Diary

November 2010RSS feed

Hubbards are growing

Tuesday 2 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 6:07pm in Poultry 0 comments Add your own

The Hubbards are now 6 weeks old and moving on to grower pellets. We used two bags of chick crumbs for the twelve of them; I bought two bags of grower pellets yesterday. Their box needs to be cleaned out every morning and have fresh paper in the evening - they do poop a lot!

They still have the heat lamp on at night but are well feathered and could probably come off it now. I have to decide where to put them. At the moment, they are in a box and run under the barn. It's well ventilated and light, and the base is sandy, so they have lots of opportunity to scratch around. I did think about putting them on grass, but they aren't all that interested in grass and they lie down a lot, so would get damp. I think I'll keep them in the barn but build them a bigger pen.

Five down, one to go

Tuesday 2 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 6:23pm in Sheep 1 comment Add your own

Luna has now joined the yellow bum club. Just Lucy to go now - she's huge. Maybe Leo needs a box.

Halter training the calves

Tuesday 2 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 7:30pm in Cattle 0 comments Add your own

We decided that it was important that our calves were halter trained. We want to milk them, we can't afford expensive handling equipment and we may show them, if any classes are available. When we got them less than two weeks ago, they were unhandled but were quite calm around folk.

Since they arrived, we've been spending a bit of time with them. Everyone stops at the byre door and "has a word" and the calves are naturally curious, so they come for a sniff and sometimes a lick and chew, depending on how brave the human is. Because I feed them twice a day, they probably know me best.

Halter training setback

Wednesday 3 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 7:34pm in Cattle 0 comments Add your own

Well, it was all going great until today. Blizzard was fine in the halter so I tied her up today. In her struggle to free herself, she's knocked her horn. It doesn't look too bad but there was a bit of blood. I'll get the vet to have a look at it on Friday.

Other than that, I was permitted to rub sides, belly and legs without a food bribe. I think she was just shattered.

I gave them a CalfLyx Easy Breather lick today. Although we've improved the ventilation, I thought it might help them. It smells really good, actually. I hope they don't eat it in lumps like the sheep do though.

All Stock Pencils

Wednesday 3 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 7:37pm in Anything goes 0 comments Add your own

I've just bought a tonne of BOCM Farmgate Native Breed All Stock Pencils 16% protein. These are suitable for cattle and sheep, so should make managing feed stocks a wee bit simpler.

It's GM free and both the calves and the sheep seem to find it palatable. For every bag sold, BOCM will make a donation to the Rare Breed Survival Trust. I thought it was reasonably priced too, at £5.72 per 20kg bag.

Broken horn

Sunday 7 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 8:46pm in Cattle 1 comment Add your own

Blizzard has broken her horn :-( The vet was here on Friday to jag them with a hormone to bring them into season and therefore abort any calf they might be carrying. He had a look at the horn and it's broken. So it has to come off. Because of the time of year - no flies - it can wait a few weeks while we work on the halter training.

We've decided to have both removed. We may also have Breeze's removed too. Unless there is a very good reason not to, we will probably have future calves disbudded. The horns are a pest - although not very big, they can give us and the other calf a good dunt in the ribs. And I'm always worried that they get caught up and broken. Not looking forward to the procedure but we think it's for the best.

We're in!

Sunday 7 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 8:57pm in Renovation 1 comment Add your own

Woohoo! We're in the house - not all of it, just the upstairs. The bathroom is more or less working and we've got the two bedrooms and the office inhabitable. I reckon downstairs will be another four weeks - but I'm hoping less.

I had such a good sleep last night and it was great to get into clothes that didn't feel slightly damp this morning. We've spent to day setting up the office, moving stuff round from the caravan and unpacking more stuff from Longcarse. I am going to have a clear out of T shirts - where do they all come from?

All done!

Monday 8 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 3:23pm in Sheep 0 comments Add your own

The last of my six ewes has been tupped, two weeks after the first. I'll change Leo's raddle tomorrow and keep my fingers crossed that none come back. Assuming they all hold, a two week lambing period, 20th March to 3rd April, will be nice - instead of six weeks last year for three ewes.

