Now that I’m off school for a week, it’s time to catch up on jobs that need doing. One of those jobs was injecting some ewes who live on an out farm. It was the flock containing Suckie, Darkie, Bubbles, Charlotte, Panda and some rams. Fly and Sheila came along for the ride, and to help out a little. Sheila’s unpredictable, so Fly had to gather the flock, while Sheila joined in later. “Bannon’s land”, as we call it, lies just on the edge of the Mourne Mountains, and it’s also on the edge of Tollymore Forest Park. It is a beautiful area.
We didn’t know it at the time, but these ewes would be some very tough customers.
The ewes had been there because they were being fattened up in preparation for lambing. Sheila was realsed and held the ewes in the pen.
We had planned for the sheep to be squeezed into a little pen, so that my Dad could inject them and I could mark the ones he had injected with spray paint. The problem was that the gate wouldn’t shut, so we had to go for plan B and inject the sheep where they stood, and use the dogs to keep them tight together. You would have thought that would work, wouldn’t you?
The ewes on this day were more dangerous even that the rams among them. They constantly ran past the dogs, and poor Fly was ran over the top of by a ewe, which sent Fly flying, rolling over a few times along the way. Fly immediately jumped up, and bit the ewe on the leg. Understandable. She seemed none the worse for wear.
But the madness continues. Once we had injected and footbathed one half of the group, we stared on the other half, who were in the shed. We decided we would try to inject them in the shed, as it should be easier for the dogs to keep them together there. That didn’t work either. The ewes charged past the dogs again, one even when out the door, realized she was alone, and charged back to the flock, missing my Dad with her head by just and inch. That was the last straw. We put them outside again, and injected them there. Once that was done, we gathered the other flock, who busted a gate open and broke the concrete pillar holding it in two.
The rest of the morning went on without many more accidents – just a few bruises and a lot of sore toes.
By the end, even Sheila was scared of the ewes.
And poor Ben had to stay home… but he came with me and Dad in the afternoon instead, to the rather safer place of Hillsbrough for some tractor parts. Nice. He was very good, met lots of people and made them smile, then fell asleep on my Dad’s lap as we drove home.
I was so tired.