So just when I think I know what I am doing….

I am belittled, and an animal suffers from my ignorance.  I was feeling pretty good when I delivered Mona’s breech lamb, but today I am crushed.  I brought my bunnies to their mothers to be fed, and one of them attacked one of the bunnies.  Both Tom and I have been bit by these mothers so I tried to get her to move away from the bunny by using a kennel to try and get her into it.  I was afraid of being bit again.  By the time I got her in the kennel, I saw the blood and a paralyzed little red bunny.  I put the bunny in a different kennel and brought him/her to the house crying as hard as I ever have.  I explained to Tom what happened and then remembered the other bunnies were still with the violent rabbit. I ran back to the barn while Tom cleaned the bunny’s wound.  The other bunnies were fine, and I collected them and put them back in their cages.  Then went to check on Tom and the bunny.  There’s an open wound to the right of the spine and there’s no movement in either of the rear legs.  We left him alone a little, but then I put antibiotic cream and a bandage over the wound.  I fed him a bottle which he took some of and fed the bottle bunny we already have.  I put them together to keep each other warm and for company and will hope for the best.

I then went to check on the other bunnies again and the chicks.  One of the bunnies had a pasted butt, and some of the chicks did too.  So I cleaned some poopy butts off.  Here’s some of the chicks nervous about this.  Our peacock got out the other day and he landed on the feed shed while I was cleaning butts.  Here he is:

In the background to the right of the shed, there’s Tom filling in a trench we had dug two years ago when this field was flooding.  On Thursday the Department of Ecology official came onto our property when I was in the field alone doing chores.  He had noticed earlier in the day that I had sheep in this field.  I had been rotating them from one field into another and when he “visited” I had already moved them into a different field.  I was upset that he had come through two gates and 2 fields in my mind trespassing without our permission.  He said it was his department’s policy to “make contact” with “violators” rather than contacting them via phone, email, etc.  I told him very clearly that I do not appreciate unannounced visits, and he left.  It is weird, but I felt somewhat violated by the visit.  There was another man who is a stranger to me with him, and I felt my privacy had been invaded.  When Tom came home I told him about it, and he was naturally upset.  He called the DOE official and never heard back.  He then called the Conservation official who is supposed to be an intermediary between farmers and the DOE.  He told Tom that the DOE has no right to make unannounced visits, and he had already heard complaints from three other families who had similar visits the same day.  He said he would call the official and remind him that this is not to occur. So Tom is filling in these trenches so we can put animals back on this pasture and not have any excuse for this official to make similar intrusions.  Plus we are locking our front gate.

So then I had breakfast (at around 1 PM), the bunny was still acting OK (although paralyzed), and I started recovering from the morning.  Then we went to do the previously interrupted animal chores, and Tom found one of our pack llamas dead.  It was Chance, the one with the pretty wool who was a challenge to shear.  He said it looked like he had been vomiting poop.  He said he had been fine yesterday and had eaten well.  So  once again crying and upset that I do not know how to take care of animals.  He had just had his CDT shot and was wormed.  He was a little thin after the winter but feeding well.  We had just bought them in the fall and he was about 10-years old.  So Tom is out dealing with the llama’s body, and I am back to being belittled by this farming thing.

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26 Responses to So just when I think I know what I am doing….

  1. This is one of those times when you just don’t know what to say. I am a do’er and a fixer and if I can’t do it or fixit I can’t deal with it. Dealing with life, we must also deal with death. We can always say we tried our best, and if you hadn’t you couldn’t really say anything and I think that would be even worse. Does that make any sense? Neither does life. But the sun will still come up tomorrow and the animals will need fed, and the stalls will need cleaned, new life will begin and others will end and life goes on.

    • Thanks for your response. I was going to comment on your gorgeous greenhouse but got sidetrack by my own self-absorption. Now I have a paralyzed bunny to try to take care of.

  2. Teresa says:

    What a horrible day. Luckily the sun will set and tomorrow will begin anew. Good luck with the bunny.

    • Thanks Teresa. I would like today to end, and hopefully tomorrow will be better. The bunny is doing OK. Still paralyzed in the back legs but scooting around and bottle feeding fairly well.

  3. klefevre says:

    I am so sorry you’re having such a time, Donna. I will try to keep good thoughts headed your way. It seems like one thing seems to top others during times like this. I am so sorry for the loss of your llama.

