Laurel isn’t so pretty
Last night, the farmer mentioned to me just before heading off to read his book “I’ve got a situation at the farm.” Okay now – what would you say?
Me, being the ever supportive wife, sensing his call for concern, said, “What’s the matter?”
His answer was “The sheep got into the laurel.”
Most people don’t have a clue what this means. Laurel is that pretty plant “mountain laurel” that grows in many suburban yards. In my mom and dad's yard in NJ, there were a few beautiful shrubs which we girls loved to hide in. In the spring when they were blooming, we would pick the individual blossoms and stick them to our ears – just hoping that one day, Mom would let us pierce our ears so we wouldn’t be stuck with the fading blossoms as earrings just once or twice a year.
Now, I know better. Mountain laurel is bad news for sheep. We have it in many places on our land – it grows wildly and beautifully. In the woods, away from the pastures.
But, then yesterday, the sheep had spring fever. They broke through the fences and started looking for green grass and anything else green. Some of them headed into the woods and started eating the laurel – unbeknownst to us.
By this morning when we went to check on them, one ewe had died and tonight it isn’t looking good for a few more. There are eleven that are visibly sickened. Their symptons are foaming at the mouth and vomiting. Luckily, they aren't pregnant and so their bodies may not be under too much stress. Luckily none of the lambs decided to take the woodland adventure.
We’ll see what happens tomorrow.
Monday Morning Update: This morning we’ve got six sick ewes – the others seem to have recovered, thank goodness. I'll post more updates here tomorrow.
Tuesday Morning Update: This morning there are three ewes who are still feeling quite poorly. The fact that they are alive is a good sign. One of them is eating and all of them are on their feet. All three still look very ill.