NEWS - March 2016
It's been a busy few weeks at Manor Orchard. Apart from coping with the mud, the floods and gale force winds that blew the staff in every direction except the direction in which they needed to go, we've been busy settling in new animals. In the last few weeks we've taken in 9 sheep, 8 calves and 20 hens, all of them needing special care for different reasons. Four sheep who had been very much loved pets were brought to us from the south of England following the sad death of their owner. All had been rescued as lambs, their owner had been devoted to them and the main priority for the family was to find a safe forever home for them. They've settled in well, given the big change they've had to their lives, within a few days they were calling for their breakfast as soon as they heard the rattle of the bucket.
These were followed by five elderly pet sheep, also much loved. Their owner had lost her grazing and had been unable to find anywhere for them, and as time was running out they faced the awful threat of having to be put down. One of them, whose name is Alfie apparently enjoys rides in a wheelbarrow because he's too lazy to walk. He's a big lad , not sure if we've got a big enough wheelbarrow?
Twenty little hens were next to arrive. They were all in the most appalling condition, having been kept in a small, dark, filthy shed with no bedding for most of their lives. Some of them were pretty featherless, all of them had muck encrusted chests and bottoms, and the feet of nearly all of them were deformed and clogged with rock hard excrement which had to be gradually bathed off in warm, soapy water. For 24 hours they sat huddled together in a corner, they'd never seen clean straw before and didn't quite know what to do with it. Now, with eyes bright, feet washed and filthy feathers removed, they're noisy, curious and active with big appetites, waiting now for a warm day where they go outside to sunbathe in the garden.
Ruby visits Crufts
Ruby, one of our rescued French Mastiffs, enjoyed a day at Crufts. It's time that Crufts was seriously overhauled or stopped altogether, apart perhaps for the agility classes where dogs appear to actually enjoy being there. The latest scandal involved a German Shepherd with a back deformity who won the class? What are the Kennel Club trying to promote?
However, Ruby didn't attend as a Show dog, she went to put in an appearance to support one of our supporters, Beryl Romano, who organised a fundraising stall at the event. Ruby was a star, she loved every minute of her day, the car ride, the bus ride at the NEC, the crowds, and the hordes of admirers who insisted on taking her photograph. One small boy lay across her back as she rolled on her side, they both had the biggest grin on their faces. The only drawback with the lovely Ruby is that she suffers from terminal dribbling, I lost count of the number of people who drifted happily away wearing strings of splother. I purchased a Crufts Rosette for her to show off to her friends which Rose immediately tried to eat. Jealousy!
STOP PRESS! Breaking news, on Wednesday 16th of March at 10 pm Carol the ewe delivered her first lamb. By 10.30 pm she had delivered two more. She had two boys and one girl, all black. Tiny but feisty, all wobbling about within minutes and heading for the milk bar. Mum was happy to have them at the front end of her, where she could count them and wash them, as soon as they ventured toward her rear she began to toss them through the air like little black pancakes.
By four am we gave up the struggle to persuade Carol to let them feed. We drew colostrum from her and fed the babies with a syringe, put up a heat lamp, separated them from mum so that she could see them but not touch, and went to get a couple of hours rest. When we went back, what a change! Carol was calling to them with that special bleat that ewes have for their lambs. We put them in with her and she couldn't wait to give them a big lick and a gentle nudge towards the milk bar.
She's one of the best mums we've ever had, she's so careful when she moves around them, she constantly checks them and when two of them latch on to drink and she can nuzzle the third one she's in bliss. If you have sponsored Carol, you are now a grandparent! PS. Carols' condition wasn't planned by us. Edward, one of our very ancient and arthritic rescued rams squirmed his way out of his paddock last autumn, he wasn't spotted for about 15 minutes. Despite his disabilities, Edward was determined to have one last fling. Whether he crept up on her blind side, (Carol lost an eye as a lamb) we'll never know, but a happy ending for Mum and three lambs who will have the life they deserve.
Pay Roll Giving
We are constantly in need of donations to help with our running costs. Pay Roll Giving is a good way to set up a monthly donation. If you would please consider this take a look at www.payrollgiving.co.uk. Thank you.