The 23-year-old ewe, recognised by the Guinness Book of Records, died peacefully on her farm at Lake Bolac, 57 miles west of Melbourne, after a short illness. Lucky’s owner Delrae Westgarth says her beloved sheep had found the recent hot weather in Victoria hard to endure.
“It’s a relief,” said Mrs Westgarth. “She was good up to that first lot of heatwaves we had. But she went downhill a bit from then.” The Westgarths, who rescued Lucky as a newborn lamb after she was abandoned by her mother, recently invested in air-conditioning for their elderly pet, but even this couldn't save her.
“We brought her into the shed where she was reared and put air conditioners on her,” according to Mrs Westgarth. “That kept her going a bit longer.” Mrs Westgarth and her husband Frank admitted that looking after their pet sheep – a Polwarth-Dorchester cross — had become almost a full-time job.
After her teeth fell out, Lucky had to be handfed with crushed grain and milk.
In her old age Lucky became increasingly cantankerous, fighting with the other sheep and destroying the couple’s flowerbeds. Recently, the old ewe was allowed inside the house to watch television.
“When she got too old we brought her into a paddock on her own so she could eat by herself, [and] so the other sheep wouldn’t pinch all the tucker,” says Mrs Westgarth.
The couple, who admit they have enjoyed Lucky’s celebrity status over the years but say they have no plans to replace the world’s oldest and surely most cosseted farm animal.