If I had a week like this as a beginning shepherd, I think I would have given up on sheep. What a week. Losing our first lamb was bad enough. Today, we lost one of my very favorite ewes (Deidra) to ketosis, or maybe hypocalcemia. In the 8 years of lambing, this is my first experience with it, and poor Deidra was the one to suffer from my lack of knowledge. I still have a lot to learn. Sue Reith has written some article on this, and I plan on studying them further.
She went out to graze with the flock yesterday, but lagged behind, and was first to come back to the barn. I noticed some spotting, and worried that maybe she was having a miscarriage. By evening, she was quite lethargic, and by that time I was figuring it out. I was up with her half the night, dosing her with Keto-Nia drench and dexamethazone. She was off feed and water. I spoke with my vet several times, and read everything I could on the subject. I followed the treatment in the Laura Lawson book "Managing your Ewe" (bible to most sheep owners) . My vet is ready and willing to help, but she is not an expert on ruminants, so I feel that I'm own my own most of the time. The ISBONA yahoo site is a great help and support, and I rely on it often. So, I was at the vet's this morning picking up more meds, and poor Deidra died while I was gone. It's shocking, how quickly it can happen. I loved that girl. She will really be missed.
On a happier note, Faye had a nice big ram lamb this evening. He's mostly white with spotting on his legs. More on that later.