Sunday, 9 September 2007

Orf and "Anything you can do, I can do better!"

It would appear that we are not the only ones to get a tractor stuck. Our friends from the farm that sounds like is should be asleep, were cutting a hedge with the hedge trimmer on the back of their Nuffield tractor, when it decided it wanted to lay down against the hedge for a nap!!! Seriously though a dip in the field made the tractor tip ever so slowly. Thankfully no one was injured. But we all had a good laugh at their expense.
The truck went in for it's MOT on Monday and it failed on brake pipes and brake discs. The garage wanted a £1000.00 to do the work. Needless to say Tim is doing the work, to date the brake lines have been done and we await the arrival of the brake disc. They have tested the detective skills of the motor factors to find them!!! Hopefully they arrive on Monday.
On Saturday morning Denise was doing the feeding up of the alpacas and sheep, when she notices that Cassie had some nasty looking scabs on the sides of her mouth. It's Orf or thistle prick and not something from the Lord of the Rings, they are Orks. It's infectious but easily treatable and all sheep get it at some point and then have a good resistance to it. The problem is to ensure that we do not get the infection as it is easily transferable, hygiene is of the up most importance.
The good news is that Defra have lifted the 20 day standstill and so Richard and Steph, fellow smallholders, who we owe 2 sheep to for the selling of Dan the young male alpaca, came to visit today to choose their 2 lambs. They are not bothered about the Orf and we have medication, so no problems. The chose 2 lovely Corridale ewes lambs, one a lovely brown and one with mottled markings, we know they are going to good homes. Steph liked Amy's daughter, but she is so small, that if they mated her to their tup, who is a Teeswater, it would cause problems for her. One thing Richard and Steph were able to advise us on is the quality of our grass, we have very little clover and herbage within our grass, so the suggestion is that we have some of their hay, which contains seed heads from their meadow hay and once the sheep start to eat it will spread the seed via their poo and what they spill from the hay rack. If this works we will look at green hay next year.
Tim managed to get some more of the ditch dug out today, he's put the extension on the digger so he can stand the tractor on firm land and reach further into the bog to dig the ditch without getting stuck, so far it's working.
The alpaca girls that get delivered next weekend are getting used to the trailer, Tim has been moving their feed trough into the trailer bit by bit, so it is not strange to them when we deliver them next weekend.
Next weekend there is also a farm sale that we are keen to go to, they've got lots of sheep equipment for sale, how much and if any we buy will depend on price and what it looks like. But we'll never know unless we go and see. Will post more after we have been next week.
The Wiltshire Horn ewe lambs we got lest year are settling in and looking well.
So what does next week hold for us, well we will have to give all the ewe lambs tablets for Orf and keep a watch on all the other sheep, though tonight Dougal lamb has scabs on the corners of his mouth, so it looks like we will have to treat the ewes as well. But we will keep watching them. You can only treat for Orf if you have got it, you can't carry out a preventative programme, as the treatment is to use the Orf vaccine itself, which will give the sheep Orf. Denise will also ring our homeopathic practitioner to get a spray to put in the drinking water of the ewes and lambs. More news next week on our progress on dealing with Orf.
Paperwork as always is something that needs dealing with on a regular basis and with the problems of foot and mouth, we have not had our yearly inspection by the National Scrapie Programme, but as they are only testing ram lambs this year, there will be no visit. One less thing to worry about at the moment.
More next week

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