RIP Penny


I am so very sad to report that Penny did not make it. She died during the night. I found her laying in her usual spot, already cold and stiff. She was laying in a completely normal sleeping position, with no signs of thrashing in the bedding around her. At least I can imagine that she just went to sleep peacefully without suffering. I don’t know what happened, but I don’t think it was bottle jaw that killed her. She just wasn’t showing symptoms of a life-threatening case. She was definitely not showing symptoms of listeriosis. We have also lost sheep to Johne’s disease, but she was not showing any signs of that either. Sissy is at a loss, too. We just don’t know.

All I know is I am going to miss her. She was one of the first ewe’s to make friends with me when I started helping with the sheep. She didn’t have a name at that point, but I looked up her ancestry and named her Penny after seeing that her mother’s name was Copper. I remember her first lambing. She ran out the door with the rest of the herd and it wasn’t until she was racing to the pasture that I noticed a lamb’s head hanging out of her vulva. Thankfully she was so friendly I was able to walk right up to her in the pasture. Her labor had stopped with the lamb only partway out. I helped her finish delivery and attempted CPR right there in the snow. She seemed to be relieved to have the lamb out, but didn’t show any motherly instincts toward the dead lamb. I was concerned enough by this that I kept close watch for days when she was due to lamb again the next spring. But she did just fine on her own, giving birth to twins, Peppa and Suzy. We still have Peppa. This year she had twins again, Peppy and Poppy.

Penny was a sweetheart. She was on the small side, but well-built for her size. She loved getting attention, but was not pushy about demanding it. She LOVED eating pumpkins. The photo was from last fall. She would stick her whole head inside a pumpkin to eat it. When she ate hay she liked to stick her head right into the middle of the hay in the manger. She would actually lay down and burrow her head under the hay through the bottom opening so her entire head was buried. I wish I knew what happened to her. I was giving her extra attention these past few days because she seemed to want extra love. I wish I could give her more. My poor girl.

Poor Penny


Penny has been acting weird for a couple of days. She was being clingy, staying by the gate, yelling at me for attention instead of grazing with the rest of the herd. I thought she might be in heat. Then, yesterday she didn’t seem to have much appetite, just stood by the water tub, sipping water. Today she seemed depressed, her ears were cool (usually means a sub-normal temperature) and her lower jaw seemed a bit swollen. Texted Sissy to come and take a look at her.

Sissy thinks she is developing bottle jaw. Bottle jaw is caused by intestinal worms. Barber pole worms cause anemia (which would explain the sub-normal temperature) and fluid retention under the jaw. Severe cases can even cause death. Sissy gave her a dose of de-wormer, vitamin injections, and pro-biotics. Hopefully Penny will be feeling better soon.

I’m no sheep expert. I don’t always know what might be ailing them, but I usually can tell when there is something wrong. When Luna got listeriosis I knew I right away because I had seen it before in our ram last year. I have seen bottle jaw before. Bandit had it a few years ago, but her jaw was much, much more swollen and she never seemed to lose her appetite. I feel bad for my poor girl. I hate when they aren’t feeling good.