Archive for the ‘Shaun’ Category

An Update…

Thank you all so much for your supportive and helpful comments on the recent mauling incident here. I wanted to give you a quick update on the boys:

So far, everyone is healing slowly but continually. There are a few puncture wounds I am keeping a very close eye on. Most wounds are healing…or at least the physical wounds are healing. I’m not sure if the boys minds will ever heal mentally from this attack.

Sven’s eye is making good progress. I thought at first he had lost the whole eye, but upon closer inspection by the vet, it was the upper lid itself that was damaged. I have ointment to place in the eye a few times a day. At first Sven, well…all the boys really, did not fight my fussing over them. They stood patiently while I bathed wounds and dressed them, or wrapped hot, moist towels around sore legs with puncture wounds. Now, they try to run or refuse to stand for my efforts. This is a good sign. They are healing and feeling better.

It’s as if they are saying, “It’s OK , Mom. We’re feeling much better. You can go now.” I’ve been dismissed. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, I will still watch them very closely. And next week they are due for a second Draxxin injection to be on the safe side. But I can tell it’s time for me to let them be and heal on their own for the most part.

…and I am so very grateful this did not happen during fly season.

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This past Monday, as my DH was off for the holdiay, we decided to have a late lunch in town as well as pick up a needed part for the ’53 Merc he’s working on. We left the wethers and Loki in the pasture area that had been cleared of snow, eating breakfast, and the girls had the run of the area around the barn. Both groups had plenty of hay to nibble on to keep them happy.

But when we came home, we were not prepared for what was going on down towards the barn. Two loose dogs had walked across the fencingย  on the property line we share with the county, on top of the snow, and were attacking the sheep!

I flew down towards the barn to find the boys standing between the dogs and the ewes. Somehow the gate to the corral at the barn was open and they were keeping the dogs from even getting close to the girls. But the price the dogs were extracting from the boys was terrifying.

The first thing was to get the dogs away from the sheep. The larger dog was a black and tan medium dog of maybe 40-45 lbs. That dog saw me and stopped his attack. The smaller dog which looked to me like a cross between a terrier of some sort and some kind of bulldog was still attacking poor Shaun who was struggling, brought down in the mud and melting snow. I had to pull the smaller dog off Shaun, then chased them out the gate to a now waiting husband.

We were lucky in that both dogs had collars with tags and owner’s phone number. Ralph took control of the dogs and calling the owner and 911 while I got the sheep penned inside the barn and started to assess the damages. I ran to the house after penning all the sheep and called our sheeps’ vet, Dr. Rob to come on an emergency. I grabbed B-vitamins, ProBios, towels and some warm water and went straight back the barn to do what I could until Rob got there.

Loki had very little damage – a couple of facial wounds where it looked like one of the dogs might have tried to get him, as well as a superficial gash on one leg. He was the least hurt of all the sheep.

Sven had all the wool from the back of his head and a shoulder torn out by the roots. His ears were both torn but the worst for him was a bite to his right eye. At first I thought the dog had taken his eye completely, but when Rob examined him, he found it to be the lid that was very damaged. We’ll know more when the swelling subsides.

My buddy and rock, Colin, had quite a bit of the wool on his hindquarters torn out and had gashes and puncture wounds to his back legs. He was/is limping as his right hock was nailed pretty well. He, too, had the ears torn a bit and a gash above an eye.

The worst one was Shaun. His wool from the middle of his back to and including his tail was ripped out and he sustained many, many gashes to his haunches. His skin is just raw from all the wool being torn out. Some of the wounds had mud in them from his being downed by the dogs. We got most of the dirt out of the wounds, but Dr. Rob felt it would take time for the body to push the remaining dirt out. It was too deep and would have caused Shaun even more pain to scrub them out.

Both Shaun and Colin were in shock by the time the vet got there.

Had we not gotten home when we did, I’m sure we would have found one or more of the sheep dead, or at the least, way more torn up. I’m certain Shaun would have been dead if I hadn’t gotten to him when I did. Every day since I have been treating each sheep. At first we did massive supportive care with injections of B-vitamins and dosing each with ProBios to support their rumens and keep them from shutting down. Injections of banamine for pain and Draxxin for it’s awesome antibiotic support were given as well.

Right now, the boys have improved to the point of not requiring the banamine but will get another Draxxin injection 14 days after the first one. Draxxin is wonderful and the fact that it works for fourteen days just means less stress for the boys – and me. I still have to watch for wool falling off the sheep due to stress as well as to keep observing the pregnant ewes for signs of stress or abortion of their lambs. I may not know all the answers until April when the girls are due top lamb.

We’re not out of the woods yet, by any means, but I’m hoping that with good supportive care the boys’ bodies will heal. Their mental wounds may not heal so easily. Every time I look into their faces I remember the terror I saw in Shaun’s eyes as I pulled the vicious dog off of him. My mind knows I did all I could for them and there was virtually no way I could have kept loose dogs, walking on top of the 4+ ft. of snow at the fence along the swampy are of the pasture, from walking over the top of the fence onto our property – but my heart is torn over seeing the boys in pain and hurt,…and terrorized. And I am so angry at loose dogs and their owners.

The owner was cited by our animal control officer. On March 8th, he will have to appear in court to please guilty or not guilty. Here in Arizona, the law is on the side of the livestock owner. I really can’t say too much here, for the reason that this will all be decided through the courts. But, I can say that I am so glad we caught the dogs and they had collars with tags on which were active phone and contact information.

