Thursday, March 21, 2013


I've been told this March is going down as the coldest March on record. I don't doubt it. Neither do the sheep.  It was warm (albeit wet) leading up to shearing, hot the actual day of shearing and at the time, the 10 day forecast looked like a normal March.  We decided to have everyone sheared, even ancient Elizabeth.  Bad decision.

Missing several teeth, she is skin and bones even with the extra grain and soft cookies, crackers, Cheerios...we try to give her.  Unlike, say Boudreaux, she only eats what she feels like and then walks away.  And for sheep's sake, don't tell her she has to do something.  Elizabeth has always had an opinion.  Usually a loud opinion.

The weather turned for the worst and she looked miserable.  She needed that wool back on and there was nothing we could do about it.  I tried putting a dog coat on her and the rest of the sheep lost their ever-loving minds, which in turn upset her as well.  We finally rigged up a small pen in the inside stall and hung a heat lamp over her and hoped for the best...but felt awful for her.  She was Not Happy about being locked up (because she wouldn't go over there on her own) even though she was surrounded by her friends and family.  (See loud opinions above.)

For the last couple of days I've been forcing her to stay under the lamp.  And it's been a struggle.  So we have an ancient sheep, barely hanging on, looks like she's starving, shivering hard...  It becomes "the question".  The sun came out yesterday though and while it wasn't warm, it was pleasant if you could stay out of the wind.  And here is where I found Elizabeth.

Laying in the sun, in a sheltered spot, surrounded by her friends, looking pretty darn happy.  So I guess that's the answer. 

This chicken is sure I'm taking her picture.  So vain ;-).

Buddy and Jester, another old timer.  Only he and Elizabeth are left from the original flock.

And Cecil's been here too.  More later.


Lori Skoog said...

Too bad she can't wear the blanket and be happy. Sunshine is the best answer for sure. Looks like a new project is taking place.

It was in the teens here this morning, but the sun is out.

Tammy said...

I hope Elizabeth hangs on for the warm sunny days! It's so hard to help some of those independent old things. My old Rouen finally passed back in February, and much of what you say about Elizabeth was her in a nutshell. We are due for snow here today....and its cold and miserable and Spring seemed like it was here just a few days ago! I'm scheduled to shear next Thursday..praying it happens!
And Elizabeth looks very content sunning herself with her friends.


Shirley said...

Hang in there Elizabeth- sun's a-comin'!
I see Maisie is the inspector on the new project.

Janice L. Grinyer said...

Ahh - Elizabeth would be like the neighbors grandma who at 79 still sits out on the porch smoking a cigarette and nursing a hot toddy in the middle of winter...during the her robe & slippers... "i'll do what i want to do- its got me this far..."

None of us will frown upon you, if this is the way she decides to go LOL

and we have snow showers today - with snowdrifts still in the creek bottom and nothern slopes - but thats okay because it means the moisture will gather and not run off, and do a slow burn into the soil...MOISTURE!!!

and by the looks of that last picture , looks like you have had some!

Susan said...

I see Maisie is keeping an eye on them. Thank goodness! There really isn't much you can do with a pig-headed, cranky old sheep. They seem to know what's best, no matter how much you try to help them. I am sure going to be happier when it warms up! May???

Tombstone Livestock said...

Hope you get more sunny days. Woke up to dense fog this morning, very dense fog after days in the
70's and 80's.

Thirteen Sheep (Or More) said...

Elizabeth looks like she's smiling! Happy, stubborn, pig headed old sheep are my favorites.
Maisie has a "Formanish" air about her. What ever it is, I sure she thinks she knows all about it and how it should be done. I hope the men appreciate her assistance.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I wonder what would happen if you put sweatshirts on all of them, crazy sheep anyway.
I hope Elizabeth makes it...poor is no fun to be old and cold.
We had -24 F this morning..coldest March I can remember for a along time:(

Dianne MacDonald said...

My girls are shivering, too. (and looking back through my blog, I saw that we had warm weather and lots of green grass this time last year!)

I tried putting a sweater on Luna once and the rest totally freaked and ran from her. It was sad and funny at the same time!

Eleanor P said...

What about Renny's blanket (or is that what you tried already?) There is nothing more pig-headed than an old ewe (so beautiful in her old age). You do what you can and she will do what she wants. I've got some here that I wish I hadn't sheared yet, but no sense crying over spilt milk. The sun is shining in between snow showers and all are standing in the fields. Bless the animals and the keepers of the animal kingdom.

Anonymous said...

I regretted shearing one of our sheep Suzette last year. She ended up dying because I could not keep her warm. Usually I do not have the old sheep sheared but just clip the tips off once the weather warms. There will be three like that this year. Hopefully there will not be any this year like Suzette. I am glad Elizabeth is doing well.

Andee said...

It has been snowing all day here. The alpacas seemed happy about it. They don't get sheared until the end of May. My fingers were frozen doing chors though. Hopefully it doesn't go from freezing too friggin hot too fast. Hopefully we get a few mild months. I hope the sun keeps shining on your farm!

La Colline said...

Warm thoughts for Queen Elizabeth. She really does look like she's holding court ...and such a regal bearing, too. I can almost hear her tone in those "loud opinions".

Re: last photo
...and Miss Maisie is the Supervisor!
That surely is the conclusion.
I'm anxious to hear 'the rest of that story'.

Kim said...

We've had a few shivering too even in Oklahoma. I keep going outside and saying, "Come on, Spring!" but it doesn't seem to be working. Hope Elizabeth stays warm and happy. She sure looks like a pretty lady.

Terry said...

I hope you get some warm temperatures soon.
Jester's been a favorite of mine ever since that fabulous photo of him catching snowflakes.

Alice said...

No easy answers to this dilemma, just group hugs to stay warm.
She may be shivering but she doesn't look miserable and she probably doesn't want to eat much anyway cause she's trying to maintain that girlish figure.

Spinners End Farm said...

We have an Elizabeth at our farm named "Chunk" (who doesn't resemble her name any more). She had three teeth at last check so gets lots of extras. We found out she likes soaked beet pulp mixed with oats, which is good because the alpaca we ought it for refuses to eat it and fifty pounds of beet pulp goes a long way.....

Mary Ann said...

It's gotten cold here again, too... but your old girl looks very happy in the sun. I hope that last picture wasn't bad news!

Anonymous said...

It is hard dealing with opinionated old ladies that refuse to believe you have their best interests at heart, be they sheep or regular people. And finding the right treats to whet the appetite is a challenge here too. Hope your weather warms up for Elizabeth soon.

Nina said...

That chook might feel vain, but rightly so. That is one handsome chicken.
I could do with a nice private box with a heatlamp myself right now. Tell Elizabeth that we're hoping for spring to show itself sometime soon. Perhaps she'd be willing to share?


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