Grudgingly I answered the buzzing phone. It was too early for a friendly call & I was rushing through the morning hoping to grab every spare second I could to spend with my visiting sister - these visits are much too brief.
"Hello" I began... as I listened trepidation filled me - I could feel my stomach drop as our neighbour hurriedly relayed his message " your bottom paddock....dog attack....sheep down.....looks bad".
Desperately I hung up the phone... my mind numb, searching for what to do next. That paddock held our beautiful young cross-bred ewes. The ones we were fattening up, the ones we planned to get into lamb, the ones we were hoping to help pay off the farm a little quicker....
I dashed the children to the van (the only car available). As we sped down the driveway I described to my sister the phone call - the little our neighbour had said. We drove onto the highway that borders the front of our place & then around the dirt lanes to the very back paddock. As we drove over the rise I could see what our neighbour had described - there were sheep everywhere - wool was taken, patches of flesh were showing.
I stopped in the back lane & jumped the fence. Tentatively I searched amongst the ewes - looking for death - for those that weren't going to make it the day. Thankfully there was none that I could in my inexperience describe as "doomed". There was sore sheep, limping sheep, blood was covering many of them & the patches of flesh exposed.... but they were all able to move themselves.
As I returned home I silently thanked the Lord that it was no worse. That He had spared them all so far.
I rang Dave to tell him about the attack- I tried to describe to him what carnage I had seen - how our beautiful ewes would never look the same, their fleeces downgraded for this years shearing.
He rang our friend the vet who advised us on the best course of action (it is wonderful having a nearby neighbour, who also attends church with us who is a vet - such a fountain of advice for us city folk). Antibiotics for the effected, various sprays to prevent different types of flies & just watch & pray that they would recover.
After going separate ways to pick up various medications, we met that afternoon. Having an extra adult on hand was wonderful as we took the motorbikes & Sel drove the ute full of children & supplies. We slowly rounded up the sheep being careful to take it slow - aware that many of these lambs were very, very sore. Zai was on the back of the ute, holding any that were too slow to make it on their own. Metre by metre we drove them through the length of 'Harrisons Strip', up the hill of 'Millers Cascade' & into the yards - few had the energy to run.
Bessy "visiting" with some of the well lambs!!
Once yarded we put them into a run & went over each sheep thoroughly checking for any damage - any spots where the brutal dog had had his fun. We injected antibiotics - for someone who had never injected animals before, I am now an expert!!! We sprayed the sprays, we sorted the worst up into the shed & we let the rest go - another day on the farm, another first experience for these ex-city folk!.
Photos mainly by Ellie with a couple by Aunty Sel
***This actually happened in early January, but because of the dog problems I didn't want to post about it - this has now been rectified although we did have our small flock of "pets" attacked before our neighbour had to bring in the police - he had lost almost 100 sheep from this one animal.***
Another part of our story here at Sunnyside!
Joining up with (a day late again..)
Have a wonderful day