Diary

Annie's calf / Alice's lamb / Pig arkRSS feed

Posted: Monday 3 May, 2021

by Rosemary at 12:07pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 26th April

Rain forecast fro today but only a few showers. Annie surprised us by calving this afternoon. Her due date was 4th May, but I think if I looked back, early calving has become the norm. I saw little legs below her belly while I was doing evening chores and the legs were running about – which is good. Sadly, Ace was pummelling the calf, so we bought him in and left the girls out overnight.  I’m 99% sure it’s a heifer.

calfAnnie and her very new heifer calf.

Tuesday 27th April

Well, it’s raining now. And cold. And windy. Dan had comfrey to dispatch but once that was done, we built a pen round Ace and I brought the cows in.

aceAce's new gaff.

They were happy to come in – it’s really not nice. Got iodine on the calf’s navel and confirmed that she is a she. Registered her with BCMS. Dan’s dad has suggested “Blair” meaning, apparently, “Dweller of the Plain; Field; Battlefield” so that will be her pet name but she’s registered with the Herd Book as Rosedean Bora (Bora being a wind; Santa Ana, her dam, is also named after a wind).

cowsCows in from the weather.

While I was waiting, I cleaned up the field shelter – the sheep went out while I shovelled poopy straw and put down clean but as soon as I finished, they were all back in.

Indoors, I gave the kitchen floor a wash – I do it every week, whether it needs it or not. Ha! After watering the polytunnel, I set out the tomatoes ready for planting. Then checked on t’interweb for the correct spacing and had to go back and shuffle them round. Yes, I know there was a better way of ordering that task.

In anticipation of using it at some point soon, I cleaned Smokey’s tack. I have a horrible spray that works fine but catches the back of your throat something awful.

Scoot's lambs find the best places to sleep.

ScootScoot's lambs - being small has advantages.

Wednesday 28th April

Another mixed day weather-wise so it was nice to get a turn in the polytunnel planting the tomatoes.

I thought the calf looked empty and she was, so at teatime when the cows were tied up, I latched her on and she had a really good feed. I don’t know what’s going on – Annie has massive amounts of milk and is a good mum and although her teats aren’t small, they aren’t beyond the scope of a calf. Anyway, once Baby Blair had her fill (drum-tight tummy), she went off for a sleep. I’ll keep an eye on this.

feedingBaby getting a supervised feed.

Alice is due to lamb tomorrow and she certainly looks ready – two-hourly checks overnight, I think.

The meat chickens are ready to go out. I’ve given them an add-on run and the big feeder and drinker but Dan needs to do some remedial work on the run before it’s safe to put them out.

Young Bean, Skippy's tup lamb if looking well. He's very dark on his face.

beanBean.

Thursday 29th April

See sheep? Checked Alice every two hours overnight. About midnight, I penned her on her own, in preparation. Two am, 4am, woke at 5.30am, nothing happening. Decided to get on with my chores – fed the wild birds, the sheep, Ace and the ponies, turned out the cows (Baby Blair had a full tummy), let out the hens. It’s now 6.30am. Had breakfast, checked again then went to bed for a couple of hours. Went to check at 9am, big bouncing ewe lamb. So that’s lambing over for another year.

AliceAlice and her ewe lamb.

Nine lambs scanned in five ewes; eight live lambs, five ewes and three tups (160%). Three BFL ewes and two Ryeland x Shetland; one BFL tup and two Ryeland x Shetland. All five ewes seem to be fit and well. I’ll take that, thank you.

Kinda looking forward to an unbroken night’s sleep. Cats – you have been warned.

Friday 30th April

We’ve got two courses on this weekend – first since August 2019, so today has been about prep for that. It’s quite nice to see the place spruced up – all the wee jobs get done.

Dan fixed the meat chicken's run and we got them out. Not the best day, but not the worst either.

Rora loves the new calf and vice versa.

RoraRora and Baby.

Saturday 1st May Beltane

Introduction to smallholding course today.  Seemed to go well. I felt a bit anxious but I hadn’t forgotten everything.

Sunday 2nd May

Introduction to small-scale sheep keeping course today.  Think everyone enjoyed it and learned something.  As part of the course, we put the tail ring on the last lamb and dosed the four non-breeding ewes for fluke, so the flock is now reunited. Totally exhausted tonight but I think Rosie might calve so I’ll do a 2am check.

Dan and Andy refurbished the pig ark ready for the new arrivals on Tuesday; Dan got a first coat of stain on this evening and will get a second on tomorrow morning before the forecast rain arrives.

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