Farriers, Technology & Young Apprentices

This day was a frigid blur.  Snow had accumulated overnight, lovely powdery fluffy stuff, about 4 inches.  I didn’t need to plow because you could walk or drive through it easily enough.  It was 19 degrees out, but with the wind it felt like single digits.  I’m sure it was.  The animals were SO hungry, all of them.  MLKJr. Day, Monday the 18th, a full itinerary lay ahead.

Upon completion of writing it all down, I realized I never had my daily cup of coffee.  Now I can’t wait til tomorrow morning.


I made a delicious new recipe to send off with char, you can read it here: Browned Butter Ginger Biscuits

Got in late the evening before because of poor driving conditions after returning Char back to school, so I awoke a bit foggy early this a.m..

First on the list of things to do was to get the horses ready for the farrier’s visit.  Tim Wall would be here by 9:15 so I wanted them to be fed, settled so they wouldn’t be all ants-in-their-pants while he was trimming their feet.  The mini-donkeys were overdue a pedicure, too.  Tim was happily surprised to meet them, and Kalinka stood very well, while Silver had a few ‘hi-ho’ moments while settling in.  I reassured them pretty constantly and snuggled and pet them so that they would associate the trimmings with a good cuddle, plenty of positive reinforcement.  Tim thought they behaved quite well.  They surely did need their hooves trimmed.

Jimmy & Caitlin arrived while Tim was still here and we chatted together a bit while I brought the horses in and out for their trimmings.

Tim left, Jimmy, Caitlin and I busied ourselves to find all of the LambCam equipment.  Jimmy has been helping me set up my camera in the barn for several years and thanks to him, I do not have to crawl out of bed 4 times a night to check on ewes that are due in the barn.  We especially wanted to install the camera in Iris’ stall so that I could keep my eye on her over the next couple of weeks.  It took some doing, but between us we found everything we needed.  I am so looking forward to not having to climb out of bed and into my overalls all night tonight or any night, until I know that she is out there pushing lambs.  It’s so cold, and in this kind of weather, it takes a lot out of me to climb out of bed, traverse to the barn, get fully chilled, check on the ewes, and then trek back so I can catch two hours of sleep before I do it again.  If you want to give it a try, you can view Iris & the other sheep on this camera,  LambCam1 Wing & A Prayer Farm

Caitlin helped me with some chores that were hands-on with the alpacas and donkeys, very grateful to her.  She was about to head back to college today, too, and she is a wildlife biology major that is quite accustomed to handling large animals including livestock and wild animals.  How nice to have her help.  She has a huge dog, a St. Bernard, only 2 years old, named “Tosh” and what a love!  What a beautiful, fluffy love of a pup!  So there was a houseful of dogs, at one point, her St. Bernard and my three dogs, and then there were more arrivals of people, adding to the party of the day.

Caitlin and Jimmy had to leave, but not without me filling their car up with pies, eggs and yarn.  Caitlin is going to try to make a scarf with some of our pretty yarn I call “Faith”, and she and Jimmy were going to fight it out as to who took the peach pie and who got the cherry pie.  There were plenty of eggs for all, so no fights there.

When they left, I played store with a new friend that had been gifted a gift certificate at Christmas.  She browsed through the yarns that I showcased on my kitchen table and found some Cormo that she wanted to take home to make a sweater with.  It is so much fun to help people select yarn for projects.  I can’t wait to hear how it goes for her.

Two more little helpers had arrived, Maggie & Jesse, and they worked with me til about 4:30 out in the barn and paddock.  Maggie turned 13 last November and what she wanted for her birthday was a day of work on the farm with me.  I made her family a gift certificate to give to her and told her mom that it would be my delight and we would shoot for a day after the holidays.  So today, being her day off from school, was a good afternoon on the calendar.  Unfortunately it was so bloody cold and windy.  However, we did spend all of the time together mucking stalls, grooming the horses and ponies, working a bit with the donkeys, helping me with some goat-work, watering and haying and graining and sweeping.  It was busy and productive, and I would take their help every day!  Such lovely farm helpers.


