Archive for May, 2009

The fifty quid dog bite!

I’m telling you, if I could lay my hands on the couple whose dog bit Snipe on Sunday, there would be quite a scene.

Despite keeping my fingers crossed that the bite wouldn’t get infected, my efforts to keep it clean were no good (as you’d expect, really) and I took her to the vet’s yesterday afternoon.

First, the vet clipped the hair around the bites. Vetnurse, be grateful you’re not working at my local vet’s as you would not have enjoyed yourself! You would have thought we were trying to skin her alive or something, from the fuss my wimpy dog made. It didn’t matter what we did, she kept twisting and turning, crying the whole time. In the end, we got her in the corner and basically sat on her. Even then, she struggled so much that the vet caught her with the clippers, causing her ear to bleed worse than it did when she was bitten! Funnily enough, as soon as she’d been nicked, she settled down and the vet was able to continue without any more problems.

Snipe - 21 May 2009

The battle to clean Snipe's ear never starts well

Of course, once the vet said that she’d need not one but two injections, we shared a look of horror. Two injections? For a dog who not only didn’t want her ear clipped, but kicked up a fuss when we tried to weigh her!

With a look of grim determination, the vet took hold of the scruff of Snipe’s neck and quickly pushed the needle in ……. Snipe barely blinked. In with the second needle ……. nothing!

Unbelievable, but a massive relief!

Snipe's ear - 21 May 2009

The top of Snipe's ear

I’ve got to give her two tablets twice daily, which was a real thrill for my numpty Labrador this morning. I always give her a cod liver oil tablet, which she demolishes, so I thought I’d try her out on one of the tablets. She spat it out but then ate it off the floor. And the second one. Two down, eighteen to go. Hope they’re all that easy!

Snipe's ear - 21 May 2009

The bottom of Snipe's ear

But I couldn’t believe the bill. Fifty quid! Ok, I also bought worming tablets for both dogs (three tablets for Snipe at 26kg, three-quarters of one for Midge at just 6kg!!!) and the cats (not Queenie, she needs Spot-On as well like having all our limbs still attached and in full working order), but even so…

If I ever get hold of that bloody couple, the best they can expect is to be dangled upside down until I’ve shaken the loose change out of their pockets. Let’s not dwell on the worst…

Oh no, not another cockerel who thinks he’s a parrot!

Xander, the newbie Buff Orpington cockerel, is settling in well, though the hens are still furious at him for reasons he doesn’t understand and they are bullying him mercilessly. Course, he’s only a baby, so he’s torn between the desire to socialise with the other chicks and the fear that he’ll be told off for simply breathing the same air as his companions. Boy, am I glad I put him with the Pekins and Silkies, not the Buffs and Light Sussex hens! At least he’s the same size as the little ‘uns!

Xander - 19 May 2009

Xander is a bit of a poser!

One positive outcome of his rough treatment is that he’s decided I am his saviour, the kind two-legs-no-feathers who picks him up and gives his a few minutes of respite. As a result, he doesn’t just come running when he sees me approaching, he moves with the speed of light. Whereas the others hang around long enough to see if I have anything for them and vanish the instant it becomes apparent that there’s nothing forthcoming, but he follows me about like a shadow, genuinely pleased to see me for my own sake, not that of his stomach!

Jo and Xander - 19 May 2009

It's funny and sweet when Flint does this. I'm not sure I like the idea of Xander doing the same thing when he's fully grown!!

As for the eggs that Willow’s sitting on, there are now only ten eggs, not the dozen she started out with. For some reason, she let two get cold, so that’s the last time I put a dozen eggs under a broody hen, even a Buff Orpington. Typically, both eggs were by the pure Marans, so I’ve only got four chances to get some now! Ah well, t’is the way it goes. Even if they were in an incubator, there’s no guarantee that everything would work properly. I’ll give them to the dogs, which will make them the most expensive breakfast eggs they’ve ever tasted!!

