Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Remembrance of Ella

I'm very sad to announce that on Friday, October 21, 2011 my beloved Ella passed away.  She was the second lamb born on Kellane Farm and thus held a special place in my heart.  Don't get me wrong...all of my sheep are special.  Each has a unique personality and are dear to my heart in different ways - much like my human children.  Unlike her twin sister (Nera), Ella was a sweetheart from the beginning.  Like Maggie, she learned to trust me early on and wouldn't hesitate to come to me for scratchies.  Ella and Maggie were my official greeters every day.....the first to "Baa" as I step out the door in the morning and the first to meet me at the gate.  I can tell my sheep apart not just by appearance, but also by the sound they make.....and I will miss Ella's forceful (and a wee bit obnoxious) "BAAAAAAAA." 

There is a saying - "A sick sheep is a dead sheep."  A rather crass saying, but most of the time it is true.  Sheep are very stoic creatures and it is difficult to tell when they are sick.  A lot of times the shepherd/shepherdess doesn't realize that the sheep is sick until it is extremely ill and about to die.  I check my sheep at least twice a day - morning and evening.  I'm home most days, so I frequently look out the windows and/or go outside and observe my sheep (which I find very relaxing).  However, even with all of this observation I still missed Ella's illness.

Two days before Ella died she started "blowing" (losing) her wool.  Usually this means that they've had a fever or suffered extreme stress.  Since we have coyotes that often get too close to the house at night, I thought that it was stress because she otherwise seemed fine.  However, the next day she wasn't standing right so I had the vet come out.  Dr. Brown drew blood and took a fecal sample, but told me that it didn't look good.  Ella's blood was very watery - which meant that she was anemic.  Immediately I thought "worms,"  but this didn't make sense to me because I had wormed my sheep several times this summer.  Apparently this wasn't enough.  The lab results showed that Ella had a heavy load of strongyles that were depleting her body of nutrients.  The vet said that the only way we could've saved her at that point was blood transfusion and blood transfusions in sheep are tricky because they have blood types just like humans.  By the time we got the right type she still probably would have died. 

Ella hadn't re-gained condition after lambing and because I had wormed her several times I thought her condition was a result of the low quality hay we had (finding good quality hay around here is quite the task, but we were finally able to get some at the end of August).  Now I know better.  From now on I will be more vigilant about worms.  Per the vets orders, I wormed the whole flock yesterday and will do so again in a week.  Hopefully that will take care of the issue and prevent this from happening again.

Rest in peace Ella....I'll miss you and your sweet woolly face!!

Nera (L) and Ella (R) at birth
April 22, 2009 - October 21, 2011
Playing "Jump Off the Stone Slab" with Nera
"Woo Hoo! This is FUN!!!"
As Ella makes another leap back onto the slab,
Lucy appears to be saying "Kids....whatcha going to do with them?"
Taking a break from "Slab Jumping" for a sisterly snuggle
Ella at two months of age.  Boy, lambs sure do grow fast!
Ella and her lamb, Chessa


Dawn Dutton said...

I sorry for your loss of Ella....
Hugs and love, dawn

Michael J. said...

I'm so sorry.