Tuesday 27 October 2009

Pronking, picking, pins and pipes.

The girls were allowed into the top, largest paddock at the weekend, and they loved that as it goes to the brow of the hill, giving them views across the Somerset Levels where they can watch the neighbouring sheep, swans, horses and farming activities. Autumn and Ambrosia had a good old race around and pronk at dusk which was a delight to see, coupled with anxiety for her weakened leg. She is still getting the comfrey infusion in the morning, which she takes quite well provided she has my finger to suck and bite on - catching her is like a game of 'tag', while the others eat their feed from their buckets.

Minnies face seems to be improving - needing to try a product that would cling to her body long enough to be effective, and was modest in cost, so I could be generous with the application to penetrate the thick crust, I decided to try cattle teat salve (I'd also read that another breeder had used it). I'd given her a week of daily facial scrubs (Ruggle-It) plus salve in a concerted effort to get on top of the problem - I think I need to allow some recovery of fleece, and careful picking the crusts, which are only attached to the fleece, not her skin, and is a very slow process - she's very tolerant of the scrub, but will back away after a couple of tugs on the crusts, so you don't get much off over the course of an hour of repeated circling the catch pen, then tugging, then circling and so on...

I fitted new hinge pins to the shelter gate so it is more convenient to operate (I'll spare you the detail) - I was pleased that it actually worked and finished level, as the corner post of the shelter is a tree trunk, so none of the faces are plumb or smooth - one time-consuming job, but a useful step forward in animal handling that you make with experience - the purchase of hurdles made the previous arrangement unnecessary - I expect I'm losing you, even I'm getting bored describing it!

I'm going to lay an interceptor land drain pipe part way up the hill, so that in prolonged wet weather we don't get all the water running over the surface to the bottom, collecting around the entrance to the shelter pen and garden -I can borrow a digger, but I'm trying to weigh-up whether to dig it by hand, as I think I could do it in the same time with much less fuss than it takes to collect the machine, transfer it to the field dig the trench and then return it - the big difference being that I'll be knackered and wrecked for days afterwards if I do it...


  1. Oh my goodness digging a drain by hand! Good luck!!! Good to see they are happy and pronking and the leg is holding up well. I hope Minnie's skin heals soon. You could try 50:50 (half petroleum jelly/half liquid) for the scabs. It softens scabs in a day or two and floats them off.

  2. Oh, you can get it at any chemist.

  3. Zinc and castor oil cream is great for correcting the imbalance in the skin, its not expensive and lasts ages, once applied.

    If I was you, .....I'd get the digger, after a couple of shovel fulls, you'd wish you'd had. Its marvellous what you think you can do...sometimes sadly the reality is very different !!.....Jayne