Flystrike is an evil thing. I worry about it a lot. Until I become a better shepherd and have time to find out how to prevent it naturally, it is one of the few occasions on which I use chemicals on my animals.
Last weekend I treated all the sheep with an anti-flystrike drench, but one escaped.
On Wednesday I was at work in London. I like going into work – it is a long day, but I have time to read on the train, I see my lovely students and colleagues – I get to think about day-job stuff without being interrupted by the campsite or smallholding.
On the way home though while catching up with emails, I got a text from James – one of the sheep (Echo’s mum) had flystrike. He had noticed her standing by herself rubbing against a fence. When he looked closer she had maggots crawling on her fleece.
We had to act fast. Luckily our wonderful friend Andrew yet again came to our rescue. He arranged to come over when I got home from work about 8.45. He showed me what to do when flystrike strikes. Using shears he cut away the fleece around the area. You can see where the maggots have been as they stain the flesh and the wool. You cut away leaving a clear margin round the edges. Then we poured on some fly-strike medicine.
Luckily, due to James’ vigilance we had caught it early. Yes the maggots had been eating her flesh, but they hadn’t burrowed into it. If we had left it another day or two it would have been serious. You have to act as soon as you see flystrike.
After sorting out the ewe I bottle-fed the lambs, put all the animals to bed and then at gone 10pm went inside to get some dinner. If you want to know how I juggle my day job and a smallholding basically it comes down starting work very early in the morning and carrying on until late in the evening – every single day.
Luckily I sometimes get help from the campsite kids
The ewe is doing much better and we are keeping a close eye on the other sheep. Echo is having some extra bottle milk to give her mum a bit of a break.
Here is Aretha (one of the little orphans) – she is doing well and is guzzling milk like a trooper – she also has the most amazing fleece and lovely temperament.