Well I started one blog yesterday and was going to share with you some lovely pictures of Patrick shearing and frolicking sheep all shorn and lovely. However we had a reality check this morning which makes me think that July is not my lucky month. There will be no pictures accompanying this post.
I innocently set off to load the van for Coutras this morning, which incidently was the most disastrous market I have ever done. On arrival at the butchery the fattening lambs were in the middle of the road, on closer inspection one had blood on her tail so I pulled forward to look into the field proper and to my horror there were 6 lambs lying on their sides motionless. As usual there was no cell phone signal so I returned home to wake Gavin and Patrick.
The second inspection revealed 10 dead, 2 not at all well though breathing, and some more, damged though walking. The Gendarme were called and only took about 30 minutes to arrive at the scene, take details and photos and then after a visit from 2 vets who arrived an hour later 2 lambs were euthanased and a further 18 are under observation and on antibiotics from bite marks. Of course the dead included the ram that was to be kept for the following year and a number of other lambs that were staying on to become breeding flock.
The general consensus fom the experts was that it was more than one dog and they were big dogs probably domestic bored dogs, not hunters dogs, who wanted to have a game unfortunately for us the game was "lets kill the lamb". They had entered the field by jumping over a 1.20m fence which did not have any holes in it.
The Vets and Gendarme were surprise that we did not own a Pyrenean Mountain dog but we have 5 separate outdoor groups of sheep which would entail having 5 pyreneans and I don't think that would be practical.
It is very frustrating trying to rear animals at a level at which is considered "animal friendly" and have "happy sheep" when one is up against foxes and badly behaved humans with badly educated dogs.
To top off a very disappointing and upsetting morning I dropped a large piece of wood on my foot at Coutras and Gavin broke his phone. It has been suggested that going out again today is probably unwise unfortunately for us with livestock to care for it is unavoidable.
I hope that next weeks blog will be a little more cheerful, it is not in my nature to be miserable for too long.
I am farming sheep and goats on the Dordogne/Gironde border with my husband and our 3 children. We have an on farm butchery and sell our meat direct to the public via the markets and delivery points in our local area