Next thing will be arranging scanning - the girl I've used previously doesn't work in this area and it's not always easy to get someone who will do a lock of six. Still, I have a few weeks yet, so will at it to the bottom of my "To Do" list.

Grass sickness

Monday 8 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 3:29pm in Equines 1 comment Add your own

When the vet was here on Friday, he slipped into the conversation that Barry is the world eipcentre for equine grass sickness. Hmm, don't rememebr seeing THAT in the Home Report. The story is that horses stationed at Barry Buddon army camp brought it back from the Crimean War. Hey ho.

The vet did go on to say that young horses were more at risk and that feeding long fibre ie hay all year is thought to help prevent it. We feed hay all year because there is so little grass on the track, so fingers crossed that we'll be OK.

Green bum

Wednesday 10 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 7:53pm in Sheep 1 comment Add your own

I spoke too soon. I changed Leo's raddle to green on Tuesday and Jura has a green bum. She was tupped 16 days previous to that. If she holds this time, it actually give me a more compact lambing period than her first service and a better chance for the grass to come in, so it may be a blessing in disguise.

However, I'll be waiting anxiously in case others come back into season, which would indicate a problem with Leo, which wouldn't be good. Fingers crossed that Jura is a one-off.

Half year anniversary

Wednesday 17 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 3:09pm in Anything goes 1 comment Add your own

If you can have such a thing, last Sunday was our half year anniversary here at Dalmore. It's been an interesting six months and we've achieved a lot, and worked through a lot of plans for the future.

It's a wee bit disappointing that the house isn't finished, but it's not far away and every day, a bit of progress is made. But the progress elsewhere more than makes up for it - the new hens, Hubbards, the calves, the work on the fruit and vegetable gardens - it's been incredible.

Now we can slow down for winter, batten down the hatches and plan for spring!

Moving poultry in the orchard

Wednesday 17 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 3:13pm in Poultry 0 comments Add your own

Today, Dan and John have been preparing a new pen for the laying hens. We have just under forty birds. Soil Association standards limit stocking density to a maximum of 1000 / hectare or 10 square metres per bird, but the standard also says that land should be rested for 9 months between batches. Our birds have been on about 400 plus square metres for about 4 1/2 months, so it's time to move them.

John put up some new fencing this morning and Dan strimmed and raked up the grass. Although there are sheep on it, they haven't been there long enough to make much impression. Tomorrow, we'll tow the house round and finish the fence, giving them nice fresh grass, that should do them until spring.

Next steps in halter training

Wednesday 17 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 3:43pm in Cattle 0 comments Add your own

Last week, I went to visit a local pedigree cattle breeder to get some tips on halter training. Audrey and her family have the Panmure herds of Charolais and Hereford cattle, which they show successfully. It was a very useful visit for me and I'm grateful to Audrey for her time, expertise and the two rope halters, to replace the white cotton ones I bought, that now look like old rags.

Breeze has become a real pet and will be brushed without a food bribe. On Tuesday, Dan and I slipped the halter on her and tied her up - after a bit of tugging, she was pretty calm so we left her for about half an hour before releasing her. Yesterday, I thought she might know what was coming and be less co-operative, but she let me put the halter on with out the food bribe. I was able to lead her round the byre (which isn't very big).

We're generaing electricity!

Thursday 18 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 7:42pm in Renovation 0 comments Add your own

Our PV installation is complete and working! It took three days - one cold and sunny, one windy (!) and one wet - to get the eightenn panels on to the barn roof but it's done. And just as Tom finished, the sun came out briefly.

I'm hoping for some bright sunny days now - but looking at the weather forecast, I think I will be disappointed for the foreseeable.

Dan now needs to complete the paperwork for the feed-in tariff and the loan.

What are these ponies living on?

Thursday 18 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 7:47pm in Equines 1 comment Add your own

I was wondering today what our ponies are living on.

The track is bare; the field is pretty short and they have two hours on the grass each morning and evening; they all get a small feed twice a day when they come off the grass and 3kg of hay between them at night, in the hay boxes.

