Monday, 28 May 2012

A couple of hoof trimmings

Hope you are all enjoying the sunshine!
Last Thursday Andy the vet came in to hoof trim a couple of the cows on Bakers. We had spent the week before baiting the cows over to the corrall, so that on the day itself, we could make sure that we were able to round them all up and get them where we wanted them. To bait them, we take in the RTV and cattle feed and call them over to where we want them. Once they catch onto the idea that 'calling+RTV = food', they're pretty good at coming to call.
So on Thursday morning, Carol and I popped out and called the girls over to the corrall and got the ones sorted that we needed to. Malda 1 (the girl below!) needed to have her GPS collar taken off as it's stopped working (as have a couple of the others which is a bit worrying...) so she was given a bit of sedation before it was removed and was let out the crush.

After Malda 1's collar was removed, Black Myra was the first cow to have her hooves trimmed. It was decided that the best way to do it was to completely knock her out with sedative and then hoof trim her when she was lying down, with a couple of people holding her hooves/horns so no-one got hit with them at any point!

Black Myra mid-sedated! The front of her collapsed before the back end did...


As you can see it wasn't exactly a delicate process. Andy mainly used an angle grinder and a saw was als used for some of the hooves! It doesn't cause them any pain though if you cut a bit too far up the nail then it hits the live nail, which then bleeds lots. Only one of Myra's hooves did that thankfully, and none of the 2nd girls, Griannach. 

So after B.Myra had her hooves done, she was let out - she kind of staggered out as she was still very sleepy! Griannach then was moved down the corrall where we wanted her (which took a while as she was being very stubborn) and the same process happened to her. She took a lot less time to be affected by the sedative but was knocked out by it for a lot longer!  

Once Griannach's hooves were done, a few of us stayed with her for a while just to make sure she came out of the sedation ok. It took her the rest of the day, but eventually she did!..

In the afternoon, there was a grazing forum meeting, which was mainly talking about all the animal movements that are going to be happening over the next year. This summer, the bulls and cows are going to be rejoined together and also some cattle are moving over to verralls (5 from Bakers and 3 from Harrisons). Hopefully this will all be happening in June, though no dates are confirmed yet. Then next summer, there will be both cattle and ponies heading over to Burwell Fen. Also in the meantime, some kind of crossing will (hopefully) be built across Harrisons Drove, giving the animals access from bakers to harrisons and joining those 2 areas together.

So a lot will be changing with the animals soon, so if you notice changes in numbers of herds around the fen, then that's why! Thanks for reading.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Horses in the ditch

Hope you are having good weeks! Things have been getting slightly more summer-like over the past couple of days, and with the warmer weather the grazing animals are able to enjoy a bit more sunshine.

Over on Verralls we've had 2 horses falling into a ditch over the past week. Thankfully both have managed to haul themselves out at drinking points, though we still needed to go over and check on them afterwards and make sure they rejoin the rest of the herd and are alright. Last week it was Percy who fell in and this week it was Tommy. Both are absolutely fine and had quite a nice swim before getting out! It is stressful for them though, so in both cases it was great that they got out the ditch so fast. We have had a couple in the past who we've found in a ditch when they've been in for quite a few hours, and they are just so exhausted then. Apart from those 2, all the others have been fine and well. George (the foal) has been extra-friendly over the past few weeks, so it's nice when he always comes over to say hello to us. His mum Nadia, who has been in quite a poor condition, seems to be doing a bit better, though we are a bit concerned that she is going to foal again in the summer. Ideally she won't, as I don't know if she has enough weight on her to get her through another winter with a new foal, but we'll make a decision as to what to do when (and if) the time comes. The picture below shows her at the moment - she looks thin but we are checking on her daily and ensuring that her condition isn't dropping any further.

On Adventurer's fen, the cycle path towards priory farm is being worked on for the next few weeks - we're trying to get rid of any bottle-necking that happens for the herds, so the crossing points for them are being extended. This'll make it better for the grazing animals and the public. So at the moment, the cows and the breeding herd of koniks are all fenced into Bakers and being kept out of guinea hall. It's a rather long stretch of electric fencing - I have definitely realised that electric fencing and barbed wire are both really awkward to put up!

There haven't been any new additions to the breeding horses. One of the mares, Meg, is starting to look like she may foal soon. She's hanging quite heavy and her udders have started to bag up, so possibly there will be another new little one quite soon! Apart from her, I think the next ones are expected from June onwards, so there'll be a little break from foaling for a few weeks. The other new ones are all doing well though. Willow's little foal (who is now called Joey) has brightened up a lot. We were worried about him at first as he was so small and was born in a week of awful weather, but he has survived! He has however got a few things that are a bit strange about him. He's got dummy foal syndrome, which is basically when he has his tongue stuck out at random times, and hasn't got control over it most of the time. He can look quite funny with it, but it can be a serious problem if it prevents him grazing properly (which at the moment doesn't seem to be thankfully). He also has quite a scabby back and hind legs, though again we are monitoring this and ensuring that his condition doesn't drop, which it doesn't seem to be. So apart from those 2 things he is a bright and very friendly foal! I'll update you with how he's doing next week.

Thanks for reading.