Amongst other things, it’s quite a learning process. It’s not fun either. I was very nervous. A couple of our dogs decided to tussle with one of our ranch cats. Normally this cat gets away (which is pretty good for a 3 legged cat). It didn’t this time but it got in a few licks of its own during the altercation. Apparently it’s outdoorsy life has equipped it for biological warfare because a couple of days after the fight, 2 of the dogs started to display swelling where they’d been scratched or bit (go kitty!)(seriously, the dogs needed to learn better… though I doubt they did…). Since this stuff got worse instead of better we decided to give them a shot of penicillin. The cat did get away by the way, it just normally does that before it gets into a fight.
I really don’t want to hurt my animals. I was definitely afraid I was going to hurt them while giving them shots. Given that I had to re-stick them a few times, I probably did hurt them a bit more than a well done injection would have. Sucks to be the guinea pig. Some lessons learned:
1. Sterilization of your injection area is difficult to impossible to achieve. Go with what you can do.
2. Leaving the medicine in the shot can cause it to dry in the needle and clog it, thus rendering the syringe useless.
3. Discovering #2 above can result in shooting the syringe’s needle across the room while you are trying to figure out what’s wrong.
4. It may take several individuals to hold down the dog for its shot.
5. Dogs appear to have less nerves than people do and seem to be able to withstand multiple needle sticks better than I could.
I had to give two of the dogs penicillin injections over a three-day span. By the end of that I actually got pretty good and the dogs were more tolerant as well. After all, it resulted in getting a treat! They both improved immediately so it appears that the right thing was done. Just more ranch animal drama and first time experiences to go along with it.
The first time you give an animal a shot you will be nervous and probably suck at it.
Ask me how I know this…
This, and the previous Country Wisdom posts could use some explanation. I’ll do a post about it next.
If you’ve never given an animal an injection you will once you become a rancher. Your live stock might not be the first ones to get the shot either!
What could cause this you ask? Well let me tell you! Pistol, our indoor lamb, has become an OUTDOOR lamb!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111elevenelevendy!!!! In case you can’t tell, I’m very excited about that. We raised Pistol by hand since early this spring… In the house… It. Was. Not. Fun… Don’t get me wrong, there were good times. Moments of endearing and cuteness of course. How could there not be with a cute little lamb. However… Lambs cannot be house trained. At least not that we could figure out a way to do so. They also chew on EVERYTHING. I guess grazing animals do that. Electric cords and paper were her favorites. We had tried leaving her outside for bits at a time. Even attempted an overnight once before. Have I mentioned how pathetic a lamb can sound when they’re having a bad time? If you’re an animal sucker like we are, it’s very hard to ignore that. Each time, she’d get her way and we’d let her back in.
Now, I know that sheep get moved around and are forced to join other herds from time to time. I suspect they rarely die from this action although I’m sure they don’t like it much. So, after having had just about enough of chewing on everything in sight, we decide to try again. We also had gotten her weaned of the milk replacement. She still liked the bottle but was on 100% water so we knew it was all psychological at this point (who knew we’d be into sheep psychology!). So, earlier this week we started out with her out half the day. She did fine. So we progressed to a full day, and then to overnight a couple of nights ago. She’s officially an outdoor sheep now. She’s not well-integrated into the herd yet but she is hanging out with them a LOT more. That’s a very good thing although I’m sure she’s not convinced of that yet.
We have more lambs on the way it appears so we’re going to have to build some pens and make sure this doesn’t happen again. It’s going to suck even more if we have another orphan as we’ll need to essentially do everything we did for this one only doing it outside. They just can’t come in the house again. It makes it too hard on us. I’ll try to chronicle the construction of the pens and we’ll see how that turns out. Today I have to fix the water in the chicken coop thanks to a certain dog named Balto. I’ve never put pieces of PVC pipe together before but now I get to learn. Ought to be a fun time! Stay tuned, pix to follow.
Living without running water in this modern era is a lot like camping! Camping is only fun when you want to do it though…
You’d think your doughnut would taste better after waiting for it behind the only other person in line who wants 4 boxes of assorted and must name each one. It doesn’t!
A really windy day will show you exactly what parts of your ranch were not well-built. It’s very helpful in this regard.