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Beef on the hoof and off it

Monday 30 November, 2015

by Rosemary Champion at 11:58am in General livestock Comments closed

So what’s happened this week at TAS HQ? Weather has been changeable – which is what we’d expect for the time of year, I guess. We’ve had periods of heavy rain, but not sustained and in between times, things have dried up a bit. We had our first snow yesterday but it was wet and didn’t lie.

We’ve had a couple of frosts, but not heavy. But we’ve got the polytunnel door open, so hopefully bugs will be getting killed off. It’s almost cleared out – I’m hoping to get to that and the weeding in the fruit garden this week.

Taylor goes to work

Thursday 5 November, 2015

by Rosemary Champion at 8:55pm in General livestock Comments closed

Bonfire Night and time for Taylor, our tup, to go to work. This is his second year and he has 18 ewes to cover – fifteen of ours and three that we sold last year as ewe lambs and that have come back for mating.

He’ll be in until 17th December, then he and Ted, his wether pal, will be off to their winter quarters. He has a second companion at the moment – Tiny Tim. Tim’s (currently) a tup lamb, but he was a triplet and was tiny when he was born and is still small. To be honest, it wouldn’t have been worth paying £50 to have him slaughtered and butchered, so I’m going to get the vet to castrate him when he’s here to PD the cows later in the month. Then we’ll either run him on as hogget or sell him as a tup companion, as a fleece sheep or lawnmower. He’s really wee and awfully cute J

Tis the seaosn to be mucking out

Monday 16 March, 2015

by Rosemary Champion at 5:50pm in General livestock Comments closed

At this time of year, I spend most of my time with a wheelbarrow and graip.

John, digger man, was here today and mucked out the barn where the cows have been. I'll finish it tomorrow with the wheelbarrow and pressure wash it; pens up on Wednesday and sheep in THursday. The weather forecast is good for Wednesday and Thursday, so they'll be nice and dry.

John's back tomorrow to scrape out the Triangle, where the twins' hay racks and feeders have been over winter. The sheep are pretty picky and a lot of "reject" hay drops into the trays under the feeder. As it accumulates, it spills out, gets trodden on and dunged on and becomes a damned mess. Dan told me to clear out the trays every day - the cows and the ponies eat it perfectly happily - but I didn't and it's a damned mess. So next year, I'll be clearing the trays daily. I hate it when he's right :-)

Report from the sick bay

Wednesday 3 December, 2014

by Rosemary Champion at 10:40am in General livestock Comments closed

Pleased to report that Tedis much better this morning - not yet sound but much improved and Breeze seems to be fine too. She was happy for me to touch her udder this morning and the calf was suckling from the quarter that was sore and Breeze was fine with that. Time these calves were weaned though - they're wee chunks :-)

That was lucky!

Tuesday 2 December, 2014

by Rosemary Champion at 12:00pm in General livestock Comments closed

When we took the tup and wether out on Sunday and up to Astwood, Tiny Ted was lame. I checked his foot and leg; I could see and feel nothing unusual so I was pretty sure it wasn't broken. I decided to give him 24 hours in case it was just a knock but yesterday He was still very lame and I caled the vet, who came out this morning.

Ted was actually a bit better today and the vet confirmed that it was probably a knock, and gave him some Metacam and a LA antobiotic.

We were having a look at the cattle when I noticed that Breeze was kicking at her udder and swishing her tail. Of course, I didn't have a halter but the vet managed to fashion one from a ope she had in her car. So we caught Breeze, tied her to the gate and had a look. She wasn't very happy; with our rudimentary cattle handling facilities - halter, gate and me - she was examined as best we could. She seemed to be tender round her off right quarter, although I couldn't feel any heat in it when I felt it. Anyway, she's had Metacam and an antibiotic, so I'll see what she's like later.

Feedback from the abattoir

Saturday 18 October, 2014

by Rosemary at 5:12pm in General livestock Comments closed

As regular readers will know, our abattoir arrangements changed this year. We used James Chapman at Shotts and a local haulier to transport all our fatstock in one trip. Although this wasn’t our original choice, it may have worked out for the best.

For two cattle, eight sheep and two pigs, the haulier charged £60. If we had taken the stock ourselves, it would have been four round trips of 180 miles. At 30p a mile, that’s £216, not accounting for our time.

The charges at Shotts are also lower than our nearest abattoir and we get money back on the skins, which we haven’t had before.

A mixed bag

Monday 19 May, 2014

by Rosemary Champion at 3:38pm in General livestock Comments closed

Well, the vet was here today to jag Bonnie to eliminate any unwanted pregnancy. Although she will go to the bull later in the summer, she'll have grown a bit by then.

I've been practising haltering for a few days and she's been very good and I can now fairly reliably slip a halter on her in the field. When I check the four of them in the morning and in the evening, I slip the halter on each in turn, give her a good scratch then take the halter off again - it's just a bit of practice and they associate being haltered with something pleasurable. Not sure how happy Bonnie will be with haltering tomorrow - although she barely lifted her head out the feed bucket when the needle went in, bless her.

A trip to the abattoir

Wednesday 12 March, 2014

by Rosemary Champion at 4:18pm in General livestock 11 comments Comments closed

We took the barren ewe and the tup to the abattoir on Wednesday. We were told to be there at 8am, and it's an hour and a half away so we decided to load them the night before. The trailer was duly bedded with straw, bucket of water and pile of hay - then the two followed a bucket in for the "last supper". Car hitched up ready for a quick getaway in the morning :-)

In the morning, both were lying cudding - we'd kept them together for a couple of weeks so they knew each other. Off we went, on time at 6.30am. Arrived just on 8am; did the paperwork and went to unload them.

Is it Spring?

Monday 3 March, 2014

by Rosemary Champion at 8:54am in General livestock 1 comment Comments closed

If it's not Spring, it certainly feels like it's on its way.

We're feeding the pregnant ewes now (and the very greedy ewe hoggs that are runnng with the singles); the Heptavac should arrive tomorrow for rapid adminiistration - a glitch (Dan thought I'd ordered it and vice versa) means we'll be a few days later than usual, and the tup and cull ewe go away on Wednesday.

We're to be at Dunblane by 8am, so we're going to load them on Tuesday night and leave them with hay and water so that we can make a quick, stress free getaway in the morning. The two have been in the byre together for more than a week, so they're quite happy to bunk up together and the trailer's well big enough for two. I've filled out the movement licence and got the tags ready, so I think we're OK. I'm not really looking forward to it - Nellie was one of my favourite ewes.

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