Meet Xander!

We’ve finally got a replacement for our much-missed Buff Orpington cockerel, Fat Boy. This is Xander, the new kid on the block, a 10 week old Buff Orpington who I bought on Sunday afternoon.

Xander the Buff Orpington with the Bantams and Silkies - 18 May 2009

Xander the Buff Orpington with the Bantams and Silkies

He’s a bit small to go in with the big chickens so he’s going to live with the Pekins and Silkies until he’s bigger. This is probably wise as the hens are all beating him up, which is sadly only to be expected. Better it comes from hens their size than the Buff hens!

He’s called Xander as all the Buffs are named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (original, aren’t we?!) and although I had been hoping to call him Rupert, the fact that he leaps into arms whenever I’m around so I can protect him reminds me of Xander from the early seasons!

In other news, Willow has been broody for ages so I’ve bought some fertilised eggs to put under her: half a dozen Maran eggs and half a dozen Light Sussex, though those might be Maran crosses as the person I got them said that her ladies went walkies and she found them in with her Maran cockerel. Oops! Still, I don’t really mind, especially as I got a really good deal for them as a result!

I moved Mama Silkie out of the broody ark and into the Eglu with Xander and the other bantams and Silkies and having cleaned it out, put Willow in there yesterday morning. She wasn’t happy about the move, so I left her for the day to settle down and finally put the eggs under her in the afternoon. I hope she’s still sitting today! If all is successful, the eggs should hatch on or around 8 June.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Bitten!

Poor Snipe was the victim of a random attack yesterday when a dog pounced on her and came very close to completely puncturing her ear, if not ripping it altogether!

We were at the RWAS Smallholder & Garden Festival in Builth Wells and took the dogs with us as we knew we’d be out for 14/15 hours – far too long to lave the dogs alone in the kitchen!

They were far too excited when we arrived but once they calmed down and got used to the crowds, smells and other dogs, they behaved extremely well, apart from Midge’s determination to be top dog and “protect” us all from other dogs (whilst adopting their owners!). As the day progressed, even she relaxed and was just starting to accept that (a) we weren’t at threat from other dogs and, more importantly, (b) she wasn’t top dog anyway, when the worst happened. A sheepdog-cross launched an attack on her, clamping his jaws around her ear and dragging her about 6 feet before letting go!

And if that wasn’t bad enough, after a cursory “is your dog ok?”, the owners vanished into the crowds!

I always carry an antiseptic spray on me so was able to clean her up without too much trouble, especially as Snipe was in shock and for once didn’t protest as I mopped up the blood and sprayed her ear.

I cleaned it again when we got home and was relieved to discover that my initial fears that her ear was completely punctured were unfounded, and the skin has merely been grazed and torn, but only skin deep. Mind you, Snipe is the world’s greatest wimp and rolled onto her back, legs trembling, big brown eyes wide open, shaking as I gently cleaned the dried blood off with cold water and then applied more antiseptic! From the way she was acting, you’d think I was giving her stitches! She did the same this morning, and I’m pleased to report that it’s starting to heal already and (fingers crossed) there’s no sign of infection.

One thing I am extremely grateful for is that B had Midge when the attack happened and that I didn’t have them both, as I had done earlier in the day. I was obviously focused on Snipe, not Midge, but B said that our little terrier tried to throw herself at Snipe’s attacker, and probably would have tried to rip his throat out, but for the fact that not only did B have a strong grip on the lead, she also grabbed hold of her harness and more or less pinned her to the ground until it was all over.

So, the obvious consequence was that Snipe was terrified of other dogs, and Midge was convinced that they all other strange dogs were going to launch a repeat attack on her friend and so got in pre-emptive attacks. Lots of them. Luckily, they were restricted to barking furiously but it took a lot of work to inject some courage into the one whilst calming down the other. Walking them around worked best, and by the time we left, Snipe’s confidence was slowly returning and I successfully usurped Midge’s assumed role as The Boss. It will take a lot more work to get back to where we were, but I think we’ll get there.

