It was a warm evening last week when we all piled onto the ute to check the fast growing lambs down the back paddock. Thoughts of long summer evenings were large in our minds with plans for renovating & the bigger farm jobs that tend to fill those gloriously lengthening hours of sunlight. As we slowly motored around the boundary of the 40 acre paddock where they resided, we were happy to observe the sheep were keeping well ~ plenty of feed & water in the paddock as well . It was time to return home for family devotions & put the children to bed.
Really it was only a co-incidence that we happened to look in that direction again ~ over by the dam. As we looked a little harder a blob became a sheep ~ & she was off by herselff. Now if you keep sheep you know that this isn't good ~ they much prefer to stay with the herd. We didn't have to get too close to identify the telltale signs of flystrike. The poor ewe was in a bad way & we knew if we left her it would only be a matter of a couple of days & she'd be gone ~ in one of the most painful, horrible deaths imaginable. (Flystrike is when the maggots from flies literally eat the flesh from the sheep as it is alive ~ it is very prevalent in Australia as we have warm conditions perfect for flies. It was one of the first conditions we were taught to recognise.)
Dave quickly deposited the load from the back of the ute ( us) & raced off to grab all the equipment he needed to treat this condition from the shearing shed up the hill ~ shears, medicines & other treatments. It wasn't hard sitting there on the bank of the dam waiting ~ such a perfect evening for photos & for once I'd even remembered my camera .
Soon he returned ...
It didn't take long for him to wear out the ewe (she was in no condition to run far). He's perfected the dive out of the still-rolling ute onto the sheep's back (it really is comical to watch). As he hefted her to the back of the ute I made my way down to where he was after giving orders to the kids about where to throw rocks ( into the dam) and where not to ( at your brothers head).
A little closer & I could smell her. If you think sheep smell bad ( & let's face it it's not the most charming perfume they carry) well let me tell you a sheep with flystrike smell a million times worse. As I felt my stomach turn I decided to stay at the head end ~ I'd let Dave attend to the business end. Our first job was to cut all the wool away from the effected area. We recently purchased a pair of hand shears ~ our thoughts being that we have so few sheep we really couldn't justify some electric ones for the ute. As I held the ewe down ( top half :) Dave took to it like an old~fashioned shearer.
....well, sort of.....
OK if the shearer only wanted to shear 3 sheep in one day :).
For an hour we worked over that sheep removing the wool with the shears that can only be described as painful, blunt & downright annoying. Even I faced my fears down the bottom end & took a turn when his arm needed a break. I think I worked all of 3 minutes with very little success ( other than almost ridding myself of my dinner about 10 times). Finally we were done with that long & laborious process. After administering an antibiotic, some fly spray & the treatment we let her go.
On our way home we made the decision to purchase electric shears for the ute.
The ewe has recovered & is going well now ~ sure she has a rather unusual haircut, but thankfully we didn't have to face another loss.
An evening here at Sunnyside...
Have a wonderful day friend