We have a really friendly lavender orpington cockeral called Billy.
Just recently he had started trying to get into the feed bins and being pushy about it too! This change in behaviour was a sign that something was amiss.
When we caught him to check him over we realised the top of his beak had grown and he was unable to pick corn up from the floor anymore and he was clever enough to work out if he put his face in the corn bin he could get corn into his mouth.
We took advice on how to trim the beak without hurting him and he decided to spend the day up high so we couldn’t reach him.
Thankfully it has now been sorted and Billy is happily scratching and pecking about on the ground as before.
Lilly one of our huge pink pigs has passed away in her sleep!
Annabelle and Lilly were rescued from the food chain around nine years ago to give them a happy and natural life. They grew so huge that they became a talking point at most open weekends
They remained close friends throughout all that time, sleeping together and wallowing together.
They could often be heard snoring from quite a distance away. Sadly Lilly has passed away in her sleep leaving Annabelle on her own.
It is very sad when this happens and our hearts go out to Annabelle and hope she copes without her friend
Clarence was not in a happy mood this morning when a tractor, a fork lift, a vet, two farmers and two farm workers turned up outside his field.
Both Clarence and Rosie were on their guard.
Ian our vet discussed the option of sedating Clarence as it looked like he was not going to fall for the rope around the horns trick.
The problem was the amount of sedation to weight ratio would have to be guessed and this was risky and Clarence could die. This had to be a last resort!
We tried using Rosie as a shield for the vet to examine Clarence but in the end it had to be the rope round the horns job.
It was a bit more tricky this time, Clarence was not happy and I had to be really careful that I didn’t get knocked over, but with a bit of time I did it then Philip and John jumped into action and poor Clarence was reeled in up to the fork lift. He did not go down this time and it was quite frightening when he thrashed about. I thought the rope was going to break. Clarence eventually gave in and stood as if to say “get on with it” and the vet went in gave him a stroke and then did what it was he had to do.
There was great relief when he said Clarence had the all clear!
John cut him free and Clarence ran off to his mum complete with his rope hair band still in place. I tried to make friends with Clarence but he was not interested. One of the farmers said don’t worry you have four years to make friends with him before his next TB test!
When everyone had gone we had a photographer from the Clacton Gazette turn up to take photos of our famous boy. I managed to make friends with Clarence again by bribing him with bread.
Once I had made my peace with him he allowed me to take the rope off his horns.
It is finally the end of a nightmare! Clarence is safe, No one was hurt and everything that got damaged belonged to the sanctuary.
. Thank you to Roger Frere for the loan of the crush. It doesn’t matter that we never used it. The fact that it was at the sanctuary was how getting Clarence TB tested moved on. Without that crush we couldn’t get anyone to agree to come due to health and safety reasons.
We are truly grateful to you Roger.
We are also really grateful to Phil and John Smith who have helped us with our animals on many occasions, without them and their equipment we would not have the happy ending we have for Clarence today.
Also thank you for all the support we have received from animal lovers all over. It has been amazing how many people have rallied round to help.
Thank you from all of us for helping to save our much loved boy.
We anxiously went about the business of feeding the animals today heavily weighed down by the events of yesterday and at a loss of what the new plan would be.
Phil and John arrived with a trailer full of sturdy gates to make the race. Clarence immediately became suspicious of all the activity outside his field. Martin, Steve, Sally, Sam and myself waited to hear what Phil and John thought on the situation. It was decided that the idea of a race to the crush was not going to work as Clarence would just jump out.
There were two options left.
the vet try to get neat enough to sedate him or
get a rope around his huge horns and then pull him up to a fork lift
I wanted the first option but the vet was not keen, he thought there could be problems with the results of test if other drugs were in him. Clarence was not going to let any strangers near him so there was only one option left
Clarence would not let anyone near him to put the rope over his head and in the end it was down to me, he trusted me. I took my time so I didn’t mess up and managed to get the rope over his head. Phil and John slowly wound him in. Clarence was shaking with fear and when he got himself caught in the rope and dropped to the floor I felt physically sick but the vet quickly moved in and did the two injections.
I wondered if Clarence would ever forgive me but when Phil cut the rope and Clarence was able to stand back up it was like he wanted to be near me for reassurance and I was able to stroke him.
We are very grateful to Phil and John Smith for their help today and to Ian the vet who allowed us time and didn’t just say there was no way of achieving the goal.
It was very upsetting to see such a large animal go down but at least I knew he would get back up, shake himself down and get on the business of being Clarence.
We have to go through it all again on Thursday, in the meantime I have time to restore my relationship with Clarence in the hope of Thursday being as stress free for him as possible.
During the week we had a local farmer come and assess the situation ready for the vet on Monday. The new plan was to move Rosie and Clarence into the barn, put the crush in the doorway of the barn and Clarence would run to the light getting contained in the crush on the way out.
As we know how difficult they have been to move in the past we decided it best to move them into the sanctuary today, no pressure on them, let them think it was a good idea!
That was the beginning of a really stressful day! It took nearly 2 hours to get them across the lane and into the sanctuary. It was as though there was an imaginary line that Clarence would not cross out of his comfort zone, it went on and on and we got colder and wetter until he took the plunge and was finally in the sanctuary.
We spent a further hour trying to get them into the barn. Having never been inside before it was a tall order and Clarence was becoming anxious so we left them for a while while we thought of a new plan.
We decided to move Basher our dangerous goat and put Rosie and Clarence in his pen. We moved Basher and dropped a large round bale of hay into the pen, made a race out of large bales of hay, then tempted Rosie and Clarence with carrots and finally they were in.
Our relief however was short lived as first Clarence knocked poor Rosie over which must have really jolted her arthritis and then he smashed down the strong post, rail and stock fence getting out. Not satisfied with that he then went up to the front gate, jumped over it denting the metal top rail and was out on the lane. Before we could stop him he then smashed down the front fence to the field he came out of and went back in where he felt safe leaving behind a trail of devestation.
Once back in his field he called and called for his mum Rosie until we let her go back with him.
We have achieved nothing today. The whole day taken up trying to prepare to save Clarences life and now we do not even have a plan.
It has got to be sorted by 11am tomorrow!