Sheep drugs

A vet’s surgery in a very small rural town is an interesting place to be. I called into ours today to pay for Friday’s call-out and get some drugs in to treat No. 28 as I haven’t seen any sign of placenta yet.

Spring being the season of animal births, there were several farmers there, who, like me had come to stock up on treatments for their animals. One guy took away a whole boxful of the suppositories that I administered to my ewe. Smallholders and farmers treat their animals as much as they can themselves. You can’t be calling the vet out for every injection you need to give. Vets are only for emergencies and the skilled things that you can’t possibly do yourself. I need to inject No. 28 with 10 mls (that’s a lot!) of anti-biotic for the next 5 days and give her a small oral dose of a very herby concoction. Today we mixed it into her sheep pellets, but she wasn’t having it. We’ll have to get it into her mouth in a needleless syringe tomorrow. The injecting bit was fine. The only tricky bit is catching her to start with! But once Chris had a good hold, like the llamas, she simply gave up and waited to die and I got the needle into her shoulder muscle, no problem. I’m being very careful. We’re giving her penicillin which I’m extremely allergic to! One false move and Chris will need a new wife.

The veterinary nurse rummaged around in the pile of invoices on the desk to find mine. The surgery is very trusting, this being a small town, and know you’ll turn up at some point to pay. From the look of them, some of the other invoices had been there quite a while.

There weren’t just farmers there. There was a very typical older French lady with her Frou-Frou i.e. lap dog, waiting to see the small animal vet. Both owner and dog were very elegant.

I fell somewhere in the middle between the two sets of customers. We’re not proper farmers but we have large livestock. But we don’t have pampered pets either. Ours pretty much fend for themselves! Actually, that’s not quite true. We look after them properly and keep them fed, wormed and loved. Also I wasn’t in wellies like the farmers but I wasn’t quite elegant. I was in my

Pregnant No. 27 in the foreground

going-out clothes. Chris and I literally only have one set of these each We spend most of our life in outdoor scruffies, some of it in cycling gear and a very small percentage of it in outfits that, aptly enough, are fit to go out in. It’s quite a joke with the kids. If they see me appear in my hippie patchwork trousers, they know I’m heading off somewhere where I’ll encounter members of the public. Once when I turned up to a meeting at Ruadhri’s school, he remarked: “I knew you’d be wearing those clothes.” Possibly it would be nice to have another pair of best trousers but there are always other things that take priority, like food and sheep drugs.

And talking of sheep again, I was convinced No. 27 was going into labour last night since she was restless and panting a lot. I checked her every hour until about 3 am when I lost the will to live through sheer exhaustion and crashed out, but Chris took over from 5am. And she hasn’t given birth during the day, so it could be another tiring night. I’m determined not to lose any more lambs. Fingers crossed things will go well.