Friday, August 26, 2011

Time to Make New Arrangements

It seems that the dogs have learned that it is fun to chase and bite sheep.  We are up to 3 serious bite wounds.  Sally (Franken-ewe) is doing her usual I-hurt-so-I-hide routine.  I am seriously spending the few daylight hours trying to find her.  My husband found her one day, but my stupidity let her back out, and then he left me to get her back in by myself. 

After struggling to lift her into a wheel barrow and thinking I was going to pull her leg right off (it's that bad), I just built her another one of my make-do shelters, shot her up with penicillin, fed her high energy food and try to hydrate her with electrolytes.  Last night, I went out to do a repeat performance, but she'd moved herself, and I just couldn't find her.  We have too many little hidey-holes in the subtropical forest. 

I am battling with maggots on the two ram lambs.  I clean it out each night, but there is no way to bandage where these wounds are and it being the end of summer, the flies are fierce.  Even fly spray isn't working. 

It's been discouraging and really, really disgusting. 

We don't have the heart to put down the dog, who is 11 but healthy, but he is being tied up for the first time in his life.  It's probably too sentimental.  I am not a person who thinks the dog is a person, but he's an oldish dog. 

With my husband not working, money is a problem - and part of me is thinking I should just sell the sheep.  He doesn't want to sell any of them or eat any of them and I could use the money I am spending caring for them on other bills.  I like how short they keep the pasture grass, and of course, for the first three weeks, lambs are wonderful, but sometimes, they are just discouraging.  That would mean I would also have to sell the horse, and put the other one down or out to pasture in the south of this island (another expense) because he is just not doing as well as I would like. 

It's been a long discouraging season on the animal front. 

Oops, there goes the bell for the end of lunch - time to get to class!


K-Koira said...

Things really aren't going your way at all right now.

My mom had a Basset Hound briefly that she ended up rehoming to a town home because of chasing the neighbor's sheep. But with an elderly dog you've had for years, that isn't really much of an option.

What do you have the sheep for? Are they for wool production, for meat, for milk, or just for fun? It sounds like the bites are bad enough that the expenses and care warrant butchering, unless the sheep are really just there as pets.

NancyDe said...

I thought the idea was milk (turned out to be fairly laughable with hair sheep - they are so skittish once they become mothers, even if they are in-your-face friendly as lambs) and meat, but my husband is a little wigged out about eating them - so I am giving penicillin shots every day after work and cleaning rather alarming wounds. I think taking them down to the processor is and excellent idea at this point. We had another sheep with a similar bite back in June and you can barely see a scar, so I know that the first few weeks are the very worst of this whole situation.

Chai Chai said...

Sorry to hear all the bad news. The old dog may not like being leashed up, you have a tough decision.

Treating all those wounds has to be difficult, I'll do the only thing I can to help - I'll pray for you.

NancyDe said...

Thanks, Chai Chai! Prayers are always appreciated!

K-Koira said...

Well, good luck with it. I did some sheep processing about a month ago, but one of the two was stone blind, making it seem a lot like a mercy to put her out of her misery.

The key is to keep the meat in the freezer until you no longer remember what piece was named what.

Good luck with healing them up, and hopefully your dog will learn to leave them alone!

NancyDe said...

I think the dog is going to have to be tied up pretty much all the time. We'll put him on a run line so he still gets most of his usual, non-predatory range. We actually have three dogs - two of them work in concert and the third just watches.

I have threatened to process the ram quite a few times. He almost got me again yesterday. I have stopped calling him Elvis - I like to think of him as "meat". He's five already, so probably not very tasty anyway.

Cassie said...

I am really sorry to hear about the sheep troubles, that is pretty rough. Treating bites is really difficult, especially on an animal that has no interest in letting you treat them. I work in a wound clinic now, and it is hard enough to get people to take care of their wounds properly let alone animals. Maggots are pretty gross, but some hospitals actually use a certain species of disinfected maggots to help clean out wounds, crazy, but true.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Oh boy Nancy your tropical farm has had some nasty animal problems. I'm sure you will figure it all out. I hope the sheep will be ok.