I was up early yesterday morning driving a couple of our fur kids to their vet appointment. Dakota needed her boosters, and Dulcie needed the vet's OK to get back to work, post-ligament repair. It was all fine until I returned home. I pulled into our drive to find Mike standing there, with Spud on a leash. Mike took her for a walk and Spud managed to eat a rat, which may or may not have been poisoned. I dumped the two dogs off, and stuck Spud in the truck and drove back to the vets. The vet nurses took Spud in the back room to purge her of her prize.
Spud coughed up a huge rat, completely intact, which she must have swallowed whole. The nurses called me and the rest of the staff in to have a look (it was a slow day). Spud got a jab of vitamin K, two boxes of pills to take home, and a dose of antibiotics for the now angry looking bites, possibly rat-related, on her snout. I got a bill and some teasing from the vets. So much for my 'No Vets this Month' plan.
And do you think I managed to keep away from the vets today? If you said Yes, then you're forgetting about these -
No, it's not Eudora this time. That's her on the left and she's back to normal.
Alright, nearly normal. If you don't count the bucket on her head.
This time the poorly sick sheep is Eunice, the little ewe lamb born in October. I noticed her ears were hanging a bit heavy.Weird thing to notice, I know.
Eunice (middle row, right)
I assigned fault to myself, thinking I must have put her ear tags in wrong. I got a closer look last night at feeding time, and noticed her ears and nose were crusty. Really scabby and exuding something undesirable. In fact the only desirable crust on a lamb is when it's coming out of the oven, and she's not destined for that. She needs to remain crust-free at all times. The vet came this morning to administer more jabs.
You're probably thinking surely all the other animals are well. Think again. One of the meat chickens died from pulmonary infection, there's been an outbreak of scaly leg in the big hen house, and my old barbu d'uccle is decidedly peaky. It's Crittergeddon. I'm expecting a plague of locusts to descend. That's fine - as long as they don't want me to take them to the vets.
I almost forgot about Tom/Tomasina, our transsexual Silkie chicken -
Perhaps I should have named her Victor/Victoria
I'm not sure if she's a hen with male characteristics, or a hermaphrodite. I'm not even sure I need to know. S/he's spunky and I like her. And we're an accepting household. If Tom is a hermaphrodite, genetics may condemn him/her to a shorter than normal life. Hermaphrodite pheasants die upon reaching sexual maturity.
It's not just a pox on our animals. It's our major appliances too. The oven died Monday night. Of course, we had invited guests for dinner the following night and defrosted a roast already. I worked out a way to cook it under the grill which was still working, and everyone got fed. The new oven won't arrive for 7-10 days, but there's plenty of gin and coconut macaroons. That's like two of the four food groups, right? Our friendly local pub will feed us too. The worst part is the expense. It's going to cost me ten deer to the game dealers to pay for it. Or two lambs and two deer. Or 500 half dozen eggs. It's a good thing the hens have started laying again.
In fact, I used that lot of eggs to barter a soil test from our agronomist. It's time to spread farmyard manure and I need to know if Milkweed is short of nutrients. I also need to find a farmer wanting to get rid of it, and a contractor to spread it. Contractors don't work for eggs unfortunately.
Otherwise, this time of year I'm enjoying the first snowdrops flowering in the woods -
The dogs are with me. Their job is to clean up any wounded pheasants resulting from the last week of shooting -
We only found a few. I dispatched them and put the breasts in the freezer, ready for when we have a working oven again.
The few hours a day when I'm not at the vets, I'm trying to finish painting the kennels. I can enjoy a gin while slapping on the wood treatment so it's not the worst job. I got news from the estate office that we're expecting a visiting dignitary next month. That means security checks, and a rush to tidy up the garden in case of a drive-by viewing. At least the kennels will look nice.
I hope Spud won't do her party trick with the rat.