Two days after we got the cows and calves up to Crabbe Hill (a group of 12), I noticed on my daily rounds that a Nini had a runny eye. Then I saw the horrid cloudy eyeball. Another cow with the New Forest Eye Infection. That meant we had to get them back down for treatment. So very early Friday morning, still pretty dark, Richard, Matt and I walked them down and into the field with the holding pen. Once in there I could see another cow with a slightly infected eye. The vet came in the afternoon. After a panic and bit of a struggle getting the two cows into the holding area (much swearing) Richard showed up, the vet arrived and we got on with the treatment. Not easy, even with the animal in the crush. As with the bull, the head must be held as still as possible to inject penicillin directing into the eye. The younger cow, Nini, was pretty calm, she is small and sweet. Camilla is older and wiser and she put up a good battle but my very calm vet got the needle in. Now we wait a few days then back to Crabbe Hill, where my Highlands do their conservation grazing.
Having left the holding area in perfect order after the cattle visit, I woke up the next morning to see the lambs had crossed under a gate and were now in the field with wethers and my ram. Not good. I discover this as I am going to a Macmillan coffee morning in the village hall. Needless to say, I was late. Six ewe lambs needed shifting back, so I called them all into a quickly assembled pen. Three came trotting down, were picked up (I was wearing my nice clothes) and carried across the holding pen to the field from which they had escaped. Three did not. But I realised my ram was totally ignoring them, and it seems they have not yet hit puberty and my ram obviously prefers a real woman to a little girl. Thank goodness. In other breeds a 5 and 1/2 month old might be ready for a ram, but not my little Portlands. so I went off to my coffee morning, smelling of sheep.
In the early afternoon I moved the three last ewe lambs back where they belonged, coaxed them into the little pen, along with a couple of wethers, then picked them up and walked across. Lordy,
I hope the ram has fooled me and been naughty with my little lambs.
Next is worming the lambs. I did a FEC after cleaning the dirty bums last week and the roundworm count is too high.
And as my cows and calves are close to the holding, I had the vet over today to castrate my one bull calf. Mary and I did very well on our own. She pinched their balls, twice each one, so four pinches and done. The calf gets a shot that numbs it all up first. Karen, his mother stayed nearby and gave us lots of noise as he struggled in the crush. Job done.
Sausages are delicious! Spicy hogget, and Hogget Meugues, moroccan spice, I also have a few lamb sausages, and all the loins, legs and shoulders from the younger animal. We’ll keep this all for ourselves this winter, I LOVE the lamb, which is technically hogget as over a year old. Full of flavour, not too fatty.
Jo Stover has daily adventures on her small farm, together with her Highland cattle and Portland sheep, bees, a few hens, dogs, and some two-legged family and friends.