Yesterday while Don and I repaired a fence, Thor came over to say hello.
Thor is our Jersey cow Matilda's yearling steer (see his birth here). He's a sweet-natured boy. But as he nuzzled Don's hand, we noticed something alarming: Poor Thor must have had an encounter with a porcupine.
Naturally we tried to pull a quill out, but Thor's nose is undoubtedly sore and sensitive, and we couldn't even begin to grab one.
So poor Thor is very sore at the moment.
So what are we going to do about this? I have no idea. We don't have a headgate, which is the only possible way to keep Thor's head still enough to snip and pull the quills. About the only option I see is to bring a vet out to knock Thor out cold, then pull the quills.
For the moment we won't do anything. There aren't many, and they aren't interfering with his eating or drinking. They're not in his nose. But we're going to keep a sharp eye out for infection or other serious complications.
We have a neighbor who loathes porcupines, calling them the most useless animals on God's green earth. A few years ago a porcupine got into our yard, and my old dog Gypsy got such a massive mouth-ful of quills that we had to rush her to an after-hours emergency vet clinic nearly an hour and a half away (naturally this encounter happened late on a Friday night). Yet despite that expensive and painful encounter, I don't dislike porcupines.