January 2016RSS feed

Happy New Year

Sunday 3 January, 2016

by Rosemary Champion at 5:35pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Hope you all had a good New Year! Still wet and windy but it’s getting lighter in the evenings. Don’t notice any difference in the mornings though.

We’ve finally managed to contain Rosie – after two further modifications. The new barrier had to be heightened at the bottom and that seems to have done the trick.

The vet has approved our new health and welfare plan for the cattle so we’ll be continuing to use Closamectin pour-on for the bull, steers and heifer calves and using Albex 10% oral drench at the higher fluke dose for the cows and in calf heifers. The choice of drugs licensed for milking cows is pretty limited. Closamectin isn’t licensed for cows producing milk for human consumption but Dan and I will live with that – just watch out for us starting to glow in the dark J

Flukicides and milking cows

Sunday 3 January, 2016

by Rosemary Champion at 5:38pm in Cattle 1 comment Comments closed

I wrote this for the Shetland Cattle Breeders' Association newsletter but I thought I'd share it here too.

I thought it might be helpful to flag up the issue of flukicides and cows producing milk for human consumption. We started milking last summer (2015) – one cow was a fourth calver and the other a second. The issue of flukicide selection and milk production hadn’t crossed my radar before then. You may, at this point, be shaking your head and thinking “how could she not have thought of this before?” but although we’d had the idea to milk from Day 1, I’d dithered about it so long, i.e. four gestation periods, I suppose I’d kind of decided it was one of those good ideas that I’d never get round to J

Still wet

Sunday 10 January, 2016

by Rosemary Champion at 3:16pm in Smallholding 1 comment Comments closed

IT’S SO WET! And dismal. However, I was looking back some old diary entries – last winter 14/15 was dry. I had written that we had one wet week in November but had been mainly dry. In December 2012, I wrote that I hadn’t seen it wetter but that there may have been more precipitation in the winter of 2010/11, but mostly it had been snow. I said almost those exact same words to Dan yesterday, in relation to this winter.

I know we’re much luckier than many. Our house and buildings, the vegetable garden and the courtyard are all fine but the Home Paddock and the Orchard are underwater. The hens in the brown house have formally requested scuba gear L

Panic levels have dropped with the water levels

Monday 18 January, 2016

by Rosemary Champion at 3:28pm in Smallholding 1 comment Comments closed

We’ve had some nice days over the last week – dry and cold and water levels have dropped. And with them, my panic levels. I’m such a control freak that extremes (for us) of weather really get me going. Sometimes I think I don't have the right temperament to be a smallholder :-)

Anyway, we have the start of a plan to winterize one paddock for each hen house, so that’s made me feel better.

We haven’t got a date from the scanner yet, but it should be soon. If I sell all the ewe hoggs, I can keep my tup for another year, but it will really depend on how the ewes and gimmers scan.

So no bonspiel this year

Saturday 23 January, 2016

by Rosemary Champion at 8:30pm in Smallholding Comments closed

The recent dry, cold weather froze everything solid. We could have held a bonspiel on the front paddock. In some places the water was too deep for really thick ice to form but I had to leave the gates on the hen paddocks open at night so that I could be sure of getting in, in the morning. However, it rained on Friday and all the ice has gone – and now we can see that the levels really are dropping. The ditches are down and flowing so if we get a few dry days, things should look a bit better.

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