Friday, 27 February 2009


The picture above sums up how I feel, after 9 nights in a row of checking the goats three times a night at 11pm, 2am and five am, getting up at half six and doing the morning routine before work I feel like I might wake up with an unfinished tale and the keyboard stuck to my face.

Juliet has hung on and failed to deliver the goods and so we got ready for work slightly earlier than usual because I am delivering some training to some newbies, have to be there on time and all that. Just as we were setting off The Technohermit rang.

Now its a clear sign that at feeding time if any of your animals are missing they are either lost or in trouble. The Ryelands seldom miss their appointment at the trough so this morning when three were missing the alarm bells rang. A quick search of our side of the hill proved fruitless and as it was vital I was actually at work for once we called off the search and tried not to worry.

Mad Keith had spotted one of our sheep on his side of the hill on its side and bleeding, he thought it was giving birth and thankfully phoned us. Rene was press ganged into doubling as a makeshift ambulance and Roxy was found just up the hill from The Technohermit's abode. Now I am a firm believer in Karma, had we not befriended and helped this pensioner who has lived in the same spot he first dug it out of the hill in 1964 he would not have thought, perhaps, to tell us of Roxie's distress.

And she was certainly distressed, an hour and a half later after much traumatic pushing it was clear that it was all going horribly wrong and a strange aroma was emanating from her behind. The only way to resolve it was to give her a hand, literally, so the poor animal was subjected to a few minutes of my amateurish fishing around in her insides and slowly I pulled out a very dead lamb. From the smell and condition of the poor mite it had died a while ago and nature was taking its course with Roxy spontaneously aborting it. This solved the mystery of her giving birth today as she was about three weeks early and had showed none of the signs that she was due to birth and had no milk.

She was by now in a right state so we injected her with antibiotics and made her as comfortable as possible, and I am happy to report that after a day of sleeping heavily with Tracey watching over her (she took the day off) she is munching on fresh hay and looking very much healthier. Had we not been able to fetch her and help her out she would have died on the hill, Sheepskull lane on our bonsai mountain has that name for a very obvious reason.

I am however, not happy to report that since getting home Meg looks pretty close to lambing and now both goats are oozing goo from their nether regions and looking like they are in a race. I think its going to be a long night. Thank God its the weekend!

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