‘Just sit on the bull’s head until he wakes’

It has been all go with the lambing this past week. After a rather hesitant, and indeed occasionally tragic start, we have had a very good run with pairs and triplets over the past few days.

One of the ewes did look very ill this morning and John was puzzled as to what was wrong with her. She was lethargic, had laboured breathing and could hardly stand. In fact she had lain on one of her lambs and smothered it. The other seemed to be heading our way as a pet lamb.

After a couple of jabs of calcium however she has made a miraculous recovery. A good bit of shepherd deduction.

But it is the new bull that has given us cause for concern this past week. Mr Sex on Four Legs was hobbling about on just three.

He has been in with the cows for over a week now and John was very worried that an excess of passion might have led him to topple over and sprain one of his back legs.

He could not put any weight on his hoof and the area was very swollen. Key a phone call to the vet.

Prior to the vet’s visit we had to get the bull into the crush. Or that was the theory. He would not go. We managed to back him into a corner and secure him there within a set of gates, but the next big idea had to come from the vet.

After an initial sedative jab, the theory was then to release our bull and lead him into the centre of the foldyard.

Even sedated the bull could drag three of us anywhere he wanted to go. But the vet was able to get close enough to the bull’s backside to jab him with a knock-out injection.

Of course my lad decided to drop onto the wrong side. The leg the vet wanted a closer look at was under him. It took three of us again to roll the bull over. With a very curious audience of cows and calves trying to help.

Then it was all go before the bull came round. The problem? An abscess under his hoof. Could have been building up for a few weeks, the vet said, from a stone or flint. A mystery as the bull has only ever been housed both with us, and his previous owners, on straw.

With me sitting on the bull’s head, John holding the bull’s hoof high enough for the vet to excise the abscess, we provided the cows with more excitement in the foldyard than they have had all winter.

Then John and the vet left me alone sitting on the bull’s head while they went to look for a medicated spray and jab of antibiotic to finish off the job. “Don’t worry,” the vet said. “You should be able to stay on for about thirty seconds if he decides to come round. If he tosses you up in the air just hang from the beams until we rescue you.”

I tell you. The jobs I get roped into.

Mrs Downs