An agony of indecision for Millie our Jack Russell. Should she trot after John and Fizz, our border collie, while they go to check on the sheep; or should she come and finish her breakfast of scrambled guinea fowl eggs.
The sheep win.
Pip, our Labrador, whistles in behind as I go back to the kitchen.
She has no such hesitation. When Millie returns it is to an empty bowl and Pip licking the last bit of breakfast from round her mouth.
My priority this morning has changed however; it is to get to the vets for an injection of antibiotic for a stirk that has pneumonia.
This stirk, a castrated bullock of just over ten months old, was born outside at the back end of last year.
Despite trying to maintain a tight calving pattern so that all the cows calve inside, during the winter months, ready to go out for the summer, there are always a few cows that buck the trend. And an opportunistic bull.
We have already brought him back home this year as he has had his summer of fun outside and should have covered all the cows by now.
But that means that we shall also probably have one or two slips ups, so to say, with any heifers he might accidentally liaise with.
Back to our poorly stirk. This morning he stood panting away in the foldyard, clearly distressed. This muggy weather is not helping.
Perfect conditions to breed respiratory diseases.
John had already isolated the bullock as the bacteria can be spread by air droplets.
It is a puzzle as to why the stirk suddenly succumbed to the infection as the cattle have plenty of room, ad lib access to hay and feed, and the yard is well strawed, comfortable and draught free.
The changeable, erratic weather conditions are a concern although we are pleased to have rain for the grazing. The cattle look well and the lambs are thriving.
Would that lamb prices were. Last week the price the lambs fetched had John gloating like an old miser with his hoard of gold.
This week the price crashed as more lambs came to market. Now we have the refrain “don’t know why we bother.”
But with the rape sprayed off prior to combining and arable crops in danger of being flattened by torrential downpours, we would be pleased for the rain to hold off for another week or two. Or not fall so heavily at least.
At home, John has improved the ventilation and airflow for the cattle by removing partitions in the yard.
Because quite a few bullocks and heifers have already gone into market, there is also more room than there was a few months ago.
Hopefully the injection of antibiotic into the stirk’s neck will sort him out.
The bull may need something different to sort out his wayward desires for the next few months.
Mrs Downs Diary