In the mean time, Snipe’s trying to milk things for all they’re worth and doesn’t seem to understand why she didn’t get steak and sausages for breakfast!!

Looking back

It’s been a while since I posted any photos from our year living at my mother’s smallholding in West Wales, so I thought I’d break my blogging silence (no reason, just busy) with some of my favourites pics. There are quite a few, sorry about that!

The view from mum's front gate - 8 April 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 8 April 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 15 April 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 15 April 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 17 April 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 17 April 2008

The ponies, pigs and chickens all get their breakfast - 29 April 2008

The ponies, pigs and chickens all get their breakfast - 29 April 2008

Snipe decided to help us replace the guttering - 29 April 2008

Snipe decided to help us replace the guttering - 29 April 2008

Queenie - 4 May 2008

Queenie - 4 May 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 5 May 2008

The view from mum's front gate - 5 May 2008

Tia and Bob decide to use the entrance to the chickens' yard and house as the perfect snoozing place - 8 May 2008

Tia and Bob decide to use the entrance to the chickens' yard and house as the perfect snoozing place - 8 May 2008

Shutterfly the Section A yearling meets Stella the Kune Kune - 10 May 2008

Shutterfly the Section A yearling meets Stella the Kune Kune - 10 May 2008

Stella makes the perfect wallow - 10 May 2008

Stella makes the perfect wallow - 10 May 2008

Some of mum's Section A mares and foals - 13 May 2008

Some of mum's Section A mares and foals - 13 May 2008

Ted, mum's Section A stallion - 13 May 2008

Ted, mum's Section A stallion - 13 May 2008

Freedom for the chicks!

I opened the door of the broody ark yesterday afternoon and let Mama Silkie and her chicks venture out into the Pekin / Silkie chicken run.

Chicks - 10 May 2009

All that grass and they make straight for the bare earth!

The chicks were slightly overwhelmed and kept hiding in the long grass and Mama didn’t help matters by constantly abandoning her charges as she made up for nine weeks’ confinement, but they certainly enjoyed themselves and were furious when I shut them up again a few hours later. I didn’t mean to shut them up, but they all went back in and I thought it was an excellent opportunity to remind them where they live!

Chicks - 10 May 2009

I really hope the two Pekins on the left are female. Time will tell. Bet they're male!

Other than some initial curiosity, the other chickens were absolutely fine with their new companions, which was a relief. Mind you, the broody ark is in the run and they like to spend their days sunning themselves next to it, so the chicks aren’t exactly strangers to them.

And I’m glad I’ve been handling them every day as they are quite friendly and whilst they’re not exactly thrilled when they’re picked up, they don’t object (too much). The November lot are the complete opposite. Wild comes to mind… Oops, my bad!

At last, new wheels!

Well, it’s only taken several weeks (!!) but I’ve finally got a new set of wheels… and they even come with an engine and seats and other car-like things!

Amelia the Citroen Picasso - 9 May 2009

Amelia the Citroen Picasso - 9 May 2009

Amelia (named thanks to her number plate) is a Citroen Picasso, not my initial choice but the car’s had rave reviews and I’m anticipating some good miles to the gallon. She’s very spacious and the dogs fit comfortably in the boot with plenty of room to spare. I’m going to invest in a full height dog guard, then I can put the back seats down and use the floor space to cart the pigs’ veggies, bales of straw etc.

There’s no tow bar yet, but that’s being fitted next week. I’ve noticed a couple of things that the garage were meant to have sorted, so I’ll be going back tomorrow to get them fixed, but the miles I’ve done so far have gone really well. She’s very comfortable to drive, very smooth and quiet. She invites you to sit back and enjoy the ride, which I certainly intend to!

Hurrah for having new wheels!

Now I’ve just got to talk my insurance company into paying me the true value of my Suzuki, not the paltry 50% they are currently offering me!