    Re: the DOE guy…hmmm…maybe there is something good about here in AZ. We can still pack a pistol and shoot people trespassing who make a move towards us, threatening our lives. Heck…you can walk down the middle of town here with a .45 strapped to you hip and it’s a normal thing. but then, that’s AZ. 😉

  4. sheepsclothing says:

    Wow. Sorry to hear about the little bunny and Chance. That is really sad. And the DOE to top it all off. So is their issue the trench you dug for drainage? How does that make you a “violator”?

    • Thanks Denise. And yes, his issue is that the 6 inch deep trenches pollute the waters of Washington State because we had three rams in the 1 acre field pooping where the trenches drain into a roadside ditch then goes across a 150 acres cattle field (with 50-60 head of cattle in it) then into the Samish River. Go figure! The owner of the cattle won’t let him onto her property and threatened to throw him in the creek. I should have done that too!

      • sheepsclothing says:

        Yeah, I’ve been wondering why they give you so much flak, when there are all those cattle across the street, pretty much right up to the banks of the Samish??? Definitely lock the gate.

      • Denise, I am not sure why we are getting the extra attention either. It may be because we are quite visible here, or because we were nice originally and let him on the property and our neighbor did not. The gate is locked though, and the trenches filled in.

  5. Michelle says:

    Donna, you have every reason to feel devastated and violated, but not belittled! You do a great job, but you are dealing with living organisms, not machines. Things happen that are NOT YOUR FAULT. Take comfort in all the other creatures in your care that are still thriving. That little bunny is blessed to have you as his doctor!

    • Thanks Michelle. I just feel so stupid some times. I wish I had not have worried about getting bit again and grab him quicker. But the damage was probably already done since we can only find the one bite. But I am embarrassed I was concerned about myself and not him. But I really did not think she was biting him, just stepping on him. Live and learn I guess….And our llamas do not have a good life expectancy here, and I am not sure why.

  6. Jody says:

    I can understand why you feel so upset. I know this is a part of owning animals but it’s still a hard pill to swallow at times. My best to the little bunny 🙂

  7. Jackie Craw says:

    I am sorry about the bunny and Chance. What a blow! I know with our llamas, they are so stoic. You don’t know anything is wrong sometimes until it is very serious, and too late. When we were raising meat rabbits, there were times the does would be vicious too. I did not enjoy raising the rabbits all that much. Don’t get discouraged. You take excellent care of all your animals. There is not a more caring animal owner than you!!! About the DOE guy, what a JERK! I’m sorry you have to deal with all that too. I’m glad your gate is locked. Probably armed security personnel patrolling your property would help too. I’m also sending a HUG.

    • Thanks Jackie. It sounds like you know what I am talking about with the rabbits and llamas. But hopefully you won’t regarding the DOE. I appreciate the hug and comments.

  8. kristi says:

    Sometimes all the issues seem to happen at once and its like a watershed but for some insane reason it makes us stronger in the long run and with better perspectives on how this whole farming thing comes together. I hope the rest of the week shines brighter for you;)

    • Thanks Kristi. I did have another bunny die this morning in my arms. It looks like it was a bladder obstruction. The paralyzed bunny is doing OK, and I am bottle feeding 2 others too. On a better note, our Angora doe kidded without incident this evening, and the other llamas seems fine. So maybe things are getting better.

  9. Tammy says:

    So sorry to hear about your horrible day. As regards the DOE guy, it sounds like he is just harrassing you, probably as you mentioned because you were nice to begin with. Sad. That is terrible about the llama, what a shock to discover that. Finding a critter dead unexpectedly is always a devastating blow. For the little bunny, I hope that he recovers. I had a ram go down once (fight w/another ram) and he was down for two weeks. We (the vet and I) figured he had probably gotten some sort of fracture in his spine. Regardless, the vet said two to three weeks was the time frame of healing for an injury such as that, and sure enough, just when I was ready to give up the ram staggered up for the first time after about three weeks. Anyway, not the same sort of injury, but I’m praying that if the cord itself isn’t damaged that it might just be from swelling from the initial injury. Take care,

    • Thanks Tammy. I appreciate the comments. Wouldn’t that be nice if the bunny recovered. I am not hopeful, but he did seem to be able to empty his bladder on his own last night so maybe there’s some function returning.

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