Thursday, 3 October 2013

Alvin has been a bit of an enigma.

All was going swimmingly, as you can see from this photo of a maremma hard at work on a sunny afternoon...

Then something changed and Alvin and the sheep went their separate ways. The love affair fizzled, the passion died, the sheep smell funny and Alvin wears army boots.

I have no idea what went on, but I guess the only thing to do is start again. In the meantime, poor Al is lonely and bored and I am weighing up getting him a female pup of some soft-mouthed gentle breed as a companion and keeping him on as a pet rather than a sheep guardian.

I need a maremma-whisperer ! Where's Cesar Milan when you need him ? I hate not knowing what to do.

We've also installed an e-fence to stop him roaming and getting shot or run over, though he doesn't seem keen on patrolling any more.


The chook family is growing. A friend brought up four chooks that she needed to rehome before moving across the country. They've settled in well and have bonded with the flock, going to bed in the new chicken hoochie. Of the chicks, we lost the sebright (hawk) and the welsummer (mareks) and the barred rock turned out to be a rooster. He was taken home for breeding and replaced with a silver spangled hamburg and the welsummer with a barnevelder. When they are all clucking instead of peeping they too will join the main flock.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

An update on Molly.

The vets ended up doing a mastectomy on the bad side of her udder, the infection was walled off from her body successfully, but would not drain. So after a long and bloody surgery followed by another two general anesthetics during the next week to pack and unpack the wound, the long slog of healing the surgery site began.

For six weeks I've irrigated and cleaned and sprayed and watched. The wound being on the bottom of her udder meant that she filled it full of dirt and muck whenever she sat down.

Here's a photo of her with her wearing her protective bra just after the surgery. This didn't last too long, as I'm not the world's best seamstress, but this lingerie bag and elastic contraption kept the dirt and flies out of the wound after the surgery for long enough to start the healing well.

All the treatment following the surgery was done on my hands and elbows in the cow headbail, in the cold or wind or rain. We even dealt with a maggot attack. Molly can turn around completely in the headbail and could have trampled me. She didn't even have to go in twice a day, there's no way to force her into it. I owe our success completely to her tolerance and co-operation.

She's now on the last leg of healing. From an eight inch long opening into an empty space the size of a grape fruit, the wound is now barely an inch long and more like a groove than a cut. I am sad she lost that side, but really, really pleased we saved this gorgeous girl.