Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Rye Grass Staggers

Last night, we got a call from our close friends and neighbours . Their bottle fed lamb/ sheep was very ill, and their ancient lady goat was as well. She wanted my man to put them down, as she wasn't comfortable with doing it herself.

She is an experienced policewoman, who once worked in homicide, and has seen things we would rather not, but didn't want to shoot her pets.

With torches and the lights from her ute, we went down to see them. Zipper the sheep was stiff and panting with distress, and the poor goat was far worse. Her head was arched back, legs straight out, moaning with pain and suffering greatly.

She is an old girl with cancer in her teats that would eventually kill her, so we decided she should be dispatched straight away.

I suggested we ring around the locals with sheep, so we went back up to the house and rang a neighbour. Rye Grass Staggers, he offered, saying he had four with it this week. Jenny wasn't on the internet at home, so he promised to research it and get back to her.

I have had a look on the net this morning and it certainly sounds a correct diagnosis. The rye grass can carry a fungus in the seeds, which, when it germinates and grows, carries a toxin in the fresh stalks. The animals can build up this toxin over a couple of weeks and then it takes over, making them very sick for a time.

The good news is it usually passes over a couple of days and they recover, so Zipper will hopefully feel better soon. Poor old Stella? Well, she was suffering too much and is now in the great paddock in the sky.

As my man says, "You've got livestock, you've got dead stock!"

He has lots of saying like that................

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field.”

... Dwight David Eisenhower


Andrew said...

My father could shoot our old worn out dogs without a tear, but there was an old favourite cow that he had to shoot. That was the only time I saw him on the verge of tears.

BlissHill said...

Farmers seem to feel differently about their working dogs.I seriously choke up when I have taken an old dog to be put down. It's a difficult time, no matter what animal they are.

My next job is taking the lambs on their last trip.

Colin Campbell said...

Growing up in rural Scotland, I have a good appreciation of the grim nature of much of the world of agriculture. Long hours in all weather and many life and death decisions like this.

Good luck with your death taxi duties.