Dear Curiosity Journal,
A flutter of questions for the new farm veterinarian flew from my mouth to his ears as I restrained Pearly’s leg and he cleaned around a wound. Clamoring curiosities crowded my conscience as I sorted through what to ask first. After all of the internet searches and YouTube videos I’d scoured, I finally had a professional animal doctor here in our paddock. What do I ask first? There was no time to waste, as in these cases, time is money, so I started with the issue at hand, getting clarity on how to care for an infection under her tail where we nicked her with the clippers (and feel TERRIBLY GUILTY about). We kneeled in the hay with a bucket of water, surgical soap, shears, and scissors. I held Pearly’s kicking hoof and watched in amazement at the level of confidence and skill I was witnessing. I had been hesitant about approaching the area that appeared sore, but he got right in there, making quick work of what surely would have taken me much longer and caused more stress to the ewe. He doused the area with iodine, gave her a shot of antibiotics, and let her up before I had a chance to ask a fraction of my questions, but I appreciated his efficiency and learned a ton from watching him for a short time. I made a mental list of items I should have on hand, asked a few more questions as he wrote up my invoice, and thanked him sincerely for taking care of Pearly. The craziest answer to one of my questions is that AI (artificial insemination) for sheep requires sedation and a laparoscopic surgery where the vet makes an incision in the groin and inserts the sperm straight into the uterus. This is a much more complicated procedure than what Rufus and I imagined based on our experience with cows. Also, one dose of sheep sperm can cost around $50 (cows are closer to $10). Perhaps we will reconsider renting or purchasing a ram this fall, but today I’m just happy that Pearly is on the mend.