Thursday, 23 August 2012

Hectic after all.


After a string of rather hectic days, today was meant to be a quiet day. Apart from a manicure in Bedale (12 miles away) at half-past ten and a visit from the chiropodist at four-thirty the day was free. Cook the lunch, take Tess for her stroll, put my feet up and have a read.

But of course, life on a farm is never like that. Things happen when you least expect them. Suddenly a heifer was obviously unwell. The vet was called and the farmer and the builder, who happened to be here finishing off a job, tried to get her into the barn before the vet came. No such luck. Three times they got her as far as the gate - her 'friends' following inquisitively at a safe distance - three times she took off at the last minute to join them again.

By the time Michael, the vet, arrived, they were no nearer to having her inside. So he joined in the fun and eventually, reluctantly she came in and promptly collapsed from sheer exhaustion. The trouble was quickly diagnosed - she was aborting her calf, due in January.

Now she lies inside, in clean straw, a bucket of water and a rack of hay within easy distance. The vet has given her several injections and we now await the abortion. At least she is clean, comfortable and quiet. The only thing to disturb her peace are the swallows who are nesting in the barn.

And speaking of birds, yet another bird has hit the window full on, broken its neck and died. It looks like a young chaffinch. It keeps happening and it is so sad to see these beautifully marked young birds lying dead. Rather gruesomely - if my hens get a whiff of a dead bird they are there in a moment and make very short work of it for a snack. Similarly with any mice the cats leave lying around. Hens, however much we love them, are really quite savage creatures at heart.

12 comments:

Heather said...

A hectic day indeed. Do hope the cow will recover from her trauma. I had no idea that hens were carnivores and don't remember them eating anything other than a cooked mash of veg peelings and meal plus handfuls of corn strewn around.
I wonder if double glazing gives a mirrorlike effect to birds as we seem to have had more than usual fly into our windows. Luckily only one has been killed.

rustyduck said...

Crikey, I didn't know that about hens either.

I was amazed to see a grey squirrel carrying a dead mouse the other day. I thought they were veggies too, but looking it up on Google it does happen.

Anything that gets mice is very welcome round here, and I never thought I'd say that about squirrels!

Sorry to hear about the heifer.

Tom Stephenson said...

Hens - so I am told - are direct descendants of raptor dinosaurs. I can believe it.

Dartford Warbler said...

Poor chaffinch - so sad when they fly into a window.

Hoping that the heifer will recover well once she as aborted. A good thing The Farmer is so observant. These animals can go from well to "death`s door" SO quickly.

You have disillusioned me about hens - I had no idea they would eat dead animals. Backyard raptors....!

John Gray said...

After a string of rather hectic days, today was meant to be a quiet day. Apart from a manicure in Bedale (12 miles away) at half-past ten and a visit from the chiropodist at four-thirty the day was free.
YOU ARE SO CARRIE OUT OF SEX AND THE CITY!

Share my Garden said...

We get birds flying into our kitchen windows which are north and south facing. The birds must think that they can fly straight through and hit the glass with quite a bang. I'm always relieved when I find that they are unharmed and can fly away after a short recovery time. Sadly, like you, we also get fatalities.
Glad that your cow is safely cared for.
We are looking forward to coming to the dales next month!

rkbsnana said...

Oh goodness, isn't that the way it always goes? Rest tomorrow please.

Em Parkinson said...

Our neighbour's hens would often be found in our garden eating the builder's discarded polystyrene when we were having work done. Is there anything they won't give a go?

Sorry you've lost a calf. My mum puts masking tape crosses on the windows to stop the birds but it does look a bit WW2!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I might try those masking tape crosses on the window - thanks for the tip.
Now John - no more comments like that - dare I say that I do not even know what sex and the city is!

In any case us girls have to keep our end up you know.

Thanks for the comments.

Tess Kincaid said...

Always sad when a bird crashes into the window glass...I, too, like to memorialize them with a photo...

Crafty Green Poet said...

hope the cow recovers soon.

what a shame about the bird, have you thought of putting silhouette raptors on the window to deter birds from flying into them?

stuart dunlop said...

A local farmer who had some free-range hens was building an extension and received a shipment of concrete blocks. He wasn't satisfied with their crumbly texture and told the supplier to come and collect them. A few months later the supplier arrived only to be told "There's no blocks left....the hens ate them!"