Alpacas – The latest on Hayden is that he is the last cinnamon colored alpaca here at the farm that has not been taken out by the nasty meningeal parasite.  But I almost hate to write it because of the jinx I’m afraid it will put on us.  On Thursday he was walking with a lame gait, even though Char & I had just finished a second round of dewormer with all of the alpacas three days prior.  I was just mad to see him decline after Char & I had attended to every possible way to keep he and the others guarded.  On Friday he was even lamer and so we put him in his own stall and I dosed him with a steroid and an anti-inflammatory.  On Saturday he was even more crippled and so I called the vet to see if they could come and give him an injection of BoSe, a vitamin/Selenium supplement that I didn’t have in my arsenal.

When Dr. Kyle arrived and I’d showed him  my notes, explained the regime that we’d been through with the alpacas since October, it didn’t make sense to him, either, that Hayden would become stricken.  We went through all of the doses of all of the dewormers, the meds, etc..  We came up with a new recipe for Hayden which doubled the dewormer medication, included the vitamin/mineral supplement and continued the anti-inflammatory and the steroid.

Do you know that on Sunday he had improved?  And the new regime includes a daily application of some dose of some something for the next week, so taking care of Hayden is a pretty consuming job right now.  Thankfully Char was here yesterday to help me handle him while I dosed him, today a good friend came by that is also a skilled animal handler and she helped me.  I’ll figure out tomorrow when it comes.  I’m just glad he’s recovering.  And I say that with confidence.  He’s got fight when we go in there to apply his meds, he’s got a great appetite, he’s got a lot of complaining to do when we’re in there to tell us how things should be.  That’s a huge improvement from a few short days ago when his legs kept going out from under him, he would collapse and be stranded on the ground, and his appetite was nil.  Crossing fingers and toes here.

The Muppets – Another bit of mucking is that now one of my Angora goat kids, Blossom, is also dragging her hind foot around.  On Sunday, I scooped her up after seeing that she didn’t want to walk out to the paddock with the others to eat hay, and inspected her in the light of the barn doorway.  She had horribly long, curved nails and so I trimmed them asap.  I can’t believe how long they’d grown considering they’d just been trimmed in November.  No wonder she couldn’t walk comfortably.

I watched her this morning and then took her out of her stall while Jesse & Maggie were here today and had them help me inspect her.  My eyes don’t see everything as well in the dim of the barn, so Maggie held the flashlight on her little hooves so I could see better.  I didn’t want to take any more hoof off than I already had and I felt her legs for heat in case she had any swelling or infection.  The one leg that is bothering her did feel slightly warmer.  I dosed her with a shot of Banamine (an anti-inflammatory) and BoSe because I couldn’t be sure that she hadn’t been harboring this condition for a longer period than I’d noticed.  I had noticed that she hadn’t been eating as much and would set herself aside over the past few weeks, but I hadn’t seen any limp before recently.  We let her eat her own bowl of grain in the tack room so as to be sure that she would get the full serving, the other goats were pushing her around a fair amount.  She gobbled it up and I hope that tomorrow is better for her.  At least she is on my radar and I can keep at it with her.

While Dr. Kyle was here, I had him check Thimble out, our little Angora kid goat that has been recovering from her meningeal parasite infection in November.  He gave her an injection of BoSe because at a previous vet visit, the doctor had discussed doing so but didn’t have any on him.  So while he was checking Thimble out, he noticed that she had severe arthritis developing in her hip/leg where she limped.  So we put her on an arthritis treatment regime which will last for about 6 weeks.  This includes a daily dose of tablets which we put in her bowl of grain.  The other goats are easily distracted by feeding them in their troughs against the wall, while Thimble is happy to eat without competition from a little bowl separately.  She has gone for it 3 days in a row, so far, so hopefully it is that easy.



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Blossom, pedicure-pose

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Browned Butter Ginger Biscuits

Browned Butter Ginger Biscuits