Monday, June 1, 2009

The worst of days

Where to start? Willie is dead, one lamb is missing, and another lamb is badly injured. It seemed like the worst of days when Willie ran out in the road and was hit by a car. He broke both his front legs and sustained nerve damage. After three vets said his prognosis was poor, we decided it would be inhumane to make him suffer any longer, so we decided to put him down.

I tried to make myself feel better about the decision. There are a lot of shepherds out there who need to sell lambs, and I'll be able to buy one now. But it's just so hard to feel like you made the right decision when you end an animal's life. The vets all emphasized that healing from one broken leg would have been possible, but he would really needed one good leg to support himself while it healed. When they learned that he had no feeling in the broken legs, that pretty much ended the discussion for me. I don't know why I didn't realize it sooner. He never made a sound -- not one sound. Here was this ram unable to support his front half, and he never made a single noise. He would use his hind legs to propel his body forward on his chest, sometimes putting weight on his right knee briefly, as if that were normal.

I had run out of the house in mid-yogurt-making to deal with Willie, so after a couple hours of getting all of that sorted out, I discovered my milk on the stove and decided to finish making it. I had it all mixed up and in the yogurt maker when Jonathan came inside with a lamb in his arms, her head hanging down. "What?" It took a moment to click. "Oh, no, not again! Not two in one day! Please, no!"

We put the little black ewe on a towel in the bathtub. She was unable to suck, so I gave her 25 cc sub-q fluids. I can't believe I just received my order from Hoegger two days ago, and it included a bag of lactated ringers. I also gave her a shot of antibiotics. Her head looks dreadful. There is a lot of dried blood in her wool, so I can't see the injuries at all. I've been trying to clean it with peroxide and cotton balls, but it's slow going because I don't want to get peroxide in her eyes. My clippers can't get through the wool at all. About half an hour after I gave her the fluids, she stood up. Now, she has stood up several times, which is a vast improvement, since she was completely floppy when she was first brought into the house. I am remaining guarded but optimistic.

Once Mike gets home, I'm hoping to get her mother and put them in the barn together. I think it would be really good for her to be with her mother. At the moment, she is laying in my lap, because if I leave her in the bathtub, she stands up and starts walking in circles, banging into the sides of the tub and falling down. I guess I should be happy that she has some energy now, but she is a long way from being out of the woods.

And I just realized that I forgot to mention that her brother is missing. It would be great if someone could wake me up and tell me it was all just a bad dream.

14 comments:

Mary Lou said...

oh deborah--i am so sorry to hear about willie--was he the one that was walking around sunday when we were there--it is so hard to protect all our animals--you even worry when you go to bed at night hoping that when you get up in the morning everything will be ok--what a way to start the month out--with a day like that it can only get better---mary lou

Susan said...

I am so sorry to hear about your difficult day. My brother raises Boer goats and it is always so sad when he loses one. Good luck to your little lamb and I hope you find her brother soon and well.

Deborah said...

Yes, that was Willie on Sunday. He was usually off by himself.

Heather said...

I am so sorry! I am literally sitting here crying, wishing so badly I could find the perfect words to comfort you at this time. Oh it's so sad when we lose 1 animal but what tragedy all heaped on top of each other. I do hope you find the other lamb and the one that is injured gets well. You write so well, Deborah, I could imagine everything you were describing and that is why I am crying, so sad :(

Zarah said...

Oh no.. I am so soooo sorry for you!! Sending lots of good thoughts!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Oh dear, after all your bad news last year I was getting used to better news from your farm! Do you have any idea what happened to the lambs?

Nancy K. said...

Oh, what a Horrible day!!
Do you know what happened to the black ewe lamb? Was she also struck by a car? I hope you find her brother, safe and sound and that she recovers for you.

The month has GOT to get better...

Kara said...

Deb I am so sorry, I too was getting used to hearing better news lately from your farm, after all your terrible coyote trouble last year. I assume it was coyotes again with the lambs as your label said coyotes. You seem to have a very bold bunch with all the guardians you now have. Have you considered hiring someone to weed out the population a little, is that allowed in your area? I am thinking hunters with dogs?

Deborah said...

Sorry my details were not clearer. The little black ewe was attacked by coyotes. I am assuming her brother is gone at this point. The mama's udder was full last night. We think the little ewe had her head stuck through the fence to eat the grass on the other side, and the coyote grabbed her head. It is the only thing injured.

Annette said...

I am sad to hear about your ram and now the two babies. =/ Keep us posted!

Tammy said...

Good grief. What a horrible day. So the coyotes come up in the daytime too? I'm so sorry this has happened. I hope that the little ewe gets better, it sounds like you did everything that could be done.
Tammy

Valerie said...

Oh I'm so sorry, what an awful day :(

J. M. Storther said...

So sad. Not much else to be said, except I'm sorry. I've had animals struck and know how heart wrenching that is.
~jon

Juliann said...

Deborah, I'm so sorry about Willie and the lambs.

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