Diary

Heifers weaned / Conference / Willow bed / Sheep prepRSS feed

Posted: Monday 19 February, 2018

by Rosemary at 9:44am in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 12th February

Glorious day – frosty, but sunny. Paperwork day – including final arrangements for the Smallholding Scotland Conference, which is on Friday, and my Powerpoint presentation for Longforgan W.I. on Wednesday.

Tom was out and about on his own - he's really coming on.

TomTom out and about.

Booked the three barren ewes in for slaughter next week; planning to take one for our freezer and hoping our butcher will take the other two – but he’s not committing himself until he sees the carcasses. He’s seen our very fat sheep before, so can’t blame him.

The cows have now been housed for 12 weeks now, so we dosed them with Albex. It’s effective against adult fluke only, so waiting this length of time makes it most effective as fluke have a 12 week life cycle. They don’t like it though – four squirts with our drencher – and believe me, cows can clamp their mouths hard closed.

They wouldn’t eat their sugar beet afterwards so the heifers and the bull got seconds.

Tuesday 13th February

Nice and dry again.

Worked on the leaflets for the Shetland Cattle Breeders’ Association – feel terrible that it’s taken so long. Wrote an article for “Smallholding” magazine and did some preparation for Friday’s Smallholding Scotland Conference.

Cows boycotting sugar beet.

Wednesday 14th February

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Who knew.

Dan and I built a pen at the field shelter for the heifers, who are going to be weaned tomorrow.

The cows have given up their hunger strike.

Dan did some fencing ready for the sheep coming home, and put up a few more bird boxes. That's about a dozen now in total.

Larch bird boxLarch bird box.

I wrote an article for the NFUM website then headed off to do a wee talk at Longforgan SWI. And very enjoyable it was too.

Thursday 15th February

Dry today, but very windy and cold.

Weaned the two heifer calves – they’re big girls at eight months – but boy, are they bawling for their mammys.

Heifers weanedHeifers in their new quarters.

Organised for the vet to jag them to stop any unwanted pregnancies, two days before they go to their new home. For maximum effect, pregnancies should be between 10 and 100 days – so they’ll have been away from the bull for 14 days by then. To be honest, I haven’t seen the bull pay any attention to them, but I’d rather reduce the risk of an early pregnancy as much as possible.

Received a text from someone in Carnoustie asking if the cattle were ok – she was worried than one was injured or escaped!!! I was able to reassure her that they are just fine.

Friday 16th February

Smallholding Scotland Conference today at Pitcairngreen Village Hall.

It was a grand day out. And the cows have stopped bawling – but the heifers haven’t.

Saturday 17th February

Panda has lost her voice. That’s made it a bit quieter.

Dan went off to help Martin sort out his cattle handling while I did some prep for the sheep coming home. Then Dan came home and we discussed the plans and changed them – so we had to move stuff all over again.

Picked up four bales of hay – we might swap the cattle and sheep on to haylage soon.

I started to clean out the freezers, ready for our hogget coming.

Sunday 18th February

Lovely day – dry and breezy.

John took the tractor out and cut the rushes – if we can get this done early, it hits them hard but doesn’t affect the grass, which is too short to be affected. We’ll get the harrow out next but not for a few weeks yet.

Dan chainsawed some wood, cleaned up the pig pen and had a fire.

Dan's fireLast of the pig pen wood cleared and burned.

Dan prepared the nursery bed for his basket willow, which should arrive tomorrow.

Nursery willow bedNursery willow bed.

This bed will be used to grow cuttings to plant in a permanent bed the other side of the fence, starting next year.

I sowed the first seeds of 2018 – Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Peas, Achillea and Campanula.

First seeds of 2018First seeds sown.

Attended the AGM of RBST Caledonian; good to catch up with other rare breed enthusiasts.

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