Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Rough Week...

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.


Marie said...

I am so sorry to hear about Deidra. She was such a beautiful ewe. Since I am very new to sheparding I will also be reading up on both of these conditions. I hope the rest of the season is better for you.

tonya fedders said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your new lamb and your ewe. She was sure a beautiful gal.

Thank you for sharing - I had read about ketosis (but hadn't heard of the other) I wondered how common it was. I know now to have remedies on hand. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

So sorry about your girl. Raising sheep can be so hard sometimes. You read and read and discuss problems and it still feels like there is so much to learn. Know that you did all you could for her.