thermometers and cattle crushes

Thank you very much for all the comments on yesterday’s post. It was a long innings with the vet and totally dark by the time we finished, we were down to torch light for the last few tasks.  We had various prognoses (is that how I spell the plural?) with a variety of species.

One of the medium sized steers, aged about 17 months, is a very poor doer and failing to thrive, we think it is unlikely to get better but we are giving a course of AB just in case it is turns out to be something simple, although both we and the vet doubt it.

Some of the rest of the cattle, both of middle size and smaller, are afflicted with a high temperature and respiratory infection. The vet treated 3 yesterday and after a long trip by yours truly to get more meds, from the surgery this morning, we are going to treat the rest this afternoon. We have put the smaller cattle crush, to hold them firmly and safely while we examine each one, back in place in the yard and attached the weigh crate so we can weigh every animal and check their temperature and if necessary give the exact dose of medication. If they do not have a raised temperature we will just watch them carefully over the next few days. Every individual ear tag and every batch number and withdrawal date of each medicine will be recorded on the medicine data base.

The lame ram is now on different AB, and his granulated wound is poulticed, which is to be changed every 2 days. Again we and the vet do not know if he will recover but we are all prepared to try. We have other rams to use this year so will still have lambs but he is the only Dorset Down ram that we have and we wanted to know how this cross would work on our flock.

Just before the vet arrived I checked on the pigs and piglets. My nose reported me there was a potentially serious problem with the latest one to farrow and I did not have time to take her temperature as a check before the vat came. However, when we had finished all the cattle the vet checked her and owing to what happened last week and the fact that she did indeed have a raised temperature (although she was still eating well) she too is on a course of AB. Like her sister, from last week, though there was no obvious sign of metritis or mastitis.

In reply to a comment yesterday, we are not aware that any of our animals are resistant to AB, as we only use AB when we absolutely have to and unfortunately we do seem to suddenly have had more illness in the animals in the last 10 days than we have done for many years. Just the way it goes I guess and it probably won’t happen again as I mentioned yesterday no season is ever the same and I’d like to stress again that we are an extensively run system with a low stocking density and low inputs. The majority of our animals would never ever receive even a single dose of AB during their whole lives.

While I have been typing today’s entry the meat hygiene report has arrived electronically for the two pigs dispatched this morning. In the old days they were walked to market in the hope of a sale, nowadays we sell them in advance, before driving, by road, to the abattoir and most of the paperwork is done on-line through BPEX. The wonders of technology.

Makes me think though that all this blogging and IT is becoming almost second nature to a huge number of us now. The convenience and speed of it all helps the modern world, especially here as the majority of the farm orders from tractor parts and eartags to nails and fuel are now conducted on-line ( and at any time of day or night) saving so much ‘down time’ for Jethro.

On Sunday I watched a BBC programme called Survivors  (I missed episode 2 though) and one of the characters pointed out that many people in the changed (fictional) world would be unable to manage on their own; could they kill a pig, milk a cow, grow food etc? The answer from here is of course yes we can and do or could do all of these things. But I still wonder if we can interest the next generation in really learning all of these things. The average age of farmers is still rising and has been for the last 10 years or more.



Filed under Country Life, food and farming, rural musings, Life

4 responses to “thermometers and cattle crushes

  1. That sounds like a lot of hard work on top of the regular stuff, not to mention expense. Hope all is well soon.

  2. Hope all the jabs are working well especially for the new mother pig.

  3. Ha, found you. Thanks for posting your address on purplecoo.
    It sounds as if you are having a hard time there. do hope the treatment is effective and everything is ok. I do agree that most people would be helpless if they had to start producing their own food. I am not sure I would be great but do already grow most of our own veg and have eggs and am pretty sure I could kill chickens. Somewhat scarier to get onto the big stuff!

  4. Yup, I’m here too! Yes, we were thinking the same thing re Survivors….. Mind you, we’d have to rely on game and my husband is a lousy shot!
    Your blog looks really informative and interesting – going to have a good old root around now (in good piggy fashion).

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