Monday, 17 August 2015

Rabbits, Bovine TB, BT phoneline

My delightful terrier Dottie, has a lovely time snuffling around in hedgerows and under fallen trees on our daily walks around the farm. She has proved herself a very adept rabbit-catcher lately. Rabbits are everywhere at the moment and though they are pretty they are also real pests particularly as they have discovered the poly-tunnel and so have midnight feasts on the lettuces, carrots and anything else they fancy. The Farmer takes on the role of Mr McGregor as often as he can but the bunnies always seem to be one step ahead. Sadly, we have now found that there is myxymytosis in the rabbit population which is awful for the rabbits but it means they are very slow in their reactions and so easy prey for the dog who dispatches them very quickly which is surely better than the the slow lingering death they would otherwise have to endure. This is one of the grim realities of country life and everyone who has their vegetable plots decimated by rabbits will understand the need to control them.

Today the Farmer & the Sons have all the cattle in for TB testing. Having had one reactor to the last routine TB test and have therefore been under restrictions as to selling cattle, we hope that this test will prove clear. We have always maintained a TB-free status until this summer when we had one in-calf heifer show a positive reaction to the test. It was real blow but we have been very lucky in being TB free for so long when it is rife. The reactor heifer was taken away for slaughter and we will be compensated for her but it is not a good situation. The irony of it all that we do not have badgers on the farm, but as we all know rabbits, bats, rats, otter, cats etc. can all be carriers of the TB virus and so control is almost impossible and we have no way of finding out where the disease came from in our one heifer. Sadly even organic farms can succumb.

We have been without a phone for almost a week, again. BT have promised it will be restored to us when they have managed to hire a set of traffic lights!!!
We do have a mobile but signal is not great here and because we rarely use it no-one has the number and so we really do rely on our landline. Oddly, despite having no phone the internet still works... I don't understand how it all works much to the exasperation of the Sons who just raise their eyes to heaven and mutter 'Oh mother, you're hopeless!'

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