Diary

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Posted: Monday 2 May, 2016

by Rosemary Champion at 7:30pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

And 2016 lambing is over. It didn’t exactly finish on a high though. Pixie had her triplets this afternoon – two ewes and a tup, all pretty tiny – but one of the ewe lambs was dead when I went out to the field. I don’t know if she was born dead or suffocated, but the caul was over her face, poor wee thing. Anyway, might be for the best because Pixie has no milk in one quarter and a smidgen in the other L The lambs seem perky enough, so I’ve given them both some colostrum and we’ll see how we go. I’ll certainly leave the lambs with the ewe but I’m pretty certain we’ll be at least topping up. She’s been a good ewe but this will be her last year.

The ironic thing is that the lambing box has been sitting in the boot room for over four weeks, with the colostrum and the feeding tube and some other bits and pieces that I haven’t routinely had to use – an this morning I put it away in the feed store. I swear the Fates are laughing.

So in the end, we put fifteen ewes to the tup; all scanned in lamb – four singles, eight twins and three triplets. Fourteen lambed, producing 27 lambs – so 180%. Of the 27, eleven are tups and sixteen are ewes. Not as good as last year, but pretty good.

The lameness in the lambs seems to have passed; one was lame yesterday, but I squeezed out the pus and he’s sound today.

We have six ewe hoggs from last year; we wormed and fluked them yesterday along with the wether, Ulrika, Juno, Jinx and Pixie. I’ve just sold two of the ewe hoggs along with three ewes with lambs at foot, so we’ll have fourteen ewes to the tup in November (barring collapses and accidents).

I picked up our new laying hens this week – 30 12-week old birds. Nugget moved into the caravan with the oldies, which he seems cock-a-hoop with and Spike is in with the new girls. The youngsters seem to have settled in fine.

It was Bryn’s first birthday on the 29th April. Dan had ordered a box of various dried ears and other gruesome stuff, but it hadn’t arrived on Friday morning so I bought him some “treats” at the local saddlers – “Adventuros” they were called. Gave him one, and half an hour later he upchucked his dinner. I guess junk food doesn’t agree with him, so I put the rest in the bin.

The weather’s been a bit variable – Thursday night was awful, with heavy sleet and strong winds. Of course, I was panicking about the lambs and dragged Dan out to check them at 3am. Needless to say they were smarter than us and were cuddled up at the back of the field shelter with a row of ewes in front, taking the brunt of the weather.

The fields were quite badly flooded on Friday but we’ve had a few mainly dry days since and the standing water has almost gone. We could do with some warmth to bring the grass on though. The cattle at Astwood are still getting hay, as are the two heifers here. The sheep seem to be OK for now.

Of course, the wet had stopped any harrowing, topping and overseeding but we’ve been able to get into the veg garden to tidy up and get some spuds planted. Dan’s Dad has sown a lot of seeds already and Dan sowed sweetcorn, beetroot and courgettes yesterday. If it stays warm, we’ll start getting some of the plants planted out. Busy few weeks ahead, I think.

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