The Return of Lady Madonna and Ewegenie

escaped sheep and llama in the rainWe tried (and briefly succeeded) in catching all the neglected sheep where I had sold three Shetland sheep in 2007.  We had the essential help of Julie, so three people versus 11 very wild sheep and one llama.  Unfortunately we had caught the majority of the 11 sheep in a chicken coop.  But when we went to separate the Shetlands from the Jacobs and Navajo-Churro sheep, they busted out the coop’s gate, breaking the conduit support of the gate, the gate stop and the tie that held the gate shut.  This was after we had chased the sheep for a while around a 5 acre pasture to finally get them in the coop (they refused to go in the barn).

We did manage to catch two of the Jacob ewes and Ewegenie, our Shetland ewe, and move them into the secure pens of the barn.  Here are the Jacobs.

caught Jacob sheepSo we able to chase the flock back to the makeshift bedraggled pen near the barn and catch Lady Madonna, our other Shetland ewe.  It was at this point I realized that the other Shetland ewe we had sold them, Shauna, was not in the flock.  She is presumably dead.  There was a carcass in the field, but I did not stop to see if it was hers or another sheep.  So I feel quite sick about Shauna’s fate but at least we got two of our Shetlands back.  Here they are in the trailer about to return home.

Ewegenie and Lady Madonna in the trailerThere is a woman coming to pick up the other sheep and the llama (who we were never able to catch).  She is bringing herding dogs so I hope that helps.  Tom and I are hurt and exhausted and gave up trying to catch the sheep and llama for the other woman.  Plus she was over 2 hours late.

Now that I safely have our sheep out, I feel I can discuss more freely how neglected these animals have been.  There were being feed free choice grain and no forage.  When the grain ran out they were given pancakes.  A horse rescue had donated 10 bales of hay 2 1/2 weeks ago.  There are still 7 bales left in the barn.  11 sheep and a llama should have eaten 1/3 to 1/2 bale a day so more hay should have been fed by now.  Plus we found no evidence of where the hay was being fed.  The goats hooves had not been trimmed in years according to the goat rescue.  The goats were infected with lice and have many open sores.  I doubt the sheep have ever been sheared.  I doubt these animals have had any of the health care and maintenance that they need.  Apart from the rotting sheep carcass there were a lot of dead chicken bodies around.  There were huge rats and loose grain in the barn.  The pasture was quite dangerous with loose wires, fencing, and boards, some with upturned nails.  It is a wonder we were not hurt worse.  So here are our sheep back home again in a pen in our barn.

Madonna and Ewegenie in our penI will leave them alone for today but this weekend will need to trim their hooves, give them their CDT shots, and worm them.  I will need to look at their wool to see if it is felted down to their skin and how difficult it is going to be to remove.  There is algae growing on it.  We will have to see if there is lice or other issues underneath.  The work has just begun.  Here’s is a photo of them when they were innocent lambs before I sold them into this horrible situation.  That’s Ewegenie in the center, Lady Madonna on the left in the back and Shauna (now dead) on the right.


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21 Responses to The Return of Lady Madonna and Ewegenie

  1. Vesta says:

    I feel so bad for what those animals went through – glad you were able to retrieve the ones you did. Hopefully they will all be okay —

  2. Tammy says:

    Just wow. It sounds like allot of ignorance was happening with that situation. My sheep would have loved the pancakes as a TREAT–but not their sole diet. Geez. So sorry that Shauna did not make it out, I know that tears at you. These girls will be fine, I think. You can sure tell it’s been awhile since they’ve been sheared, if ever. Hopefully though they won’t be matted to the skin and it will come off easily for all your sakes. Shetlands are tough and resourceful so I imagine these girls have worked hard to survive. Hopefully they will come to trust you and be calmer back in your fold. Take care of yourself and try to look on the positive–you are now able to help four of your animals overcome this. Hope it all goes well. Thanks for updating!


  3. Michelle says:

    I’m so sorry about Shauna, and so thankful for the others that were rescued!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Michelle. Shauna is the one I was most attached to of the three, but Gertie was the goat of the three I was most attached too. I am happy to help the survivors. I hope the other sheep and llama made it out OK and have a good new home.

  4. mechagrue says:

    Those sheep and goats sure caught a lucky break being able to come back home. It’s terrible to hear about such abuse, but I’m glad the rescue organization and the authorities were able to intervene before things could get even worse.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks! I am not sure they were lucky since they had to go through almost 6 years of neglect. They should feel better with trimmed feet, good hay and all that wool off them. And then hopefully the bad memories will fade. And you the right animal control and the two rescue groups were invaluable in saving these sheep, goats and llama.

  5. Jody says:

    I can’t tell you how sick inside I feel reading your words Donna. I feel like crying because it is so sad that humans can be so cruel to animals 🙁

    • Donna says:

      I understand Jody. I thought I would feel relieved getting them moved but I am so disturbed by what I have experienced. I am having trouble sleeping. But all I can do now is focus on making things better for these guys and try to prevent it from ever happening again.

      • Jody says:

        The only way we can prevent these things from happening is maybe when the penaltiess for these criminals is more severe. There really is no accountability at the moment is there?

  6. Jackie Craw says:

    the whole situation sickens me. Again, I am SO sorry your animals had to go through this, but SO glad you got them back. I, too, am sorry about Shauna. It’s heart breaking. I remember being interested in buying Ewegenie back then but she was already taken. they will settle down when they see how kind you are.

  7. Donna says:

    Jody, there is no accountability for this guy. How hard is it to carry a few flakes of hay a few feet, to pick up chicken bodies or to call a shearer? I was thinking of prevention by me not selling animals anymore.

  8. sheepsclothing says:

    So glad you were able to get your girls out. Sounds like a horrible situation. People can be such idiots.

  9. Lydia says:

    Donna – I’m so sorry to hear about what happened with your little sheep! Reading about it brought tears to my eyes. I will never understand why someone would seek out and buy animals if they don’t intend to properly care for them. And… if someone were to find themselves unable to properly care for an animal, why don’t they re-home them before the situation deteriorates to such a state? It is hard to understand, but thank goodness the neglect was eventually discovered and addressed.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Lydia. This has been hard on us and obviously the animals as well. I do not understand either. I asked my grandmother if they managed to shear their sheep each year of the depression and she said they did. I really cannot forgive neglecting shearing sheep for 6 years. It is really disgraceful to me. I am grateful for whoever turned this into animal control though.

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