Sunday, 23 February 2014


Following on from my 'Sickness and Health' post a couple of days back, here is the 'Doctor's Rounds' update as of today. It is all great news with both the main patients 'fixed' and discharged from the sick bay. The rooster, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Bufton-Tufton* never really did look sick with anything specific (no discharges from eyes or nostrils or beak, good colour in facial features, no coughing or rasping, OK poo, good feathering, no signs of trauma or damage) - he was just moopy, limp, sleeping a lot and not eating anything we offered, or at least not while we watched. We think now that he probably just had a chill-type infection. We took the advice of all our known experts and isolated him indoors in the warm and dry and 'fed' him (by dribbling liquids into the side of his beak) sugar water and cod liver oil and using Charlotte-of-the-mini-horses, dosed him daily with by-mouth broad spectrum antibiotics. He dozed mainly and a couple of times a day woke up and screamed his Cock a Doodle Doo messages answering shout for shout with our other 'roo' William, outside.

Now, far be it from me to slur the character of a high ranking Army Officer, but by day 5 we were starting to think that he might be malingering and Charlotte suggested turning his heat down a bit so that he got less comfy and either woke up to do something about it, or just went into a sick decline of sulking. So today, with the sun coming out I decided that it was exactly this 'kick in the arse' that might spark him up and I am delighted to say we were right. Straight back in with the gang (having been accepted and quickly reminded who was boss by William) he was suddenly alive and well, scratching and pecking the ground with gusto, mixing it with all the other birds and even trying a bit of tentative 'treading' of some of the hens.

Lieutenant Colonel Sir Bufton-Tufton, centre with his gels
We stayed with him, supervising for an hour but he was doing so well doing 'normal chicken' in the sunshine that we left him to it and just made sure he got to bed alright in the roost this evening (which he did). So he's fixed. We just need to keep an eye.

Goldie the rabbit has also been successfully cured, by 5 days of daily gloopy ear drops which clean up the mites and soften the hard wads of 'citrus peel' scar tissue and being cleaned out by wetted cotton wool pads wrapped round a finger tip and rooted about down the ear canals. She is back to clean, pale-pink ears which she carries much more upright and comfortable and just needs a check up in a week's time to make sure she has stayed clean.

Our sincere thanks to our medical advisors Anne, Steve and Ray but also to Charlotte who has got properly involved in these two cases as part of her 2 weeks of work experience with Aoife-rhymes-with-Deefer. She has been like a whirlwind of activity and we have especially felt the benefit. She has probably seen more drama in 2 weeks than you'd maybe want an 18 year old to see but I guess if you want to do 'vet' then some of the horrors come with the territory and Roscommon's farmers and animal keepers would be as good and bad as the next county's.

Our first primrose of 2014
She has seen heifers put to massive meaty bulls who then gestate calves which are way too big to fit through the birth canal and have to be cut out C-section or die and have to be cut up to get them out. She has seen bodged attempts by farmers to pull out big calves which have resulted in broken legs and even one calf with a broken back. She has pulled smelly rotten lambs out of ewes in putrefying chunks.

...and a first Winter Iris.
She has, though, also seen some lovely things - the live, healthy lamb they found hidden 'behind' the dead one and got breathing. There was also a genuine, knowledge-able guy who called in because a ewe had been trying to lamb for 2 hours and then stopped. He feared the worst, but Aoife and Charlotte pulled out twin lambs. The bloke was delighted but Aoife dipped in again to make sure and found a third, Triplets! I am a softy myself and I was in tears as she bubbled this story out to us! Charlotte finished her work experience on Friday and came away with a glowing report and Aoife telling her she will make a great vet one day. She can't wait to start and is annoyed (tongue in cheek) that she has to go off and finish her college course before she's allowed to play that game! Aoife has said she can come back on any weekend or Wednesday when there are no lectures at college to keep her hand in. Everyone's a winner.

Geese all matey on the mini-pond.
Our geese seem to have all decided that they like each other and George, the gander is no longer insisting on his one-woman man routine. They all stay together when I throw grain in to the orchard, rather than George driving Goosey away so that he and Goocie can have it all. Goosey surprised us yesterday by arriving back in the goose house after I'd shut her into the orchard. She must be able (even if it was a one-off) to fly over the fence and wanted to go back 'indoors' to lay the egg she's not 'finished' during the night. That's a bit of a worry. If she starts to make a habit of it we have to be clipping some wings again.

Boy-pup Towser with his "incorrect" ears
Meanwhile, if Charlotte has 'seen' some stuff this past fortnight, then I think I may have 'seen it all' now on the daft things people do to show-dogs. You'll remember that my boy-pup Towser has floppy ears instead of the pricked up ears which Westies are 'meant' to have We don't mind - he's not a show dog and he looks cute to us. You may also know that some breeds of dog which are 'meant' to have pricked ears are 'enhanced' by wire or plastic inserts installed surgically if they are not pricked enough for the show folk. Well down the lane lives a lovely Irish Terrier pup, name of Gripper. I've always thought he looked great but his ears stick up like Towser's are 'failing' to do and this is BAD (apparently). The owner, at his last haircut, has had his ear tips glued down to his head in a semi-flop like Towser's natural look where they will remain glued for 10 weeks while the cartilage 'sets' so that he can have the 'proper' Irish Terrier look. Yep... seen it all now.

* Pronounce this 'Lef-tenant, please. Only the Navy and the Americans say 'Loo-tenant'


anne wilson said...

Glad to hear the Cockerel is mending.
The problems with calving could be stopped, most calves are conceived by A.I there should be a law forbidding the use of large continental breeds semen , such as Belgian Blue on smaller breed cattle. If the farmer won't take responsibility for his stock then the Dept who issue licences should step in.

Matt Care said...

Amen to that, Anne. Unfortunately it is definitely not happening yet here in Co Roscommon. Aoife does what she can to educate, but these boys are too deaf and greedy (or just plain ignorant). Unfortunately she only gets called in to pick up the pieces when the farmer/stockman (or woman) has lost control of the situation. Charlotte also saw some call outs to put down perfectly healthy animals which were no longer 'convenient'; calls which, fortunately, she can (and does) refuse, but she knows they will just call the next vet and the next till they get one to 'bite'. It's all very sad.