Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Poo under the microscope

Yesterday was mainly spent collecting poo from some of the cattle and the breeding herd of horses. 12 cattle samples and 12 horse samples were collected, which took over 5 hours!..

Today the analysing of the poo was done! The main reason for the poo collection and analysis is to keep an eye on the worm count in the grazing animals. The animals here aren't wormed, but they still need to occasionally be checked. I don't think there has ever been any serious problems with them, but it's definitely worth keeping checking every month or so. The pictures below show a bit of the set up of the analysis!

First you create a kind of poo solution, and then look at it under the microscope! It's a pretty straightforward procedure, though the quantities of each 'ingredient' is really important to get right, otherwise the worm count won't actually be representative. For the koniks, you look for a type of worm egg, whereas in the cattle you look for this same worm egg and an additional worm egg and worm type.

Also today, I was able to do my second session of data collection for my project! The bulls were actually a bit more active than on Monday, which was useful for getting a bit more data. I noticed a few things again that I need to change on my data sheet, but hopefully soon I'll have the finished thing!.. There were 2 short-eared owls flying around on Harrisons and 1 came so close to me, it was great! Yesterday when we were out collecting poo, there was also a barn owl over on Guinea Hall, as well as a marsh harrier and hen harrier over on Bakers. I'm gradually learning my birds - Wicken Fen is a great place to be able to practise!

Thanks for reading.

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