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New farm tool-toy

Posted 5/21/2009 3:29pm by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

This morning Roy got to play with a cool new farmer-toy that UPS delivered the other day.  One of the difficulties of raising animals on pasture is that when they need medical attention, it’s very difficult to get them rounded up without causing more harm.   We rarely have to give antibiotics, but occasionally we do and it is always very frustrating and time consuming to work the entire herd back to the barn to attend to one animal.  Roy has often talked about getting some capture equipment to give medication on pasture.  This is essentially a gun that projects a syringe into the muscle of animal from a short distance, like they did on Wild Kingdom with tigers and wolves they wanted to move to another location.  For a boy raised in a pacifist home, Roy admits to a persistent fascination with guns.  So this spring when one of our little heifer calves began showing signs of pneumonia after being left out on pasture, Roy decided he had a legitimate reason to purchase a short-range projector pistol.  After all, it would be awful to loose a heifer calf when we are trying to build the herd and then we’d have the dilemma of whether or not we keep her mom for a whole year without a calf on her. 

After the girls went to bed last night, Roy set two or three boxes on the table and began putting together his new toy, I mean tool.   Just before dark he sent Mac to the laundry and stepped outside to take a few practice shots.  Minutes later he came in grinning, “This is really cool” he said with the gun raised to his shoulder like 007. 

Early this morning he took the pistol down to the pasture and successfully got a dose of antibiotics into the month-old calf.  I know Roy is hoping she recovers quickly, but… if he has to give her another dose, it wouldn’t be so bad.