I was in my studio when my phone rang, Jon’s ring.  He said there was a sheep down in the pasture. I ran out and saw it was Tess, her legs under  her and her head on the ground.  Jon said she just went down, like she had been shot.  We tried to get her to stand, but as we lifted her off the ground her legs stayed folded under her.  I remembered then that it’s the first thing you  to do when a sheep is down, try to get them to stand up.  I though of how little I know about sheep.  I went back to the barn and  got a blanket and halter to lift her with and Jon called our neighbor and friend Jack.  He has a truck, the plan was to lift her into it and get her to the barn.

By the time Jack got there, just 10 minutes later,  Tess had lifted her head off the ground, a good sign.  With Jack we lifted Tess again and this time she stood up.  Her stomach seemed bloated, she seemed to be in a daze.  After the sheep is standing, the next thing to do is get them to move, if you can.  We pulled and pushed and Tess started to walk, then run, then flopped to the ground.  We did this a couple of times, resting in between until she walked by herself into the barn.  Then down she went, legs folded under her, head up, breathing heavy.

We decided not to call the Vet.  Jon has lots more experience with sheep, and from his stories, I knew they probably wouldn’t be able to do much for Tess. I know sometimes, sheep just fall down and die, I’ve seen it, and it’s  often one of those things you just never figure out.

Tess looks better than she did an hour ago.  She got up and walked, her head is up and she is chewing her cud.  I sat with her a bit and did a drawing, but then Simon came over and tried to eat my pencil.

Tess is the sweetest, friendliest sheep of the flock.  She’s my first sheep.  I don’t know much about sheep, except, just as quickly as they can die, they can get better.  It seems to me Tess is getting better.  We’ll keep an eye on her and see how it goes. Hopefully this is the last time she sits still enough for me to do a drawing of her.

21 thoughts on “Tess

  1. Thinking of you and Tess….ah, farm life, it seems Tess’s condition is so indicative. May she stay on her feet and be running in the pasture soon!
    Soothing thoughts coming your way.

  2. Maria, when I saw the title I did a little heartjump because of course you know my dog shares your sheep’s name. Then as I read I felt sad ~ I know it’s a part of farm life, but I know too that you care for your sheep. I hope she gets better ~ and I like the drawing of her. There is always something to blog about on a farm isn’t there? Good healing wishes to Tess from puppy Tess and me.

  3. I’ve dealt with bloat several times… if you catch it soon enough, this helps and has saved several of my sheep:

    1/2 cup water
    1/2 cup vegetable or mineral oil
    2 tbsp baking soda. Mix well and put into a soda bottle. Use one cup for a full grown sheep.

    You’ll have to use a syringe to get it in her

    Hoping she recovers, sweet Tess.

  4. OMG , I can’t imagine the panic you must have felt when you saw Tess on the ground …. but you and Jon certainly knew what to do / glad to hear she is doing better. Love the sketch.

  5. Sorry to hear this. I’ve seen it too many times in my short 4 years of shepherding. Have you done anything for her? At the very least I’d try to get some electrolytes into her, and check her temperature. If it’s high there is probably an infection and an antibiotic would be called for. If its low, get her warmed up.
    When I find a sheep down the temp is the first thing I check. Then I dose with nutridrench, electrolytes, probiotics and/or yogurt, to try to get the rumen functioning better. My vet is great about going thru possibilities by phone and gives me things to check to rule out various things, so I get advice and info without the bill for a farm call.
    Oh, and also, check her eyelids to see if they are pink or white…if white, it’s probably barberpole worm, in which case you want to get some dectomax in her asap.

    Good luck, and keep up posted on how she does.

    Also, I love that simple drawing of her 🙂

  6. I’m sorry to hear about Tess. Hope she gets better soon. I know you are attached to your sheep, in fact all the animals on Bedlam Farm. Thats the only thing about animals. You get great pleasure and sadness. Good luck xxx

  7. You probably have already, but just wanted to say baking soda is great for the rumen. I hope Tess will pull through this, whatever it is. And was reading how one of Jenna’s sheep was down too. It alwasy scares me when one of mine get sick. And am also thankful that it doesn’t happen to the whole flock, but just one or 2. You are a good sheep momma. So loving and sweet. I am learning this more every day with my sheep and now 2 alpacas.

  8. Dear Maria,
    I’m so very sorry to read about Tess’s end. She was fortunate to have died in your loving embrace.
    Love from Fran

  9. R.I.P. Dear Tess. Take solace in grieving, Maria. It is a necessary part of the dying, of death. Healing. And grieving is a tribute, an honor to Tess. You say you do not know much about certain animals, like sheep. The truth is, those who love animals with all that is in them, have a “gift,” a “knowing.” Not all have this gift. You do. Bless you.

  10. I’m so sorry to hear about Tess, Maria. I am so thankful I was able to get some of Tess’s wool this year – she lives on in spirit out here in the world.

  11. Dear Maria My heart is a bit heavy hearing of Tess’s passing. Always so difficult and especially when it is your favorite. My thoughts are with you today.
    A big hug to you,

  12. Marie, I am sorry Tess has died. I have finished the first convertible mitten and starting on the second. Wondering if my wonderful yarn came from her. Hoping to see lambs at Bedlam Farm in the spring. The Phony Farm in TN.

  13. I’m so sorry Maria , your thoughts are in my prayers . It must be very hard on the farm sometimes . I would be so attached to all your animals. She’s comfortable now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Full Moon Fiber Art