Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Shepherdess Notes: Dealing with Loss

It wasn't long after moving to the farm that we started raising livestock. There is an excitement that comes with bringing home those first animals, for us it was four sheep. It was such a new experience, as neither one of us were raised around farm animals.

Fast forward to today-we are still raising sheep, a small flock of about 30 which grows during lambing time.  It has been a very rewarding and overall enjoyable experience. I provide them care, and they gift us with wonderful wool and lambs.

I have learned a lot over the years raising sheep. One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn, is that no matter how well I take care of my sheep, there are still going to be losses. No getting around it, if you raise livestock it is something that will eventually happen.

Even after 18 years, it is still a difficult lesson. I try very hard to do whatever I can to keep these animals alive and sometimes it is just not enough. This week has been an especially hard week. I lost a set of triplets during lambing, and I am still fighting to save the ewe. These are the kind of weeks that you spend a lot of time second guessing yourself and questioning if you really are cut out to do this. Yes, even after all of these years of raising livestock, I still have those moments.
Contrary to what people say about sheep, I find them to be very resilient. So, I still have hope that this ewe will pull through.

I expected the homesteading journey to be physically challenging at times. It didn't take long to discover that it can be emotionally challenging as well.


  1. I agree, the hardest part of raising animals is the inevitable losses. Some years are harder than others; some animals are harder to lose than others. I'm sorry for your loss, and hope you won't have any more this spring.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about your losses. I hope your ewe pulls through. I lost a llama last month. She was an elderly rescue, a big girl but a bit fragile. No matter how many times it happens, I'm always devastated.

  3. It's a hard episode to get past. But you will. I hope you can save the ewe. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers

  4. so sorry :( saying a prayer in Tennessee

  5. I'm sorry, that's got to be really tough even after years of raising animals. I would imagine that you hate losing one, much less three. Best wishes that the ewe pulls through!


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