Well here she is, the old ewe that escaped the slaughter truck. She was seen with another sheep on the highway, but so far I haven't heard anything more about the other one. Who knows how long this poor old girl was on her own. You can see in the photo she's got some swelling on her jaw. Maybe a bad tooth? But she's safe now and eating normally.
For me, this story started on Tuesday night when the sheriff's office called asking if I still had sheep. Right away the hair stands up on your neck when you get a call like that. Was I missing a sheep? Well, not that I knew of...I ran out and counted everyone as soon as I got off the phone.
The sheriff's office told me there was a sheep with a rope around its belly camped out on someone's deck about 1 mile away from me. She had climbed two flights of stairs and wouldn't leave. She had tags in her ears, so the first person they called thought she could be one of mine.
I know a gal with sheep who lives over that way. So I called her and she ran over and caught the ewe that night. My friend thought the ewe looked like a Shetland, being small with a curly fleece. I got a look at her the following night and realized right away she was NOT a Shetland. I thought she may be a Finn cross. She is not a tame ewe, especially after all she's been through. I got the numbers off her scrapie tag and made a few calls to the APHIS offices.
For as much as people complain about the horrors of the Animal ID's, those numbers led me right to the Wisconsin breeder who produced this sheep. I thought that was very handy. The breeder told me that she had shipped several sheep for slaughter weeks ago. She had been paid for all of them, so this old girl must have escaped from her new owner.
Well, she has a new home now in a small flock of two Dorset/Ile de France ewes and a Dorset ram. If she doesn't respond to an easier lifestyle, she'll have to go back to the sales barn. Kind of sad, though. I hope she responds to a life of leisure and I hope that jaw isn't something serious.
On another bittersweet note, we got Pugsley's hide back. Pugsley was the Ile de France ram we got in trade for a Shetland ram lamb. He weighed 154 lbs. and we got 80 lbs. of packaged meat from him. The best lamb I've ever had too. His hide came back from Bucks Co. Furs this week. It's really nice, no holes. It's a very dense, shearling hide, and very large at 38 x 30".