On Friday we had our first herd health check with our veterinarian Paul Schwab. Overall he thought that our older flock of sheep, donkeys, and goats were in surprisingly good shape, especially given their ages. He did try to help us with Billy, our large rescue wether. He apparently had a tear of his collateral ligament in his right ankle and has an unstable gait because of this. He used some Bovi-Bond to try to even the hoof and improve his gait. Here he is after the gluing.
Two days later it does seem to be helping. He is holding his ankle straighter now so hopefully he will be more comfortable. Part of the problem is that he is so big, there is a lot of weight on that joint. Here are my notes from the checkup:
These are the goats notes, and the sheep notes were on the other side. Basically it is a list of tasks I would like to accomplish to keep our animals healthy. I am thrilled to have a knowledgable large animal vet to help us with the struggles of an elderly herd of livestock.
Yesterday I worked, but I came home this morning with big plans for fruit and vegetable preservation. But when I went to the barnyard, my plans all changed. I heard the distinct sounds of chicks cheeping. I soon saw three little chicks with a black hen in front of the barn. More hay loft chicks! So I quickly had to clean out the weasel-proof chick pen to protect these little guys from predation. Then I was able to move them into the pen with relative ease.
I laid down fresh newspaper and shavings. I got fresh water and chicken feed for them. Tom went up to the hay loft and found the hidden nest. There was one dead chick that hadn’t emerged from its shell, but 8 eggs that might still be viable. So he brought them down, and I tried to make a nest for them. The hen did set on the eggs with the chicks which is an improvement from past experiences. It is still tenuous though if these eggs will hatch successfully.
One thing I noticed is that when the hen found the grain, she pluck pieces out, appeared to try to chew them into smaller pieces and deposit them on the ground for the chicks to eat. I have never seen this before. I tried to capture this in the video.
They seemed to be doing well.
When we did our herd health check on Friday, we had moved the cows into the barn. They managed to bust out, but I had picked up some peahen eggs to keep them from getting crushed under the cows’ hooves. I moved them to the chicken’s nesting area to protect them, and a chicken hen decided to set on them. Since the peahen was showing no interest in them I decided to let the chicken have a chance. This morning she was still setting on them. So there is a slight change we might have peachicks again.
With all of the extra animal chores this morning, my plans for produce work was waylaid. I guess on our farm, animals take precedence over vegetables. Maybe this evening I will get to the green beans and tomorrow morning back to the plums.
My health update: I am back on prednisone to see if it will help with my progressively worsening palpitations and shortness of breath. So far, it is just interfering with my ability to sleep though. I have a stress echocardiogram on Wednesday after I get my sixth COVID testing done tomorrow. Please send good thoughts/wishes/prayers that I might get a treatable diagnosis.