Nine lives

Whenever you see a flock of sheep at the door upon arrival with the deer in the headlight look, something is amiss. I came down to do chores and as usual, let the hens out first. As I glanced over at the barn lot, I saw Ashley, flat out on the ground. She looked dead. I raced into the barn out and into the lot. Of course everyone scurried as I flew through the barn. And that made Ashley start to kick her legs. She was alive! I got ahold of her and helped her to her feet. I massaged her legs and hips, gave her some loving words and let her recover while I got the rest of the flock fed. As before, she had laid down at a bad angle, and in this case,when she wanted to get up she was facing an upward slope and couldn’t get her legs under her.

This is the third time we have found her this way, one time earlier this summer on pasture. Ashley is old now, 14, and we are very mindful of this in all aspects. We treat her daily with grain to give her extra energy and fat. She gets her own place to eat. Darned spoiled, really! Here she is, coming around.

What is always amazing to me is how the other sheep will come by to check on her afterward. I have never seen them when the sheep is cast, as it’s named. When I get there the rest of the flock is not near her at all, they almost appear scared. So when she arises once again, one by one they respectfully come and touch noses and smell her face. Fascinating. Here is Georgia, checking in.

Within 20 minutes Ashley was back to eating and doing what sheep do. Later in the morning I was pleased to see her laying in the field, chewing cud, all systems normal.


Crystal is the only other sheep this has happened to for us, but it is a real concern for all sheep and shepherds. Within a matter of an hour, if not on their feet, the sheep will die. I was just grateful that this time, once again, I arrived in time.