When I took this photo of a storm moving in over our property, I had it in mind to post about the beautiful open skies that we are graced with each day. However sometimes figurative grey clouds loom over us as well.Today we went out with the intention of checking all of the sheep for signs of parasites, and then we had planned to merge the rams with the ewe/lamb flock. We checked the ewes and lambs first, then went over to bring the rams in for examination. When we went to move Clancy, he stopped and refused to move. Roy realized quickly that something was making him lethargic, and quickly checked his mucous membranes for color. A nasty parasite, which infects all sheep, had taken a stranglehold on Clancy, and he had lost a lot of blood in his stomach since he was last checked a week ago. Normally, weekly checking is adequate for this parasite, but we knew that Clancy had undergone a stress about a week ago, suffering mild heat exhaustion in the blazing sun. This probably lowered his resistance, and he lost the battle with the worms. It was amazing, because he seemed relatively normal last evening. We quickly treated him with wormer, probiotics (he wasn’t eating, and we were worried about his rumen being healthy with bacteria), B12 and iron injections and some Vitamin E/Selenium (always good when they’re stressed, as they tend to need more at those times). We put him in the shade with access to cool water, hay and some grain, but he wasn’t interested. Unfortunately, we lost him a couple of hours later. We explained to the kids that this is God’s way of selectively thinning the flock. We obviously didn’t need 4 rams, and God chose which one was no longer necessary. It was also a natural culling of possibly weaker genetic stock. We’ll never know, but perhaps his genetic stock is less resistant or less resilient to worms. Here’s his “baby” picture – from when we bought him in September of last year:
And here he is before the spring shearing, looking pretty shabby from the winter. Look how beautifully his horns were curling!
Regardless, we are blessed to have his offspring still with us. Because of his dam, he’s bound to be an even better ram than Clancy. The king is dead. Long live the king!