Yesterday Mayapple's two lambs kept calling and calling. After about five minutes of that, I went out to see why they couldn't find their mother. Seeing her in the pasture, I thought she was laying down, but then realized that she was on her back, legs sticking up in the air, looking quite dead. A sheep can die fairly quickly if they roll onto their back and are unable to right themselves. Their rumen (stomach) compresses their lungs and unable to breathe, they suffocate. As I got closer, I realized she was still breathing, just very shallowly, and so quickly helped her onto her stomach. After trying to get up and failing, she laid there panting heavily for about 15 minutes. Finally, she tried again to get up, this time succeeding. A bit wobbly, she walked away from me to her now-relieved lambs. She can thank them for saving her life.
Mayapple is the same ewe that nearly died this spring from a bad case of pregnancy toxemia. Poor sweet girl, she's having such a bad year, I just wanted to give her a hug. But while friendly enough, she's not a hugger.