We guessed what the problem was well in advance. Dad’s gut feeling had been substantiated and the words he was yelling are not up for print.
It’s the feeling of helplessness as you watch the misery the damage has already been done initially days before, with bleats from animals in pain and anguish, calling for moisture and not running away from us as they normally would. Only meters away in fact, wild pastoral sheep, that only see man once a year and I was nearly able to touch them, showing no concern other than their need for water and survival.
I pulled a few immobile carcases out of the trough by the back legs, while Dad was checking the windmill, hoping they were still alive, but they had gone to sheep heaven. The wool on their legs oozed away from the carcase into my hands and I was forced to get another grip on the bone instead of the outer skin.
Dad said, “Grab that waterbag out of the jeep, and we’ll see if we can prime this bugger“. As I returned from the vehicle, with waterbag in hand, two ewes came towards me smelling at the cool drinking water in the bag. Their reaction was instant and self preservation was they’re only consideration. It was only then I realized the choir of “baaarring” noise they were all making, perhaps from the smell of the water, in seeing the two or three ewes run to me, or perhaps the chance of us been able to provide a miracle for them. They had experienced man watering and feeding them in times gone by, on desperate occasions, although perhaps not as bad as this. They’re not as stupid as some people think, especially when it comes to their own survival.