 years. He also raises rabbits.
His rural refuge is within the sight of the new Holiday Inn Express and backs up to high-end condominiums that front on Highway 395.
“Every once in a while somebody will come over from the condos and say how much they enjoy them,” Biaggi said.
The lambs are thriving under the care of their surrogate parent and make quick work of the bottles of milk supplement Biaggi feeds them.
He said they probably doubled in size within 10 days and each weighs about 8 pounds. They will never catch up to their siblings but should be within 10 pounds of each other when it’s time to be sold in September at their weight of 110 pounds.
They spend a little time each day with their mother and siblings, but she is quick to nose them out.
“She doesn’t want them,” he said, gently lifting the two lambs out of their mother’s pen.
Once on the ground, they get tangled up in his feet attaching themselves to him as if their coats were Velcro instead of lambs wool.
Biaggi said he doesn’t mind the routine.
“I’ll probably bottle feed them until April 1 or so, then they’re on their own. It’s no problem. It hasn’t been cold. If it had been 15-below, I probably wouldn’t have liked that,” Biaggi said.
“I always wake up on time. I’ve never had an alarm clock, ever. I don’t need one.”