The boys are heroes in my eyes. They put themselves between those dogs and the ewes. And I thank God these are Shetlands – sweet, gentle, tough-as-nails Shetlands. And a part of me hopes they gave as good as they got.

This attack did something else as well. No loose dog will be tolerated on this property any longer…ever.

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Before we had the big snow this past weekend, I had tried out the new camera a bit. Here are this year three little boys, aka “The Do-Da Brothers” during their breakfast time. I shudder every time I give them something to eat as they feel they must wear said meal on or about themselves, then be cleaned off of the offending tasty bits by a sibling later in the morning. I can only imagine these bits of hay are being saved as a snack for later in the morning.

It’s not just the boys, either. I’ve noticed this tendency in other groups. The funny thing is that by the time I go out to feed in the evening, all these bits of dried green vegetable matter have disappeared. Gone. Totally gone. Then I get the big doe-eyed look from everyone as if I never feed them and they are starving.

I guess it’s a good thing I don’t listen to them pleading….They lie, they lie. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Getting Ready

It’s that time of year, isn’t it? It’s time here to put the garden to bed now that we’ve had killing frosts almost every night…time to watch the aspen leaves turning first gold, then brown, then flutter by in the breeze in order to make room for next year’s leaves. So, too, it’s time on the farm to see who stays, and who goes on to other herds of sheep.

Above are the three ram lambs who are now ready to go on to flocks of their own. Well, all except Shaun who won’t be for sale for a while. But Sheep Thrills Sven and Sheep Thrills Ole are more than ready to go! Yesterday when I was working around the barn I was witness to the game of “Head Butting” between the ram lambs. I don’t know if it was the wind yesterday or the chage of weather in the air, or just boys being boys. Shaun would back up and run full throttle towards Sven, who was doing the same thing on the opposite side of their pen. They met in the middle with a thonk! that shook the ground and gave me a headache just watching them. This went on for a bit until Sven, who by now was a wee bit unsteady on his legs, backed off and let Shaun win for this day. I had dreams last night of finding Sven prostrate on the ground dead. Thank heavens it was only a dream.

Apparently this demonstration of ramliness did not go unnoticed from their sire. Skit was rather upset with Shaun and the intensity of his attack against his half-brothers as he would bang his head on their pen fencing in what I could only attribute as anger at the roughness in the boys demeaner. I stood there, just thinking to myself but saying to no one in particular, “Too much testosterone.”
Sheep Thrills Ole

Part of being any sort of livestock producer is that you have to let animals go…for what ever reason it may be. Whether it be new homes for breeding purposes, or off somewhere to eventually feed someone, it’s a fact of life on a farm you have to steel yourself for. You can’t keep them all. And some of them should not be allowed to pass on their genetics. Whatever the reason, as a breeder of any type of farm animal there comes a time when reality creeps into things and the decision is made to let some of your charges go on. And so it is here. I will do my best to find good homes for the boys. That’s part of the job. And sometimes I just tell myself

if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

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This morning when I got up, I took a glance at the Sheep-O-Vision screen to see what was going on out in the barn. I was hoping for more than the two ewes, but no…it was just the two girls in their pen. Then something caught my eye. Not a lamb, but the way Lacey was treating Amanda – almost as if Lacey was defending a corner of the space they shared. Lacey was butting heads with Amanda. This was new…but also, it was a sign of things to come.
I got dressed and went down to feed a bit early just to see what all the hub-bub was about. By the time I reached the barn and peeked in at the girls Lacey was frantically trying to dig to China. Hmmm. Defending her territory AND making a nest. These were sure signs Lacey was beginning Labor!

I quickly let Amanda out of the barn to join the youngsters for breakfast and put Lacey into a lambing jug – a small pen where mom can have lambs quietly by herself. Lacey wouldn’t touch the small bit of hay I placed in there with her. Another sign of labor.

I went back to the house to have a cup of coffee and glue myself to the monitor in the office. I answered emails and had time to post a short note to this blog about the goings-on. When it came time for another cup of coffee, I took a look at the screen…Lacey was frantically trying to dig a nest out of the straw in between lying down and getting up. No problem…I have time to get another cup.

When I got back from the kitchen I noticed that “something” I had been watching for was taking place. I saw the beginnings of the birth of a lamb! Hurriedly I rushed down to the basement, put on barn shoes and my coat and headed out to the barn. By the time I got there, Lacey’s first lamb was halfway here. (I did take pictures but as this is a G-rated blog and don’t want to put any of you off your dinners have decided not to post all of those nitty-gritty pictures) ๐Ÿ™‚

So, Folks…let me introduce to you Sheep Thrills Shaun (the black lamb) and his sister, Sheep Thrills Blessa! All three in the little family are doing quite well.

And of course, I made Ralph get in a few pictures for scale…

The only problem I’ve run into is that our weather was turning quite nasty today, so I had to plug-in a heat lamp for the lambs and Lacey. We are expecting snow tonight and tomorrow and our night-time temperatures are still quite low, The heat lamp reflection is the red you see on Lacey’s face in this photo to the right.

Shaun appears to be all black while Blessa is a mocha brown with a white semblance of a krunet marking (white crown at the top of her head). I also noticed that Blessa has white hairs on her ears and is lighter around the eyes and mouth. This means she carries genetics for greying and will probably change color on us.
So, there you have it, Bob’s your Uncle! I see from the monitor right now that the little family is snug and sleeping. You deserve it, Lacey!

So, Amanda…when is it going to be your turn?

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