For a while we have been keeping a close eye on our Billy goat. He has proved great at fathering kids this year and been the friendliest working Billy we have ever kept, however there was a worrying development we knew needed attention. Poor Billy had a misshapen horn, not only was it unsightly and not going to win him any beauty awards but it had become dangerously in growing. Rather like an in growing toenail it was not something we could ignore, particularly as it was heading in towards his skull.
During the feed run poor Billy was by passed by as all the other animals were fed to the sound of much plaintiff bleating. Nick explained to our holiday makers that he was having an operation later and in order to catch him his breakfast was being held back until after his operation. The guests accepted this simply inquiring what he was having done and how far the vet had to come. Nick’s face was a picture as he feigned fainting at the prospect of calling out a vet! It is an operation he has performed before on a ewe with a horn growing into her eye and so he knew it was one he could do. That said the hideous smell of burning keratin from the horn and steady hand needed whilst holding Billy still meant there were significant risks and it is certainly not a pleasant job. After the feed run had finished and the guests gone home to plan their day we brought Billy to the shed in the stock trailer blissfully unaware of what lay ahead. The First job while we had him captured was to give him a syringe of wormer.
Meanwhile Nick had set up the angle grinder and was ready to operate. He deftly secured Billy beneath him and turned on the grinder as I held my breath and crossed my fingers. As predicted the noise of the grinding was like fingernails down a blackboard and the stench from the horn sick making.
Thankfully Nick blocked out all these distractions including the bleating from Billy focusing on completing the job as quickly and as safely as he could.
The offending clump of horn fell to the ground and Nick withdrew the grinder without cutting Billy’s skull. A quick spray of blue antiseptic for the horn stub and Billy was good to go. He couldn’t have been too fazed as he instinctively munched on some hay.
Guy drove him back to the farm and carried his food into his field while Nick let him out the trailer to follow. Billy had other ideas and before he could concentrate on breakfast took advantage of a quick trot up to the girls field; a reminder to us that he will soon need a girlfriend for some spring kids.
A man can only be without his breakfast so long and the rustle of the bucket soon had him turn for home with a last longing look at the ladies.
Finally Farmer Nick could enjoy his farm breakfast knowing all the animals were taken care of. A quick reminder that we are open now till 7th November before our annual closure where we have many projects in the pipeline. We will of course be open again in time to welcome guests for Christmas and New Year.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.