Monday, July 18, 2011

Life is a circle

Abby was the first lamb ever born on our property, so she is special.  She was born on the top of the hill to my first Shetland ewe.  The past two years I had made the decision to NOT breed her any longer, but last year Bug had ideas of his own, she had a lamb this spring, which is the sweetest ewe lamb we've ever had on our place.  So much so that she's become the official greeter to everyone that visits.  Abby was never an overly friendly sheep, and she certainly wasn't my ideal Shetland, but you could never fault her mothering ability, she was 100% dedicated to her lambs, and she had a special place in my heart because of it.  
Now I get to the not so nice part of this story...........
We came home last Sunday afternoon, and Abby appeared to be staggering, we quickly caught her and put her in a pen under a shade tree and I got electrolytes into her.  She had a good appetite, no fever, no signs of distress except for the inability to keep her balance, so we left her with some good hay, a few supplements and checked on her in about an hour, no improvement, so more electrolytes.   Over the next few days, she showed no improvement, one person suggested that she might have had a stroke, which made sense, another person suggested that meningeal worms may be the problem, so I dosed her with Ivemec.  No improvement.   
Time to call the vet....she was examined and it was determined that the issue was quite possibly a stroke.  Everything thing about her was normal, no temp, no sign of worms, good appetite, just instability on one side. I made the tough decision along with my vet's recommendation and had her put down.... with her head in my lap, she slipped away peacefully.  As much as I hated the thought of it, I had the vet do a necropsy and will have the results in about a week.  It's important to me that I know why I lose a sheep, it's important to my flock and all the people that ever buy any sheep from me.  Time and again I see Shetland breeders making decisions that are not fun, because they feel a sense of responsibility to other breeders and their own sheep.  It warms my heart to see how much care and integrity I see in the Shetland sheep community.  

Being a pet and livestock owner comes with a responsibility, and it's a responsibility that I take very seriously.    I believe you should treat all living things with respect and kindness and do the right thing when the time comes to end their suffering.  
Abby will forever rest on the top of the hill where she was born.  Her 2011 lamb, Alabama, will continue to put smiles on the faces of our visitors, and mine as well.  I guess she was accidentally given to me so that I could be reminded of why I fell in love with Shetland sheep.  
Abby had the longest fleece of any sheep I've ever owned.....she also had the most wool on her poll and cheeks of any sheep I've ever owned.  I love wooly cheeks.....
This is a picture of her as a 2 yr old.


  1. I'm so sorry, Kelly. I had Inky sheared today; my shearer was kind and did the old girl standing, and I trimmed her up with the scissors. I know this is the last fleece I'll get from her, still black as coal at 10 years of age. But she is so thin and "stove up" with arthritis....

  2. Y'all are going to make me cry. I hate losing my animals, esp when it's the dear old ones. I lost one of my first shetland ewes first part of this year. She was an unregistered one I first had. I still have her daughter Snowflake though.

  3. I am so sorry about Abby.

  4. Sorry for your loss Kelly, thank you for sharing your story in such a touching way.

  5. Michelle-how wonderful that you have a shearer with such a good heart. Thank you for your kind words.
    Voni-I am sorry, I sure didn't want to make you cry, only wanted to share with my sheepy friends, I knew you guys would understand.
    Corinne-thank you my dear friend, for the words and the hug.
    Jen-thank you for your words of comfort, I wanted to be respectful to Abby in my post...thought I'd like to mark her passing in some way.

  6. im sorry kelly :'( i know how hard it is! i lost my first/favorite ewe today.

  7. Sorry Mac.....wish we didn't have to lose them at all.

  8. A Sheep Farmer's Prayer

    Heaven won't be so lonely
    If what I hope is true
    If a little lamb is there
    Or some old friendly ewe
    In those celestial pastures
    Beside still waters deep
    May the eternal future find me
    With a little band of sheep

    I'm so sorry, Kelly! This poem is called "The Sheep Farmer's Prayer" I hope it brings some comfort!

  9. Lorraine,
    As usual, you are a comfort....thank you my dear cyber friend.
    I just couldn't let her endure the heat this week, it was asking too much of her.


He who angers you, controls you.

And my favorite.......You can't control what others say or do, but you can control your reaction.

Mike and I

Mike and I
Mike and I at Nick and Emily's wedding

Raised beds & chickens coops

Raised beds & chickens coops
Can't wait for this stuff to actually be food....