Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bovine vaccinations

A couple of days ago we helped the neighbours with their cattle vaccinations. This involved bringing the youngsters into the yards, through a re-enactment of the Battle of the Somme, past all the bigger, more experienced cows telling them not to worry, past a couple of pigs, some geese and a peacock and thence to the bales. Most of them came fairly willingly.

Some didn't.

The next stage involved encouraging them gently one by one through a raceway with the intent of getting their heads in a bale. It was a bit of an effort but was sometimes even successful and resulted in them being held still just long enough to get a jab against cow nasties. Some of them went in pairs for moral support.

Some were a bit reluctant to put their heads in the bale,

and some of them just couldn't get the hang of the bale at all.

My job was to take photos. No really. Although I'm notorious for making a pest of myself with a camera, or perhaps because of it, I was given the job of taking identification photos of each steer, heifer or calf that came through. The photos can then be matched up with their tag numbers in the farm files, which is impressively organised for smallholders who also work full time and study psychology. Various other jobs included the person bringing them to the race from the yard, the person working the bale open and shut without breaking their fingers and the person doing the needlework. SO's job was to open the gate at the end. He is seen here helpfully pointing out the exit.

The heifers and steers thus released got their vaccination consolatory jellybean in the form of baled hay set aside for supplimentary feed, which wasn't intentional as they got it by breaking down some sheep mesh and two electric fences.

When all hands on deck were freed from finding new and different ways to jam cows in a raceway, the hay thieves were sorted and grouped ready for transit to greener pastures.