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Friday, August 13 2010

Today's adventure is brought to you courtesy of a old "Belgian" friend of mine, Libbye Miller, who raises sheep in Kentucky. When she sent this to me I laughed so hard I almost peed in my pants.  So I begged her to let me share it with you! She graciously obliged!

It's probably somewhat telling that for me, the Farm Fresh Blog reads like an episode of "This is Your Life". Because around here things like this happen...

I went down to the barn to feed much later than usual because shockingly, DearHubby and I had actually left the farm together for dinner. There was a lot of milling around and complaining from the flock as I filled the lambs' creep feeder. Toffee, who was particularly incensed about the lateness of service, managed to cram her head through the creep feeder bars and hoover up a bunch of pellets. Soon I heard that peculiar gagging/coughing sound that suggests someone is choking. I looked around and there's Toffee, staggering, foaming at the mouth and looking "not too shiny" (as we say in the south when someone doesn't look well).

Usually they get things unblocked on their own but Toffee was getting increasingly distressed so I grabbed the foal tube (a 7 foot long tube made for passing through the nose and into the stomach of horses) that hangs on the barn for just these occasions and went to work. Did I mention it was nearly dark? And the heat index was 110? And this greedy little pig of a ewe is one of Dear Hubby's favorites?

Toffee gagged and stagged around while I tried to hang onto to the incoherent, foamy slobbery slippery, 150 lb sheep and pass the tube. Sometime during the ensuing melee, she managed to suck the offending wad of pellets deep into her trachea at which time she proceeded to die. Like flat on her side, non responsive fully dilated pupils dead.
I tried various methods of Heimliching her, up to and including jumping on her chest yelling "YOU ARE DADDY'S FAVORITE, NO DYING" to no avail. Well CRAP.

If I mention that I'm a vet will it make you feel any better about this next part? Let's hope so. As a totally last resort I ran in the barn and grabbed the scissors I use to cut hay strings. Available at your nearest "Anything for a Buck" store for ...$1. Then, in the dark, sitting in a patch of spiny pigweed in my shorts, I did an emergency tracheotomy.  Lo and behold she sucked an explosive gasp of air and started coming around a little. So I'm sitting there with a large  semiconscious sheep in my  blood, sweat, and sheep spit covered lap. Oh, and I'm holding the hole in her trachea open with my finger and can't let go. Time passes. I sweat profusely  and wonder why DearHubby hasn't noticed I haven't shown back up at house. There is cursing. Toffee remains semi-conscious. Finally I decide that she's brain dead from heat stroke and lack of oxygen and I'm just going to have to put her to sleep. Well CRAP.

On the way to the house for some drugs, I meet DearHubby coming to the rescue finally and blubber that I've killed his favorite sheep and he has to help me pick her up so I can take her to the back of the property to the "final resting place for sheep". In this weather, you uhmm, don't want to put this task off.  I collect drugs and tell him to wait in front of the barn while I administer the coup de grace. Did I mention that DearHubby is not of the veterinary persuasion? I try to spare him the really gory stuff.

So I walk out to where I left what I assume to be the dead/near dead Toffee.......and she's gone. There's blood and tube and scissors but no sheep. How very odd. I finally spot her out  GRAZING WITH THE OTHER SHEEP.This gives new meaning to "Rise and Walk".  I figured I should give her some antibiotics and put some fly spy on her neck wound but she's RUNNING AWAY from me. Not that I blame her. I decided we've both had enough stress for one day and leave her to her EATING.

I did catch her up the next morning and treat her wounds. She was just mad that I'd interrupted her grazing.  I'm happy to report that's she's made a full recovery.  Other than her baa sounds a little raspy.

     I put Libbye on the spot and asked her to write a short bio for you! 

I married DearHubby in 1979, graduated from vet school in 1982, moved to the farm in Kentucky in 1985 and spent the intervening years getting horses, getting out of horses, and somehow accumulating a flock of around 70 Kathadin/Dorper/What'sMyMoodThisYear sheep. The flock is been ably attended by my beloved Belgian Tervuren Quazar (retired) and his grandson Buzz (current manager of all things ovine). DearHubby's sheltie Eli frequently adds his two cents because that's what shelties do.

In my spare time, I dabble in showing dogs, herding trials, running doggy email lists, and generally making a nuisance of myself around the internet.


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 11:18 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Comments: know, some days I feel like I'm living in an alternate universe. Then I read your blog, and it's SO NICE to know I'm not the only one to have bizarre episodes.....LOL.... (Still laughing about Libbye going to take care of the dead ewe and she's GONE)
Posted by Diane I. on 08/13/2010 - 07:13 PM
Ain't THAT the truth! It's so nice to know that there are other people out there whose lives mirror the bizarre twist of events that we call our lives!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 08/14/2010 - 12:07 PM

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