Lost lamb, tractor driving and sheep stampede...
It never rains but pours. This morning when I was feeding the ewes at Houghton I noticed one hanging back on her own when the others came to get their wheat. This is never a good sign although she looked perfectly healthy. I went to investigate and discovered the reason she looked so dejected, she had lost her lamb. She is baaing pitifully at me as if to say, ‘come on sort this out human’, but there is nothing I can do. Its 5 weeks to lambing and its defiantly dead. We isolate her and consult the vet. It could be an infectious cause and we don’t want a repeat of a previous year when toxoplasmosis ran through the flock, (horrifying I’m told.) There is unfortunately no placenta so there is little point in sending it to the vet lab as most infectious causes for abortion are harboured there. There could be a million reasons why, even the fact that she’s a gimmer could contribute, it’s her first lamb. We need to keep an eye out and make sure there are no more in the next few days. It’s not a nice way to start the day but I feel most sorry for the ewe, standing by her lamb baaing her sorrow and confusion to me and her flock mates.
I’ve been trying to get better on the tractor at Willowford. We have been knocking in posts and have been moving the posts around with the tractor and trailer. I’ve to go fill up the trailer with posts. After a wobbly start I manage to get going in second gear (why is that? It feels counter-intuitive to set off in anything but first gear) it feels horribly unstable and every lump and bump means I have to correct our course as the steering seems very sensitive. I am definitely getting better, I didn’t crash and even managed to change gear, an achievement as the location of any of the gears is something of a mystery, there is no gear knob.
Jenny, Daisy’s calf is looking scraggy. All the rest in the weaned calves field are looking great, James the calf especially is looking well and is making friends with anyone who enters the field to see if they have brought any food. So we get them all in the pens for a check up, small cattle are so much easier to move around than the big mama’s, although one does stand on my foot which still hurts somewhat. We decide to give her a wormer as she is looking quite crappy, this might be why she is skinny. We put her in with Wasi and June in the little paddock so that she can get more food, less competition might help her out.
The sheep at Houghton are getting some wheat in the morning and the evening now, as we get closer to lambing its important to get the nutrition right. Most of the year they are quite aloof and wont come anywhere near you but when you have a bucket of wheat in your hands it’s a different matter. As soon as they see me there is a stampede. I often have trouble putting the wheat in the troughs as I get jostled by 50-odd sheep. They are certainly quite unruly and as they are huge pregnant Mule ewes have given me some nice bruises. Sometimes I wish we had small calm sheep.