content warning: deadstock.
Everything seemed fine with the lambs this morning. They had a pleasant shade-tree and lots of vetch and clover in this pasture.
When we got back from the Caledonia County Fair, however, I found our homebred ram lamb, David Tennant, dead beneath the lovely shade-tree. My mind raced- though I was upset to find his corpse, the critical thing at the time was to determine a cause of death and prevent any further loss. Could he have had Urinary Calculi, like his sire? I would need to separate my other ram lamb from the group right away. Clostridium would be the worst situation – the whole flock could die of a digestive system infection. Could he have simply rolled incorrectly and bloated, unable to stand up? Matt and I thought that the small indent where we found him should have been easy to exit.
As we loaded him into the tractor, we noticed that his head swung excessively and strangely. Could this sheep have broken his neck? Maneuvering his neck answered our question- I could move his head anywhere and I could feel a harsh *click* moving his head and upper neck from side to side. This poor fellow broke his neck, instantly paralyzing and killing him. Very sad, but fortunately not a contagious condition!
We believe that he may have been trying to climb higher than this low trunk of the apple tree in their pasture. We found him just beneath it in a weird, crumpled position. Not a responsible choice, but he was the sheep equivalent of a teen boy.
An ex-sheep. RIP to my very promising ram lamb.
We didn’t butcher him, even though he seemed pretty fresh. But I did try to get some wool from him so that he wouldn’t go totally to waste. It’s a small, completely insufficient compensation for the loss.
Needless to say, we removed the sheep from the paddock with the tree and we will not allow them access to the tree in the future.
Montypython addressed the issue of sheep aviation once, if you’d like to lighten your mood. Link goes to YouTube video of the skit.