Tuesday 8th January 2019

The non existent divide between farmers and smallholders
As we walked through our top field late Saturday afternoon we noticed a lone sheep in our neighbour's adjoining fields. We walked right up to the fence line to get a better look and could see that it was very skinny and very hunched. As we got nearer, it tried to walk away, except it could hardly move at all and appeared to be lame/ stiff on both its front and back end. Our first thought was how is this sheep in such a bad state when we know the flock is checked at least once a day.
Relaxed at Home
Within 2 minutes of being phoned, the farmer, Edward, appeared (he had actually been en route) and put the poor animal in the back of his vehicle and took it away. We didn't speak as we were the other end of the field when he arrived but it was a relief to think the sheep was getting immediate attention.
Fast forward to this afternoon when Edward stopped by with an update. Turns out the sheep wasn't his at all but had been dumped!! Edward told us it was now in one of his sheds merrily eating away and hobbling around as best as it could. 'It' is in fact a 'he', a wether, almost definitely born last spring and in Edward's opinion (as a long standing sheep farmer) probably not 'right' from birth and subsequently not been at all well looked after.
He had given it a shot of LA and was now wondering what to do with it. We discussed euthanasia and we both pulled faces at the thought!!! We offered to put a shout out on a couple of FB groups (CSUK and Devon Smallholders) to see if there was a fellow smallholder out there prepared to give this poor animal a chance at life!!
Well… within an hour we had four possible homes for him!! And by early evening all was sorted with a fellow smallholder from Celebrating Smallholding UK on schedule to pick the animal tomorrow afternoon (having sorted a plan for dealing with bio-security and the small matter of no tags and no movement license…).
(didn't ask if she was happy to be named so haven't named her - she is however, a major star!!)
Smallholder, farmer and all things in between - we all own animals – we all care!!!!
Faith in humanity seriously restored!!!!!