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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One of those days when everything dies

In the grand scheme of things, my problems are piddly. I have friends in Japan looking at far worse problems then what I had to deal with yesterday. But it is hard to keep preceptive when your day is full of difficult and woeful things happening right in front of you. When your livelihood and emotions are wrapped up in living things, death comes hard and personal.

My princess, my dear Eddie died in calving. It was sleeting the night she died, we didn't know she went into labor. We found her dead in the morning The calf never saw light.

While we were outside dealing with Eddie, I saw that one of our sheep had lambed. Trying to keep myself in better spirits, as Eddie's death is crushing, I went to see on the new lamb. As I checked him out I happened to look over at the old refrigerator that we use as feed storage. It is only 3" of the ground, yet there was a black lamb's head sticking out from under it. I yelled for Husband and he came jogging. He lifted the fridge and I pulled her out. She didn't look well, but I set her down and stepped back to allow the mother to go to her. She was rejected.

I scooped the lamb up and brought her into the house. As the sheep are wild because the previous owner had little to do with them, I had to run into town and pick up some lamb formula. Everything else was put on hold, while Husband tried to get some sugar water down her. She was dehydrated. She wasn't sucking. We had to force feed her. After 3 hours, she had energy again. She was able to stand on her own and was curious.


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She was starting to suckle on her own. She was urinating and attempting to poop. (for those looking for info, your newborn lamb will shiver. This is good! Shivering shows that her temp is increasing. Don't put her under a heat lamp, as this could lead to pneumonia. Also a little molasses on her tongue will help give her some added energy, aiding in her temp regulation and help getting her to suck. She needs to eat to continue to warm up) We were ecstatic!

Several hours later she was limp and lifeless. She was unable to shiver to bring her own temperatures back up. I laid on the couch with her on my chest, and a towel covering us. I held her as she went through her death throes. Talking and touching her. I have no idea if this brought her any comfort, but it helped me. I held her while she stopped breathing, and continued to hold her after her heart stopped. This was about midnight. We spent 12 hours trying to save her.

I was so hoping to bring good news this morning about the lamb, rather then you having to read an entire post on death.

I started crying as I held the lamb. My dear sweet Eddie is gone, along with her calf, the lamb that we worked so hard to save is dead. I couldn't contain it and teared up.

This is life on a homestead, plain and simple. But just because life and death happens here, doesn't mean I will not or should not mourn. And I do. We celebrate both life and productive death. But all this. . .


On a positive, only 2 chicks died during shipment

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And the bunnies are coming out of hiding. We have confirmed 5 little ones so far.

15 comments:

Stephanie said...

I'd be crying too. Poor Eddie! :( You did have a very rough Monday. ((((hugs)))

Denimflyz said...

My heart go out to you, as I am an ICU nurse for abused pets for a rescue group and I have had a huge share of sucesses and losses. I cry over all. Please have a good cry, knowing that we who read your blog cry with you. Celebrate though, what you have and know that there will be sucesses also.
Hugs

Phelan said...

I told you Monday was just sucking Steph. I was so hopeful that things would turn around.

Thank you Denimflyz. I know there is success or I would have given this up long ago.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your troubles. Your post amply illustrates that people who raise, slaughter, butcher and eat their own animals are caring individuals who do it out of love for animals as well as out of having good food to eat.

Kelle said...

Phelan,
Shedding tears with you. I'm so... sorry for the loss of Eddie as well as the little lamb. Last year was a horrible year for us as far as death is concerned, we lost our beloved horse, my dexter cow and several poultry. I know the pain you are feeling, HUGS to you and yours.
Blessings,
Kelle

Sandy@American Way Farm said...

Oh Phelan, I'm so sorry for your losses. Just because we raise animals for food doesn't mean we don't also love them. I hope the days get better and the worst is behind you.

SkippyMom said...

Sorry Phe - truly.

HermitJim said...

Nothing I could say can make it better! Just know that I feel a little of your pain and understand!

small farm girl said...

So sorry to hear about your loss. Like you said, it is all a part of homesteading. But, it still doesn't make it easy.

Annette said...

I thought my Monday was rough - not like yours! Sad to hear about the losses, glad to hear about the chicks and bunnies!

jules said...

I'm so sorry. How crushing.

Ruth @ Hope, Joy and Faith Farm said...

I'm so sorry... Nothing I can say to make it easier, but know I'm thinking of you...

Angela said...

I have enjoyed following your story for quite awhile now, and am so sad to read of these losses. Bless you for your valiant efforts, perhaps nature has its own reasons, but it's never easy. Much aloha to you and yours.

Bombdigity said...

that is so sad, I teared up reading about you holding the lamb ... so sorry for the losses ... even when the animals are raised for food, its still sad

Parker said...

Ah, so sorry Phelan. Crummy day indeed. You are a terrific lamb mama though - the little guy must have had something wrong with it to have his birth mother reject him.
And Eddie dying while birthing just....well, I am sad and frustrated for you. It doesn't really help, but sending hugs your way.
Parker

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