Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Goodnight Alice

I am very sad to be saying goodbye to Alice today. It's been coming for a little while, as I noticed her weight loss between her lambs from last year and this year. Most of the girls lose weight after birthing and during nursing, and usually put it back on in between. Alice usually has twins, so it's not uncommon for her hips to get a little bony while nursing.

This year, she didn't put the weight back on after her fall babies, and it got worse after her spring babies. I needed to make sure her babies would be OK when I took mom, and they are fully weaned. Since Jason is now gone, she is not pregnant again.

There are 2 usual ways we lose mamas around here. We cull them ourselves when they turn out to be bad mamas. Abandoning lambs, having some sort of genetic issue - we choose to cull those. Trouble will also being going for BOTH of those reasons, but I suspect she is pregnant right now.  We have also lost them to illness or bloating if they get into too much chicken feed - which is the more common route, and often loses us mamas we didn't want to lose. (It makes mobile pasturing of the chickens much more difficult if you need to keep the sheep out of the chicken feed)

I guess this is also illness related. My suspicion is that her very active CL (her face has had several lesions this year) has moved to her digestive tract, and is not allowing nutrients to be absorbed properly. I don't want her to suffer any longer, and CL has no treatment and no cure. Typically, CL doesn't kill an animal, but in her case, it will. 

The photos below show the Alice that we've always loved, and still do. I'll post a picture later today of what she looks like now and it is a stark difference with incredible weight loss. It's time. Not a time that makes me at all happy. I've been dreading this for weeks. It feels like such a betrayal. She's been so good to us.

 Over the years, Alice has given us Arlo (gosh, he was adorable), Tigger and Eeyore, Max and Cindy Lou Who, Yakky Doodle, Odin and Frigg, and Zeus and Athena. She was always a good and attentive mom, although an eye infection effected the sight in her right eye, and another sheep sort of stole Yakky Doodle from her because she had trouble finding him. I will miss her solemn eyes, her calm demeaner, and the fact that she is one of the few that will let us pet her.

The farm won't be the same without you, Alice.