July 2013RSS feed

A sheepy week

Tuesday 2 July, 2013

by Rosemary at 8:21pm in Sheep Comments closed

We decided to vaccinate our cows and ewes against Schmallenberg virus as soon as the vaccine became available. In case you don’t know, SBV is a midge borne virus that causes malformation and death in calves and lambs if the cow or ewe is infected in the first third of pregnancy. Some farmers in the south of England experienced horrible losses last year and the virus has now been found in Scotland.

Cows need two injections, four weeks apart and the immunity takes three weeks to kick in, so we had to get our skates on. We might have left the ewes (there are all sorts of unanswered questions about how long vaccine derived immunity lasts and so on) because we don’t tup until November, which is generally past the midge season. But not always – it depends on the weather. But the cows had to be done because the bull will be going in mid –end August, when the midges will definitely be around.

Hand milking

Wednesday 3 July, 2013

by Rosemary at 8:23pm in Cattle 3 comments Comments closed

Last year, when our two cows calved for the first time, I didn’t get round to trying to hand milk either of them. This year, I was determined to do better. Well, I have, but only a very little.

I thought I would try to milk both, but suspected that Breeze would be much more amenable than Blizzard. I was quite wrong; I can’t get a drop of milk out of Breeze, while Blizzard at least lets me have a wee bit.

I’m not doing well getting a system or routine together. I should be milking in the byre but I haven’t got it mucked out yet. We won’t be using it for wintering livestock again, so once it’s done, it’s done – but it’s not done. :-(

As one job gets done, so does another

Sunday 7 July, 2013

by Rosemary at 8:57pm in Smallholding 1 comment Comments closed

Steve has been here this week building a dry stone wall between the fruit garden and the barn, thus replacing the scabby chicken wire that was there to keep any wandering livestock off the strawberries.

Start of the dry stone wallEarly stage dry stone wall, Meg inspecting

Dan has been sorting out stone for Steve, from the large mound that was… - actually, I can’t remember where it came from but it was large, stony and weedy and a bit of an eyesore.

Improving our grazing

Monday 8 July, 2013

by Rosemary at 5:06pm in Grassland management 1 comment Comments closed

Back on 17th April, I posted a diary entry called “Helping the grass grow”. At the time, I was in a flat panic that the grass was never going to grow again. Well it has, and without us doing all the things I listed back in April:

The two Top paddocks are similar as are the two Ditch paddocks so I reckon they can get the same treatment. The samples have gone to SRUC at Forfar for testing. Each sample will cost £15.70 to test for pH, phosphate, potassium and magnesium. I could save some money by submitting one test, given our small acreage but the ground conditions do vary across the property. But if the tests come back very similar, I will only submit one sample in future. :-)

Calving report 2013

Friday 19 July, 2013

by Rosemary at 3:16pm in Cattle 2 comments Comments closed

Some of you may have been following Charlie’s progress via the forum and Facebook, but I thought it might be good to give a bit of an update on our 2013 calving in its entirety.

Both cows, Breeze and Blizzard, were calving for the second time. Last year, Breeze had a bull calf, called George (now a bullock and running with Henry, our 2011 bought-in bullock and Storm, our young bull); Blizzard had a heifer, Rosedean Santa Ana (Annie), who we have kept. Watching the relationship between the three females – two’s company, three’s a crowd – I was really hoping that Breeze would have a heifer calf “to keep”.

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