A post full of late winter sheep related ickiness - Tactical Ninja
Aug. 12th, 2013
09:28 am - A post full of late winter sheep related ickiness
Yay, I am back at work and more or less back to normal. Well, where normal includes not really being able to do anything without coughing up a lung, but I'm feeling a lot better and now it's just a matter of waiting for my lungs to catch up. I am supposed to be training today but I just called DoomBoy for a professional opinion because my boss was telling me horror stories of people who trained too hard too soon after being that sick and ended up dropping dead. Eep!
Anyway, on Saturday I did end up doing the sheep. Luckily there were only 5 (and a wee baby lamb), and they didn't put up much of a fight. Still, by the end of it I was far more tired than I should be. I just can't seem to get enough oxygen. Huh. I had been warned before going out there that one of the ewes had a bearing, and I suspected that I'd be expected to put it back in. This is the gross side of animal husbandry. And because Dana was visiting, she came along and took some photographs.
So it was a normal belly crutch job, which is relatively common in winter - it helps the sheep stay clean through lambing and also makes it easier for lambs to find the teat if there's no wool around the udder. Although, this guy had left it a bit late since there was one lamb already. You can see in this pic that the sheep were quite in need, a couple even needed eyewigging:
Also, you can see the one with the bearing. A bearing is basically a prolapsed vagina. Sometimes the whole uterus prolapses, but mostly it happens like this. There is no one causal factor for these, but correlating factors in descending order of relvance include being full of lambs (late pregnancy particularly with multiples), having a lot of internal fat, having a full rumen, having a full bladder, and there is some evidence for calcium deficiency as well but this isn't confirmed. So any or all of these factors combined and bingo - great red lump of meat hanging out of the sheep. I think there's also a genetic predisposition. Anyway, once they've done it they will do it again with every pregnancy pretty much, so the best you can do is fix it as well as possible for the time being and let them rear their lamb, then cull them. It's the kindest thing to do.
First I dealt with the others:
I included this photo because look at my nice straight back! Mmmm good shearing posture...
The owner of the sheep had gone to Wrightson's the night before and got a bearing retainer. It looks like this:
More or less. Our ones didn't have the straps, instead using clips to attach directly on to the sheep's wool. Anyway, the idea with this thing is that the 'tongue' part sits inside the sheep and holds everything where it should be, preventing it from being expelled, and the two bars sit against the sheep's rear end and are tied in place. Pretty simple tech, and relatively effective. But first you have to get the bearing back in. The thing is, once that's out there it completely cuts off the urethra, so the sheep can't pee. We know this ewe had been like this for at least 18 hours so her bladder was full. The first thing to do when replacing a bearing is to lift it up and allow the bladder to empty. Then you very gently push the bearing back inside the sheep until everything's back where it should be. For this, it helps to have short nails and small hands. ;-/ And a large bucket of warm soapy water for repeated washing.
The sheep, naturally, isn't keen on this procedure at all - it's unpleasant to say the least, and they will strain against you, and you can't push against the straining because you risk injuring the sheep. This one took three tries to get it back in.
Once it's back in, you can hold it there with one hand while inserting the tongue of the retainer along under your hand, then tie it on:
This was actually set a bit high and the ewe managed to push it out again (they get cramps from this sort of interference just like people do), so we repeated the procedure and reset it lower, so hopefully it'll hang in there till she lambs. They are supposed to be able to lamb around the retainer, but I suggested the owner keep a sharp eye on her and remove it for lambing if he can, because hard plastic plus heaving internal organs plus baby lamb sounds like a recipe for injury and infection. The fact is, there are no real guarantees with this kind of problem and treatment. The retainer has about a 50% chance of being effective, the ewe has about a 50% chance of producing a healthy lamb, and about a 50% chance of surviving herself. It's an unpleasant business all round. But we've done what we can and hopefully she'll lamb within the next few days.
Meanwhile, on a lighter note, dogs love dags:
Apparently they are like chewing gum. That is totally not a guilty look, I think it's more of an "Oi, don't steal my noms" look.
Also over the weekend, I finished the tabard. 2,000 scales, and I think I have enough left over to make not only a codpiece, but also possibly a bikini as well. Any takers to be the lucky recipients?
It weighs about 3.5kg which isn't as heavy as I expected. It isn't heavy enough to completely prevent flying with it, for example, and I'm pretty sure I've had boots that weighed more than that. I don't think wearing it will tire me out, which is nice. And it has the added advantage that I'm relatively safe from sword-wielding bandits as well! ;-) Now to put the finish on the armour (which has also completed the weathering stage) and put that together, and finish the gauntlets, and then I will be pretty close to done.
I have a small male mannequin that stands in my office at work (don't ask), known as The Hoff. I am wondering if I should take The Hoff home to put this outfit on rather than keeping it in bags and boxes. Hmm.. walking through town carrying a naked male mannequin. Fun!
Also, Dr Wheel is home tonight! *glomps dr wheel* I missed him lots and soon he will be home yayayayayayaay! ;-D