Smokey and Bugsy aren't rugged, although Sheba is - at 23 she deserves a bit of comfort. None of them are losing condition. Natives must really live on fresh air,although none of them are doing any work.

Lambs gone

Saturday 20 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 5:57pm in Sheep 0 comments Add your own

Our first two tup lambs went for slaughter last Monday. All went smoothly, with Dan taking them to St Andrew's. The butcher phoned me yesterday to discuss how I wanted them cut up. He didn't have the abattoir report to hand, so I'll get the deadweights and the state of the liver then.

The butcher was pleased with them and was looking forward to cutting them up. He said that, while they didn't have the back end of a Texel, they had fabulous shoulders. He also said the eye muscle on the ribs was very good. They were a bit fat - we let them run on a month longer than I had planned - but weren't too bad.

Blizzard's halter training

Saturday 20 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 6:05pm in Cattle 0 comments Add your own

I spent some quality time with Blizzard today. She's much less sociable than Breeze, who had a good brush this morning.

The byre is quite small, so she can't go far or fast, so I walked around beside her today, keeping a hand on her - hoping that I could out-persist her! Eventually, she stood still and I brushed her too. After this, I was able to catch up her halter rope and put a bit of pressure on her. If she moved away, I let her drift but kept hold of the rope, keeping up some tension. If she stopped and looked at me, I let the rope go slack. Finally, I asked her to follow me and she did for a few steps quite calmly.

Vegetable garden raised beds

Saturday 20 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 6:11pm in Growing 0 comments Add your own

Dan and John built the first of five raised beds in the vegetable garden today. In the rain. It took them an hour and a half; the rest will take less time now that they have a method. Filling them will be a bigger job!

Tying up calves

Wednesday 24 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 8:49pm in Cattle 0 comments Add your own

Blizzard managed to get her halter off yesterday. Actually, it's surprising it took so long as it was on upside down and not knotted at the nose. It wasn't right off but I couldn't sort it so removed it.

Today, I straightened it out and put it back on. She wasn't all that co-operative, but we managed in the end. At afternoon feed, I decided to tie them up to feed them, one at each end of the byre. We put in tie rings but actually the best thing to tie them to is the original bars in the byre. They are very secure and, because they run vertically, the calves can eat freely as the rope runs up and down the bar. They had their pellets and their hay tied up and they were fine. I'll do that twice a day now, leaving them for half an hour or so. Blizzard was relaxed enough to be cudding.

Pony weights

Wednesday 24 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 8:56pm in Equines 2 comments Add your own

I "weighed" Smokey and Bugsy today in preparation for worming. My chum, Judy, from whom I bought Bugsy, gave me a formula that is generally more accurate than a weigh tape. You measure the length of the pony from point of shoulder to point of buttock; then measure the girth just behind the elbow, both in cm; multiply girth x girth x length and divide by 11877 to give bodyweight in kg.

Smokey was 546kg and Bugsy 208kg, same as he was when he came here - not bad for the end of summer.

Sneezing Hubbards

Wednesday 24 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 9:00pm in Poultry 0 comments Add your own

I think (hope) I've had a lucky escape with the Hubbards. They are now nearly nine weeks old. There are eleven now, as we had to cull one with a bad leg.

Because this is our first meat chickens since moving and our first ever at this time of year, it's all a bit trial and error.

They are in the "batchelor pad" which is basically a wooden box with a small run, sited in the open-sided barn. It's just adequate for the eleven birds - the box needs cleaned out every day and the whole thing moved on to clean ground twice a week. Next time, I'll need to find a way to give them more space, while keeping them safe from cats and dogs.

Looks like Leo's done his stuff

Wednesday 24 November, 2010

by Rosemary at 9:08pm in Sheep 0 comments Add your own

Well, it looks like Leo's done his stuff. Apart from Jura, who's been covered twice, none of the other ewes seem to have come back into season. Jura will be 16 days past her second service tomorrow, so if Leo shows no interest, that will be his job done for this year.

We're planning to move the ewes into the five acre field on Friday, with the three ewe lambs. Dickie will join Leo in the orchard. The five acre field has a good field shelter. The ewes will stay there until lambing time; once lambed, they'll go into Sheepfold, I think.

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