The week beginning the 4th of June 2011.
Saturday the 4th
cows in the lane

I had another picture of a big trapped rat, but I thought better of it.  Perhaps I've posted enough of them?

These are the cows, hungry after being left to clean up the House Paddock, now on their way into Flat 2.

Sunday the 5th

The bathroom spider, with a wasp I whacked for her to eat.

Monday the 6th

There was a green beetle crawling over the lovely red Hibiscus flower on my desk, so I threw it up to the spider this evening, then took lots of pictures!

I hadn't realised, before looking at the photos, that there was more to the jaws than the thick reddish-brown large parts.  The sharp black pointy ends look pretty nasty!  Especially if you're an unlucky green beetle.

Wednesday the 8th
a sick mouse

Finan brought this mouse in to the living room last night, then let it get lost under my outside jeans, which were folded on the floor near my boots.  This morning it was still there and it didn't move much when I uncovered it.  It doesn't look well.  There's quite a lot of rat poison around, which I presume the mice have also been eating.

It has such perfect, tiny toes.

Irene 35 aborting her calf

This was a disappointing sight today, when I went to check on the cows in the Camp Paddock: Irene 35 aborting a long-dead baby.  Irene has Neospora (caught from her mother before she was born), but this is the first time she's lost a pregnancy.  Coincidentally (is it really?) it's also the first year in which I haven't treated her with the Homeopathic Nosode for Neospora.  I don't know if the remedy works or not, but I wish I'd given it to her this year.

I took the 37 cows in to the yards and gave them their annual Leptospirosis vaccination, this year again via the 7in1 vaccine which also protects against five Clostridial diseases.  Most of the young cows have been having 7in1 every year since they were calves, but for some of the older cows, it's effectively just the Lepto protection they're getting from it.

539 has had a slight limp, favouring one front foot for a few days, so while they were in the yards, Stephan and I put her in the headbail and lifted the sore foot for a look.  There was a very sharply pointed hard stick between her toes and while it didn't appear to have caused an injury to her skin, it obviously caused her significant pain in some positions, from the way she drew her foot up from some steps when walking.

I also did a quick rectal palpation of Irene 35's insides to find out what was happening, and the foetus she's expelling feels very small.  I pulled gently, but the membranes weren't moving.  Pulling them too hard and breaking pieces off would not be a good idea.  In all the other cases of this sort of abortion I've seen here, the cow has expelled the remains of her pregnancy on her own, so I decided to leave things as they were, and keep a close eye on her.

I drafted 539 out of the mob with Irene and put the two of them in the little area by the milking shed.  I wanted 539 not to have to walk very far until I knew she was alright.  I want to watch Irene and keep her in a small area until those membranes come out on their own over the next couple of days, somewhere I have a chance of finding whatever she drops.

Late in the day while I was still working, news arrived of the Mangawhai truck-ride for the last six weaner heifers.  They're supposed to be picked up at 6.45 tomorrow morning, which meant getting them in this evening, just on dark, and drafting them while I had time, although little light.  The thirteen heifers spent their last night together in adjacent yards.

Spider is dead.  Perhaps her constitution wasn't designed for so many wasps, or perhaps the last one I threw up to her wasn't stunned enough by my fly-swat and it stung her?  I feel strangely bereaved.  I've really enjoyed our houseguest.  My low mood may also be connected with Irene's non-calf, as well as the imminent departure of the last six calves.

Thursday the 9th

The little heifers went off without any trouble at 7am.  Two of them, at least, I would happily have kept, but it's nice to know that I've sold some of my best to people who are interested in breeding.  No doubt I'll get to see them again sometime.

While they were in the yards, I gave the rest of the heifers their 7in1 vaccine.

Then it was the big bulls' turn.  #90 tossed his head, growled and blew snot at me, but I think it's all bluster.  I stay out of his way as much as possible, just in case, but once he's moving in the right direction, he quietly keeps going.  He certainly doesn't challenge me once I've started moving him.  I suspect that like some of the cows, who often give me the side-on challenge stance and growl at me when I approach them, this is part greeting.  Strange animals.

bulls in the lane

As we came past the house, the bulls spotted Irene and 539 down by the little milking shed, and went into full bull-mode, growling and snorting at them!

I put the two bulls in the Pig Paddock so they'd be nearby when my bull-buyer came to see the youngsters.  These two are by the same sire as the bull those people bought last year, so I thought they'd be interested to see how these two had grown.

We sold Imagen's huge bull calf and while usually he'd be off on a truck in a week or so, as soon as it could be arranged, we said we'd like to keep him until we dry Imagen off, because he's our "relief milker".

Later we brought the mob of non-pregnant heifers from Jane's place, for their vaccinations and while they were in I donned a long glove and palpated the uterus of Damara 74, to ensure everything felt alright inside her, since she's been producing little bits of bloody mucous since she spontaneously aborted her pregnancy a few weeks ago.  She felt quite normal.  Then I did the same to #93 and as soon as I put my hand inside her to find her uterus, my hand was kicked by a small and very lively foot!  How absolutely delightful to find I was mistaken about her having lost the calf!

So I did a bit more drafting as I walked those cattle out to join the other heifers: 74 came off into a small area at the top of the House Paddock.  I left the other heifers waiting in the lane nearby, beyond a closed gate while I went back and fetched Irene and 539.  I drafted Irene into the House Paddock with 74 (since they are my two empty cows) and then opened the lane gate and shooed the heifers ahead of me while holding 539 back behind me and we all walked up the lane.  (I didn't want 539 making contact with the heifers or there would probably have been fighting.)

By some tricky manoeuvring I managed to get the heifers to go up the lane to the Mushroom 2 paddock, to spend some time on the fenceline with the other heifer group before they mix again, and convinced 539 to head out along the other lane to the Swamp Paddock on her own, to rejoin the rest of the cows.

One of the nice things about quiet cows which are used to being around me is that they will often cooperate with this sort of odd requirement without great stress.  Cows don't usually like being on their own, but because they're used to me being part of their mob in some way, they'll often go quietly if I'm with them.