Friday 21 August 2015

The Wild Bunch

The turkeys seem to have melded into an all-age gang. Here
one of the first hatch is far left, then Tom and Barbara, with the
surviving 2nd hatch ('Solo') far right and the other plus the young
Guineas at the back.
First in this post. a quick note to close out the story of our sparrowhawk and, more specifically, whether I could have done any more for her. Anne told us of "Eagles Flying", a falconry centre half an hour's drive away. I e-mailed their office describing our situation to see what they could offer in the way of A&E vets and recuperative care.

One 'Lothar' replied with

"Having an absolutely fresh fracture, it is not a major challenge to reset the bones, as long as the joints are not affected. Ideally the bird will be anaesthetized before the procedure. Of course 9 pm is not the best time to find a working Vet,  but the wound could have been dressed up, the bone ends disinfected and kept moist (saline solution) and the bird kept dark in a box until the next day. A Vet being very good with these things is Dr. Niall Curran, Animal Hospital, Moneen, Castlebar"

Steak Lady (left) and Mr SL (r) bring the sun with them for
a quick visit to look round and catch up. 
Fair play to them for a good, helpful and professional reply. In answer to a follow up question they replied that they would of course be happy to accept the 'fixed' bird to do the recuperation and possible rehabilitation and release back to the wild. If you are ever in our situation then, as they say. "now you know" but for me, reading between the lines from my slightly guilty viewpoint, having destroyed the bird, I could see a couple of issues which still lead me back to having done the right thing. One was that Niall Curran, though no doubt an excellent vet, probably does not work for free and Eagles Flying looked a bit like they were swerving the vet costs in my direction. The second was that I was not 100% sure the hawk could ever be released back to the wild so that I might have just created one more captive 'zoo' bird. So, there it is. Make of it all what you will.

Ear tag number 274. I love this bullock. 
My other continuing saga is of JD Bob and the cattle which you will be delighted to know are now pretty much sorted, all be it with 2 new twists in the plot. Bob himself has now been diagnosed with a possible broken bone in his foot and hence his failure to 'get better' as quickly as he'd like and we therefore have a run to Roscommon's embattled hospital next week for X-rays etc. Then last night quite late we took an anxious call from Bob who had spotted a break out. One of the groups of 7 bullocks had managed to break a fence post and escape into the neighbouring farmer's land, hungry for some female company. We had a bit of running around today, then (another example of Bob failing to rest his injured foot!) to extract the 7 from the girls' territory and repair the broken fence.

The original 'Wild Bunch' (those who were jumping the fences "like hunters") were finally corraled and collected by the meat factory. Everyone was pleased to be finished with them.

Theo, who is a tiny little man, is almost eye to eye
with our enormous turkey, Tom as they warily
check each other out. 
On Tuesday we play host to Liz's Mum and Dad, Steak Lady and Mr SL who come up to give Liz a bit of an early birthday treat and presents, to have a look round and to take a light lunch. With impeccable timing the sun bursts through the cloud and we can all enjoy a beautiful warm sit out front like normal people do in warm sunny August in places other than Roscommon (!).

Those biro-thick feather shafts emerging from Tom's tail.
Tom the turkey comes over to check out the 'strangers' but quickly decides they are harmless and welcome and joins our matey little group at the terrace table. As he grows back his new feathers after his moult which had him very threadbare and woe-begone, he is now starting to look magnificent again. The 'shield' feathers on the lower wing are a beautiful burnished bronze colour and the tail fan is starting to look a bit peacock shaped. We are impressed by the size of the feather shafts for these big feathers, which are as thick as a biro.

This lovely set of books were part of Liz's birthday present.
Finally a bit of sad news to relate as we lost a good friend, Sean R suddenly. He was a lovely, popular man and always so full of life, the father of one of the students Liz teaches and husband to Dawn, who has appeared in these posts. They were the family involved in recent goat-move posts and the people who gave us the cat, 'Soldier' because they were planning to move back home to the UK. Our thoughts are with the family at this sad and difficult time. Rest in Peace, Sean; way too young and taken too soon. We will miss you.

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