A Ewe Died Today

Yes, a ewe died today.

The ewe was lying out on the pasture and Glory, one of the livestock guardian dogs, was sitting beside her, which is how I came to notice that the ewe was there.  She had not been dead for a long time because her body still flexed although it was now stone cold.

Dead bodies create an assortment of reactions from the still alive creatures.

The livestock guardian dogs take watch over a dead animal. Maybe guarding it from scavengers like magpies and ravens who are usually first on the scene? They don't begin to eat the carcass unless it gets left too long.

The other ewes and the cows continue to graze or go on about their day. Their reaction is almost a non-reaction or at least an inward one I can not access. They are not interested in staying close to bodies but they also don't seem to show any great concern or repulsion.

The times I have seen flock animals outwardly reacting to dead bodies are when a ewe has lost her lamb or a lamb has lost its ewe. Other ewes may also check out a dead lamb that is not theirs but then go on their way. 

The herding dogs approach a dead animal rather tentatively, on alert in case the dead animal is playing them for fools. When close enough a quick sniff tells them all they need to know. Then the reaction is varied. 

Jayde grabs fleece and gives a hard tug as though she's determined to make the ewe move again. Cajun seems to think food and is quick to guard while he intently sniffs. Fynn sniffs and then backs off. Perhaps he is concerned about Cajun and Jayde?

And me.... I fret, I worry, I regret, I get angry, I feel like a failure. 

I throw myself into the rest of my day, acting harshly, feeling a tinge of bitterness and carrying a heavy load of why-damn it-why?????


  1. Darn! I hate that feeling! I had to shoot one last year and I never found out exactly what caused her paralysis. It was so frustrating. I feel your pain.


Post a Comment