Monday, 23 April 2012

7 born, 6 more to go...

I realise that it's been quite a while since I've posted on here so sorry to anyone that's been on and was left wondering what's been going on in the world of grazing at Wicken Fen recently. As the heading to this suggests, we now have 7 foals in the breeding herd of koniks (3 of which were only born in the past few days) and 6 more are possibly still on their way. Here are pictures of all of them - any that are lying down are not dead, however much they might look it, they're just enjoying a little rest in the sunshine!

Gracie and foal!

Krieka and foal (and possible father on far right!)

Napia and foal!

Octavia and foal (Lucky)

Oriola's foal (she'd fallen asleep and Oriola had wandered off grazing)

Willow and foal!

Yara and foal (Iris).

All of the foals seem to be doing well, though the first week for all of them is a bit touch and go, so we'll find out over the course of the week how the 3 little ones from this weekend get along. Hopefully they'll all be fine though! When I went out to do the checks this morning, the breeding herd were very hyped up, with lots of the stallions pushing their weight around and a few trying to guard some of the females. I think it'll be interesting with Willow and her foal, as she isn't actually part of a harem at the moment, and so there isn't a specific stallion guarding them and pushing others away. She seemed to be doing a pretty good job at it herself this morning, but it is possible that a little harem might form with her, the foal and one or two of the stallions. 

Apart from all the new arrivals, Flynn, Ralph and Peat have all had injuries. Ralph was found with quite a deep wound on the top of his right leg a few weeks ago. It's thought maybe another stallion caught it with it's teeth or kicked at him. It's healing well though and he hasn't seemed bothered by it. Flynn's injury was potentially more serious as a few days after noticing him limping, Carol also noticed an infection breaking through the skin on the inside of his right leg. As the infection came from the inside, it was possible that his joint was infected, which apparently often ends with the horse having to be euthanased. The vet, Andy, sent some antibiotics to us but thankfully they haven't had to be used and he definitely seems to be on the mend, which is great! A few days ago, Peat was found with his nostril torn - this has happened to a couple of the other stallions, and looks quite nasty but they heal quickly. Peat's has done this, and looks a lot better than last week, and again he doesn't seem bothered at all! He's making sure that he's as much of a hassle as he can be though with Krieka having just foaled. Krieka is in Eric's harem though Peat is often found hanging around with his group and herding them all up.   

Everything with the other animals seems to be going well at the moment. The horses on Verralls are starting to be able to enjoy some sunshine and make the most of it by sprawling themselves on the ground soaking up as much as possible. The cows are quite similar, being very relaxed most of the time and enjoying the easy quiet life. This will change soon however, as this summer a breeding herd of cattle will be formed! Carol has been organising the whole process, which is a lot to do, and soon it will be started. I think the bulls and cows are going to be joined together around September (hopefully I'll still be here to see it!) so things will kick off a bit then I'm sure... But in the meanwhile, the girls are enjoying a life away from the boys and their antics. The bulls over on Harrisons are all well, though a couple are starting to show signs of having lice. Tansley, one of the reds has quite noticeable bald patches on his flank, though they don't seem to be bothering him. It's normal for some of them to get lice and as long as it doesn't get too extensive, or the animal starts losing condition, then we just monitor it. 

So I think that's about all for the update on the animals! Thanks for reading.  

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