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Dealing with Flood and a Pasture of Animals

We are located in the wonderful South Louisiana and as you may are may not know we are rebuilding after a horrible flood. My home was lucky in the fact that we didn’t get water inside the house. My house is raised and only because a slab foundation was 15,000 more when building. It is easy to say I have thanked God every day since the flood (1 month ago) that we are cheap and poor and didn’t do the slab.

My pasture however got about 3 feet and around us all but 2 others on the street flooded. This was a 500 year flood and we are not in a flood zone. It was a mix of relief and guilt that we didn’t flood but I had to watch my neighbors slowly flood and have to leave their homes by boat.

Now as I said the pasture did flood and I watched and tried to do what I could. My husband was on flood duty with the Guard and was not home during the flood nor the 3 weeks after. I was alone with 3 indoor dogs, 1 indoor cat, about 40 free range pasture chickens (two with broken legs-explain later), 2 horses, 2 sheep, 2 hogs and 3 gold fish in the waterer. The rain came for 3 days straight with no break.

As the water came the first issue was the hogs. The pasture was already soggy and muddy from a month of rain everyday. The hogs were in a 12’x12′ pen that we move around the pasture to new grass as needed. Well, the issue was the hogs had made their area a mess with all the rain and the pen walls which were hog panels 12’x5′ clipped together had dug into the mud so after about 20 minutes of fighting with the pen in a foot of water in the rain and with the spiders and crawlies floating around I finally freed them. They were happy to paddle around and gobble up the crawlies.

Then the water kept coming and the next issue was the sheep which were freezing and scared. The older sheep “Baby” is a sweetheart and will happily come with me. They were in a penned off area of about 50’x50′ with electric fence. I opened the area and brought Baby to the front porch of the house to keep her out of the water and calm her. I then put a warm towel around her and she was happy and good to go. The yearling ram we have is new to the farm and terrified of us so he went into the open barn to hid from the rain. I came look at him later and he was freezing and scared too so after about 10 minutes of chase and tag I managed to rope him. He was not willingly going anywhere with me so I had to carry him. If you haven’t tried carrying a sheep just know they are heavier than they look and they are dead weight. He literally just went limp and I would stop every 15 feet just to make sure he was breathing. As soon as I would stop he would put up a fight and head-butted me once in the temple with a horn nub on accident. I finally get to the porch and repeat with the warm towel. He took much longer to warm up and I realized later how close he may have been to death.

Then the water kept coming. the horses were ok but getting hungry. The water was almost to their bellies but they were making it.

The pigs at this point had been swimming for 24 hours. They were exhausted. I dragged a bench to the pasture for them to stand on and they were ok for a while with this. By the way every time you touched anything you had to dunk it under water because it was covered in spiders! The water kept coming and soon the bench was not enough. I made a decision to open the gate and let him out of the pasture. I was ok losing them if they could find higher ground. The male eventually swam off and the female stayed around the pasture. I checked on her again and she was so exhausted she was holding onto the gate and just looked up at me with a ‘help me’ face. What else could I do? I dragged her all the way to the house and put her on my back steps. This is when I realized she was covered in leaches and shaking. I have a big kennel that the dogs share as a bedroom during the day which I dragged her to the back door and got her into the kennel with the help of crackers I had on hand. I picked the leaches off and she ate some more crackers then slept for almost the whole day. A neighbor came by on boat to get some valuables out of this house and said the male pig was on another neighbors porch so I wasn’t too worried about him.

The chickens all were ok because the roost are very high in the coops except the two with broken legs. They had been injured by the horses when were experimenting with feed time. I put them on a higher shelf in the feed area but it wasn’t high enough. One drown and the other was neck deep. I felt horrible and brought the survivor into the guest bathroom. Placed him in the tub and put on the heater. He bounced back well and then was put on a higher shelf in the feed area.

The dogs were going crazy inside. They didn’t understand that there was no outside to go potty and I was trying to get them to use towels I had put down by the doors. The greyhound was all too happy to use them but the two toy poodles were not having it. They haven’t gone number 2 in two days.

The cat was freaking out about the pig and wouldn’t go past her to the room her box and feed were in so I had to leave the guest bathroom open to that room so she would go in.

The water stopped raising on the fourth morning around 2:30 am. The horses were starving but I had nothing to feed them. We do keep alfalfa during summer but all the feed was ruined. They ate what they could reach on the trees. My female horse that is the pasture boss ate the male horses tail also.

Then the water started to go down!

10 of my pullets and cockerels died at this time. They were hungry and didn’t want to wait. Without my notice they jumped into the water and couldn’t get out.

The horses had horrible leg infections. Their legs were like tree trunks and the male’s legs got so bad he has puss coming out of the pores. The vet of course could not make it so I just treated with colloidal silver. This is my magic fix for so much! I dripped it on their legs for 2 days about 3 times a day and the infection went down like nothing. It started to open into scabby spots but this was just the puss getting pushed out.

My father was able to make it to me in his raised work truck with feed for everybody at this point. That was a lifesaver. I could make it for a very long time on just what I could find in the pantry. Not like I was eating much anyway. But, my animals were starving and not much of what I had was good for them. I was making a cornmeal and flour mash for the pigs and feeding the sheep some sprouted seed and crackers.

The fish were lost to the flood waters as the level came over the top of the waterer.

The male hog did come home too with the help of cooked rice and using the female as bait.

The lesson I take away from this is life has ups and downs and stress and hard times but God is watching and gives you just enough of a break to make it through the worst of it.

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