Horned Houdinis

Oh, Buster, the cutest sheep in all the world, why must you be a Houdini?

We came out this morning for chores, to find Buster with a bloody horn and blood all over the side of his face. Frank was headed out for an appointment, of course, but helped me put him into the carrier and I just took him straight to the vet. We know that we could cauterize it ourselves, but I’m just not yet back into the swing of things to try it, yet. I’d really need to watch someone do it, I think.

The vet was in with someone, so they had me just leave him, thinking that their day was going to be really crazy busy. As soon as I got back home, they called to let me know he was done, and fine, so I drove back the 40 minutes to Walpole to get him. Chuck said it wasn’t a bad injury, and he hated to cut off the horn, that he’d really pulled and twisted it and it seemed secure, and he had indeed cauterized it. By the time I got him back home, though, it was bleeding all over again, probably got injured in the carrier while bouncing around in the back of the truck. By the time Frank got home, the horn had fallen off. I called the vet back, left a message, and then checked in with the ISBONA mailing list. (We need to either find our first aid kit or just make up a new one.) They called back to say we should pack it with Oxy-tetracycline, which they would leave at the counter for us.

DSC02323 So back to get that, then on to poor Buster. He seems amazingly okay, though he looks awful. Head wounds and horn wounds in particular bleed a lot. We have a lot of experience with that with Minx. He’s eating and drinking fine, though he refused carrots, which is unlike him. Barb and Chuck both mentioned that this is the best time to get a horn wound (if you must get one) since it is cold, which keeps it from hurting as much, plus there is no danger of fly strike at this time of year. It was under 10 degrees all day today, two below when we found him this morning.

DSC02317 I thought about a lot of stuff doing all that driving. Like how was I going to get him back into his pen without Frank at home? I’ve kept a pathway shoveled open in the deep snow to each pen, but I wouldn’t be able to back the truck up there. I couldn’t lift the carrier by myself and carry him there, like Frank could. I settled on just putting it on the ground behind the truck, and having him follow me in, which thankfully worked. The red-scoop-of-joy comes through again, even with an injured critter.

I also wonder if we should have done what some people say, and learned all this stuff on cheap sheep, dumb sheep, starter sheep, not purebred, registered, primitive, expensive sheep like these Icelandics are. A lot of shepherds wouldn’t make a vet call for this injury, would just put him down if he doesn’t heal well on his own. Buster is worth $4-500, though, so I still makes financial sense to me to pay for the things we haven’t mastered ourselves, while learning. I paid $30 for the visit, $15 for the drugs, which we only used one tube of, so have two left. $35 in cost for this injury, probably.

Chuck is incredibly cheap, and very good, and we are lucky to have him around. He’s even got younger vets in his practice who he is mentoring along, who all have a commitment to large animal medicine. Dr. Garrett knows us well, and is learning about our critters and their susceptibilities in particular, does all sorts of research. I picked up a copy of a book about their practice while I was there today.

DSC02306New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Growers Association (Yankee Shepherd) held a lambing clinic on Saturday that we attended. It was good, but with this our third year, it was more basic than we needed. They asked for suggestions about future clinics, and I think I will suggest a basic first aid class. We saw Dave Kennard tube a lamb on Saturday. I’d sure like to watch someone cauterize a horn, learn to give basic shots, and things like that.

It was great to hang out with lots of other sheep people, though. I signed up for a couple of workshops at this year’s show, one on dying wool and one on plying. In calling to sign up for them, I spoke at some length with Jenny, and she’s really close to me. I might sign up for a couple private lessons with her in the meantime. When I checked out her blog, I loved it, and think I should go back to the beginning and read it all.

DSC02330 I got so chilled today, out working with Buster so much, on top of all the regular chores. Plus, I was anxious, so after cleaning obsessively, I distracted myself with my new favorite cookbook, Small Batch Baking. I’m having so much fun with it that I started a Flickr group on it, and am getting my friends hooked too. Cute, baby cakes and pies!

DSC02308Valerie came by on her snowmobile on Saturday night. Leon had a fit when he heard them coming down the road, lights and noise from an area that rarely sees traffic. Run in circles, scream and shout. Man, I knew they were coming a full five minutes before they showed up. He sure knows his job well, and just would not shut up until I came to see what was up. Thanks, Leon!

DSC02314After a mostly unsuccessful attempt at a bonfire to burn another brush pile, she and I spent some time together in town on Sunday, having our hair done together, eating out. I got her a copy of the cookbook, and a starter set of the cute pans. She’s not going to be happy when she hears about poor Buster, but I haven’t been able to get in touch with her yet today. Having just one ram lamb that we are overwintering is really hard, but we’d made a deal with her that we wouldn’t send any lambs that were born on her watch off to freezer camp, plus Buster is the only boy that Fiona’s ever had. Plus, he’s the cutest sheep in all the world. I guess now he just has a little extra character to go along with his cuteness. I sure hope the antibiotic does the trick.

lisa puplisapup2Elaine sent updated puppy pictures. He’s so cute! Valerie keeps calling him Chubby, but I want a dignified Viking name for him.

3 thoughts on “Horned Houdinis”

  1. Lisa:
    I used to be nervous about shots but when we got the sheep my husband made me do them (he grew up with horses so was very experienced in shots and other things) After the first two—your a pro! Now maybe you have given shots but it sounded like you haven’t and I can completely understand your ambivalence. Once you do it though–you won’t have a problem. Now let me say the first time I had to give the cows a shot—that was a deal. You have to push really really hard since it’s like trying to get the needle through a tough pair of boots. Felt like I was going to jam it all the way to the bones. But I didn’t 🙂
    We’ve also had some horn “issues” previously and we now own a cauterizer and a good set of leather gloves for whomever has to do the cauterizing. Stinks when you do it though phew! Good luck with Buster.

  2. You’re doing all the right things with your sheep – learning AND loving. Believe me, vets are very glad when farmers opt to go the “tough route” and invest in caring for their livestock rather than simply putting them down when something happens. I know; last summer one of our Pygora goats sported a snazzy, red, $400 cast on her front leg from jumping up and down off the hay rack and earning herself a radial fracture…

    Would still love to see photos of Buster and learn from what you’re going through. Luckily, my Shetland wethers both have smallish horns and no Houdini tendencies….yet.

  3. Monica — I haven’t done shots yet, you are right. My daughter and Frank have always done it, but she’s away at college now, and I’m going to have to learn.

    Melanie — ouch! $400 cast. I would have done the same thing, though. There are lots of pictures of Buster in the gallery, poor guy. He’s doing well, I think. I want to wait a bit to clean him up, though, as I don’t want to stress him out while he’s healing.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.