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Author Topic: blind and deaf elderly ewe  (Read 488 times)


  • Joined Feb 2020
blind and deaf elderly ewe
« on: February 22, 2020, 12:28:51 pm »
We have 6 pet sheep to graze our fields, and one of them, at 17, has become blind and deaf over the last year or so. I'm reluctant to make the awful decision , as I listen to her bleating for her companions. Is there any hope of treatment or is this just old age ?


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: blind and deaf elderly ewe
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2020, 02:25:34 pm »
17 is a wonderful age for a sheep to reach and you should be proud of yourself for that. Sadly, if she is now blind and deaf it must be quite distressing for her not to know where her companions are and I think the kindest thing to do would be to let her go.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: blind and deaf elderly ewe
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2020, 02:53:05 pm »
Wow, that's a wonderful age.  I've only heard of one that old before; she was a Herdwick in a hefted flock in the Lake District.  17 years old, 15 lambs <3

Blind or deaf, your ewe would manage - her pals would help her.  But both is too much for a flock animal, she will be distressed that she doesn't know if her pals are nearby. :hugsheep:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: blind and deaf elderly ewe
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2020, 05:41:38 pm »
 @corserpaul   Our oldest ewe was 20 and the oldest blind one died just before her 20th birthday.  However, neither of them was deaf as well. We currently have a blind ewe who is only 16 (our sheep are very long-lived so this is quite a youngster still) and we are very aware that when it's very windy, which it is at the moment, she can't hear where her mates are.  Mostly she guesses where they are and traipses around until she bumps into them.  Once the wind drops she is perfectly fine with being blind.  When elderly ewes have gone blind we make sure to teach them directions and a couple of warnings ('stop' and 'careful', as well as 'right' and 'left') - sheep are quick learners even when old.
Very sadly, I think your old lady will be stressed by being both blind and deaf.  You are the one who knows her and will be able to tell when the time is right to let her go.  We either shoot them ourselves, or get the knackerman to come and use his captive bolt, rather than sending them off somewhere which would cause her to be fearful. We pen up the ewe ready and give her food and water - when the lorry arrives, we give her treats so she is concentrating on food when the man does the deed.  It is very sad with all animals which don't live as long as we do, so we have to say goodbye to them but if you do it well, and don't leave her to suffer, then you will have done the best you can by her. Make sure that if you delay it's not just for your benefit.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie


  • Joined Feb 2020
Re: blind and deaf elderly ewe
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2020, 06:52:33 pm »
Thanks for these thoughts. I think we'll call in the vet, and I'm sure he will agree with your comments.


  • Joined Jun 2016
Re: blind and deaf elderly ewe
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2020, 10:46:23 pm »
Last year I had a ewe who was having repeated episodes of severe pink eye resulting in blindness. It wasn't until she was temporarily blind that I realised she was also deaf. She had lambs at the time, and we were fighting to treat the pink eye, it was heartbreaking to hear her calling them and not seeing or hearing them or the rest of the flock. After multiple failed treatment efforts and a huge drop in condition, I made the decision to ring the knacker man, I then also decided to secretly (my husband says I'm soft) give her a final dose of antibiotics! Well blow me, the pink eye finally cleared up and she could see again. Still deaf as a post mind. Long story short, I felt that the blindness on top of the deafness was just too much for a flock animal, and the advice you have had would be in line with my thinking, it would be a kindness to let her go.


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