Our beloved sheep (and icon) Maybell has come down with what we think is an abscess near her jaw. We drained a large lump this afternoon and gave a strong dose of antibiotics. We rarely use antibiotics on the farm, but in cases where an animal appears to be in distress directly from bacterial infection, it's the most humane and correct choice.
As an ethical, sustainable farmer- one does not use antibiotics without reason, or on animals to be butchered for food
within a short time period. But for animals in distress with symptoms that specifically need antibiotic treatment- it's not humane in my opinion (despite organic standards which say Never to use antibiotics even in warranted cases in response to abuse by industrial agriculture) to withhold the miracles of modern medicine. I don't take antibiotics for every scrape or sniffle, in fact I haven't taken any in years. So it's not something we take lightly- but it is an option we consider when it makes sense.
Hopefully we will see improvement in Maybell over the next day or so, it's troubling for her to have developed a growth that quickly. While we were playing vet we also wormed all the sheep and trimmed hooves. And vaccinated the baby goats. All around it was a livestock care kind of day.
There are few things more stressful on a farm then a sick animal. Even when you've done all you can it's a nagging pain- to know the animal you've promised to care for is not thriving. You try not to get emotionally invested, but that's not the same as not caring deeply for the well being of the living critters on your farm.
Add this to the list if recent happenings and we are just about ready to to hide away under the covers. But that never solves anything, especially on a farm. You've got to push through, do your best, and watch for a change in the weather. So that's what we'll do. Push aside the weary and keep working. The clouds will pass, I know it.