Monday, October 01, 2007

With Life on the Farm comes...

...yes, Death. Sometimes by design, sometimes not. In this case, it was not.

EverRanch Silver 4/3/07 - 9/29/07
EverRanch Silver was one of our Gotland/Finn ewe lambs. She was the least friendly of the Gotland lambs, with perhaps the nicest fleece. She had been plagued with an on again, off again cough for several weeks. We'd been systematically treating it with different medications, trying to find the key, and never quite eliminating it. During all this, Silver appeared relatively healthy, with a good appetite, decent weight, good color, good pellets, normal temperature, and plenty of spunk.
Yesterday, she didn't come up for "dinner". We found her under the big maple tree, already stiff and cold. Awwwwwwww......
I know I should have done a post-exam on her, but I just couldn't steel myself to the task. Was it parasites??? Did our alpaca gelding smother her??? Was it toxic plants??? How could we have prevented her death???? I like happy ending stories. This one was not happy. It ended with me shearing the gorgeous fleece off her cold, stiff body. I'm not sure why - just to get some return? That sounds pretty cold-hearted. I don't think I can spin her fleece, beautiful as it is. I'd always think of that poor stiff little body that I somehow failed.
Rest in peace, Silver.
- Franna


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I am so sorry to hear about Silver; what a shame to lose such a beautiful girl in your Gotland upbreeding program! I don't think it's heartless to shear her, I think it would be a shame to bury her fleece with her. Then there is nothing left of her short life, full of promise. I hope you can bring yourself to spin it sometime. And I hope no one else comes down with a cough -- that would be a very scary sound now!

Kathy L. said...

I, too, am so very sorry to hear about Silver, Franna. This is the hard part of shepherding, for sure.
Sometimes we lose them no matter what we do.
I'll keep you in my thoughts today.

Tina T-P said...

Oh, Franna - I'm so sorry about Silver - it is never easy to lose an animal even if it wasn't one you weren't particularly close to -we still feel a responsibility to our little friends. You'll find a time when it is OK to finally do something with her fleece, and it will be a special memory of her. T.

Franna said...

Thanks, you guys. Maybe I'll be able to enjoy Silver's fleece after a while. I spun a small sample. It is very soft and a beautiful blue-grey; exactly what we're breeding for.

Michelle, you're right. I'm never going to hear a coughing sheep again without worrying.

- Franna

shepherdchik said...

So sorry Franna. I know what you mean about the fleece. I once plucked fiber from an angora bunny that had died on me but I ended up throwing it away because I decided it would not be fun to spin. Oh well.