Sunday, December 27, 2009

sunlight and a sick ewe

When I got back to the farm today I was shocked by the atmosphere. It had poured that morning, suddenly and hard. All the animals were soaked and homely looking, but their appearance was where all pity stopped. Despite the fact everyone looked like extras in a low budget zombie movie—everyone was in high spirits. The weird break in cold weather granted us a 45-degree, sunny afternoon! Every hen, rooster, and goose was somewhere on the farm they hadn't dared venture since it was covered in ice a few days before. For days they've been holed up in their coop and now the farm was theirs again. If they didn't like the fact they were wet, it didn't show.

I carried hay out to the sheep pasture and noticed three Rhode Island Reds right at my feet. They seemed as revved up as starters of a basketball team, dodging and darting all around me. They just wanted to be where the action was. They liked the novelty of traction under their claws again. The sunlight must've felt like pure gold. I dumped the hay in the field and watched them jump in like kids in a leaf pile. The chickens scratched at it and started spreading it and I laughed at the antics. Shaking my head, I walked over to the gate to let my sopping sheep come out in the sun and stretch their legs too. It was good to be home.

Joseph and Sal trotted out like always, but Maude seemed different. She had a little drool on her mouth and seemed slower than usual. She walked behind the rest and appeared to be huffing and puffing. As the others dove into their hay she stood to the side, ears back, wheezing. I was worried, and walked up to her. She let me get close (this had me really worried now, she never lets me get close) and she looked like I did when I had a cold a few weeks ago: generally okay, but sorry and congested. After a few moments of hacking in the sun she seemed better. She joined the others and munched her hay. I went inside and called Suzanne (who watched over the animals while I was away) and she told me the sheep and birds all seemed fine and acted normal. Which makes me think this cold of Maude's is a new developement brought on by the sudden snap in weather.

I'm a little concerned. I hope come morning she's her old horrid self again. If not, I'll call the vet and have him stop by. She may simply need some TLC and a shot of antibiotics. Keep my miserable ewe in your thoughts, folks. We need her around here. She keeps me honest.

15 Comments:

Blogger Debi said...

Jenna, I hope Maude gets to feeling better soon. We'll send her lots of good energy for a speedy recovery. I'm sorry that it seems like evertime you leave the farm something unpleasant happens,but I guess that it shows just how needed you are there. A substitute just won't do.

Hope you had a great holiday.

Blessings,
Debi

December 27, 2009 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger Earth Girl Knits (Emily) said...

Babysitting last night, I read through last month's Paste magazine and saw your article in it. I follow a lot of blogs and thought yours sounded interesting. I'm so glad I found you! I want nothing more than to have a small farm like yours once I finish college next year. I love everything I've read so far. And the Greenhorns trailer?! I want to see it. Your blog makes me excited for my very first substantial vegetable garden this coming spring. Keep posting!

Emily

December 27, 2009 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi Jenna,
I hope it's nothing but if she doesn't look better in the morning, please have Maude checked by a vet. Sheep (mostly lambs) are suseptible to pneumonia, often caused by extreme temperature swings, especially extreme moisture changes.
Best wishes to all at the farm.

December 27, 2009 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

4bush - you better believe I'll call!

December 27, 2009 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger Mare said...

I'm praying...Keep us updated!

December 27, 2009 at 8:52 PM  
Blogger Mancelona Woodswoman said...

Jenna ~ If you don't have Pro-Pen-G on hand, call a neighbor who does and start injections. Sheep can go downhill fast, cows even faster. By the time you wait it out, they could be in serious trouble. See this for help - scroll down to Pro-Pen (Penicillin) G. Good luck!
http://www.sheepandgoat.com/articles/antibiotictable.html

December 27, 2009 at 9:19 PM  
Blogger Mancelona Woodswoman said...

http://www.sheepandgoat.com/
articles/antibiotictable.html

December 27, 2009 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger Shannan said...

Feel better Maude, you may be ornery as hell but you have a special place in our hearts and at CAF. Happy Holidays to you to Jenna.

December 27, 2009 at 10:27 PM  
Blogger Carrie in Wisconsin said...

For some reason that picture makes me think of maple syrup season. Must be because it looks warm. Hope Maude gets to feeling better....

December 27, 2009 at 11:25 PM  
Blogger Hunington said...

The stationary thing has me wondering if you're seeing the first stages of PEM, which is serious, but can be treated easily with a Thiamin injection if done early. "Clinical signs include the sudden onset of blindness. Animals separate from the mob, wander aimlessly or stand in one place often adopting a head-high or head-low posture or head-pressing against solid objects. There is a muscle tremor, particularly of the head, and jaw champing. Signs may be intermittent initially." http://vein.library.usyd.edu.au/sheephealth/Chapter15.html

December 28, 2009 at 12:49 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I think Maude just secretly missed you. Really, hope all's well with her, and with you. My kitties and I will be sending warm, snuggly love. (Which I'm sure Maude won't appreciate, but maybe you will...)

December 28, 2009 at 1:41 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I checked on her late last night, and this morning. She seems back to normal. Bright eyed, eating like a fiend, looking right at me with hate... I'll call the vet regardless and get his opinion, maybe he'll let me come pick up some of the pro pen injections for future incidents.

December 28, 2009 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger ashley english said...

Glad to hear Maude seems a bit more of her usual self this morning. You know, I think the best part of your entry is just how attuned you are to your animals. You KNOW them, their habits, their routines; you acknowledge them as sentient beings. One of my cats, Jonah, started acting a bit "off" the other day, not jumping up onto things like his usual self. Long ago, I asked him to tell me when he doesn't feel right. I've asked all of the animals to do that. And they do, so long as I take the time to notice. You definitely take the time to notice.

December 28, 2009 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger Mancelona Woodswoman said...

Good to hear Jenna. Pen-G is cheap online. Circa $5. Just store in your fridge ~ and pick up some syringes online too. You just have to watch your needle size for each individual animal. It feels good to have these items handy so you can tend to something fast and pull them out of a downward spiral if need be. Here's a good company for starters.

http://www.jefferslivestock.com/ssc/

December 28, 2009 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger Abi said...

Ack! I am just catching up here. 'Re-entering' so to speak. I am sorry you had to come home to this on top of all else, but am glad she is fine and well. Whew.

January 2, 2010 at 11:59 AM  

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