Sunday, April 30, 2017


It is frustrating when a sheep dies, especially a mature one. It is frustrating when you don't know why it dies. It is frustrating when it dies quickly, but has symptoms long enough to give you hope, then make you second guess what you did.

I am frustrated that I lost a ewe today.  I do not know why she died. Two days ago, I noticed she was sitting with her lambs away from the rest of the flock. She looked a little off. She didn't eat that night, so I started treating her. Her only symptom was off-feed.

By the next morning, she still wasn't eating and was very lethargic, no longer nursing her lambs. I penned her with another ewe and continued treatment. She worsened overnight. She continued to decline throughout the day and was dead approximately 48 hours after I first noticed her.

48 hours before her death

I'm also sad. 480 was a good ewe. She was only 3 years old. I had nicknamed her "Aeroflot." She had big and level ears, like an airplane. Aeroflot (Аэрофлот) is the Russian national airlines. She was a crossbred ewe, out of one of my Katahdin Mules (337). She was 79% Katahdin x 12.5% Hampshire/Suffolk x 8.5% Dorper.

I really hated to lose this ewe. 480 raised a nice set of twin lambs as a yearling. She gave birth to triplets as a 2 year old, but one was born dead. This year, she was raising her third set of twins. They were sired by Eddie. Her lambs are ~40 days old and should be okay without their mom. 480 was a good mom. A good ewe with a great disposition. Never a problem.

With her lambs last year

It's often said, "Where there are livestock, there are deadstock."  Death is a part of raising animals. But it doesn't mean I have to like it. I didn't like it today, especially with this ewe. Sometimes, I wonder why I raise livestock. There is too much heartache (sometimes).

RIP 480 (Aeroflot).

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