Friday 16 May 2014

Cody's 'Op'

William's spurs
I start with a quick word of warning. This post contains a rather graphic image of a veterinary operation on a horse. If you do not like that sort of thing, then click on by and don't scroll down.

First, though, a tough decision we had to make yesterday. Our two roosters had not, as we thought, settled their differences after all the fighting and were continuing to scrap. The Buff Orpington rooster, 'Sir Bufton' was winning all these battles but seemed to want the vanquished William not only off the top spot, but also off the battle field and out of sight. He was giving William no peace. It became obvious that we needed to intervene and remove one of these boys and another factor was also weighing against the relegated William. He had inch and a half long sharp spurs on his feet which were doing quite a lot of damage to any hen he tried to 'tread', particularly to the wider bodied ladies. They were bald of feathers all across the 'saddle' and some had more-than-skin-deep slashes down their thighs. There is a way of trimming spurs, sanding them down and cauterizing them but William's seemed to have the blood filled vein going right to the point. To cut a long story short we decided to cull out William and to go with the Buff Orpington rooster. It was a shame; he's been a good lad and an effective marshaller and protector of the girls. We will miss the old boy.

Blissfully ignorant of what's about to happen.
But today was mainly about the mini-horse. 'Cody' who was scheduled in for his gelding operation. This, nowadays, is a very quick operation done at the owners property and under sedation rather than full anaesthetic. It is a whole lot less risky for the horse than earlier methods. Basically the horse is knocked down by shots of the powerful sedative and, once lying on his side his upper hind leg is tied forward to expose the necessary bits.

With Cody immobilised, Aoife (Vet) moves in for the 'kill'
The vet makes a couple of incisions to get at the testicles, pops them out like buttons through a button hole, and then uses a fancy powerful clamp to scrunch through the blood vessels and connecting tubes, effectively sealing them off while they heal and seal over. It's all over in about 20 minutes. The horse is now recovering from the sedative. The wound is cleaned but left open so that it heals from inside outwards, and there is no risk of the scrotum filling with infection fluids. The horse gets a big old dose of anti inflammatory, anti biotic and anti-tetanus, the ropes are released and the horse quickly gets back onto his feet, all be it rather groggily.

The clamp in position after one 'side' is done.
Cody is a resilient strong boy, famous for being able to take a good amount of sedative and also not being a great fan of being injected, so we actually took more time to get him down onto the lawn grass than it took to operate on him. We had to stand quiet and let his head sag - if we fidgeted or did anything to excite him he would surely stay awake and fight sleep like a small boy at bed time, but we got there in the end. This was all fascinating for Liz and I who have had nothing to do with horses in our former lives and had never seen this operation take place. Liz took the pictures - my job was to hold onto that 'hog-tied' back leg. Cody was only sedated and could obviously feel some of the cuts and was trying to kick out in his drowsy semi-conscious state.

Back on his feet though leaning on Charlotte for support.
Well, he's all done now and, no doubt a bit sore for a while, is back on his feet and liberally sprayed with silver-spray around his nethers. He has to take it easy for a week in his 'Recovery Room' with its nice clean straw bed and should then experience a running down of his testosterone-charged 'Stallion-ness' over the next 6 months or so. He can go back with his two former chums, Bob and Romeo (already gelded) and should cause fewer problems trying to escape to be with mares. His breeding days are over but there is no market in Ireland at present for horses, so it's better that way.

Knackerbocker Glory?
When we go a-visiting these days Liz will quite often bake a cake, but what kind of cake is appropriate to go with the gelding of a horse? Liz put this to her (self proclaimed) "Internet Weirdo" chums on one of her discussion groups and they went into quite a canter inventing something called 'Knackerbocker Glory' and suggesting all manner of ingredients which were to do with the parts of the horse involved ( e.g. Ginger "nuts") and possible 'wet' ingredients which might be relevant - raspberry sauce to suggest blood, cream etc; I don't think I need go into detail here. Pictured is the result, a lovely cold trifle based around ice cream and half peaches. The lychees in Plan A were not available in the local shops.

A basket of mischief. 
Meanwhile with the weather now nice and warm and the Hubbard chicks more feathered by the day, we have been leaving them outside in a rabbit run right round till evening and tonight we decided to risk leaving them out for the night. They are in the nice warm, hay lined, draught free 'bedroom' section of one of our rabbit runs and I have created a pop-hole door to keep out the night air. The gang should be as warm as toast in their little huddle in there.

Finally on geese, I posted earlier that I could have sworn that I heard the thin piping "week week" noises of goslings hiding under Black Feather's skirts. We have neither of us heard anything since and I must have been 'hearing things' (too eager?) because tonight I happened to catch the girl in one of her moves where she stands up among the eggs and shuffles the eggs around her feet with her beak, presumably moving edge eggs to centre and vice versa. I got a clear view of the eggs and can definitely report that eggs is what they were, not a fluffy gosling in sight. It's day 35 now but Anne tells me not to worry. Geese are notoriously variable and we need to sit tight and be patient for a while yet. She has even had Muscovy ducks hatching on day 47, way way later than the books would advise you. Patience is the thing.

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