How to scare a fledgling smallholder.RSS feed

Posted: Sunday 20 January, 2008

by Rosemary at 9:54pm in Anything goes 1 comment Comments closed

Some folk like to scare themselves witless by watching horror movies. Some like to do it by going on huge fairground rides. Some do it by taking a "ghost wak". Me? I read a book about stock rearing!

I buy the "The Scottish Farmer" every week. It's written is a strange "farmer-speak" but I like to look at what's for sale. This week, it had a 16 page "Lambing Special", half of which was adverts for drenches and injections to prevent and cure diseases I haven't even heard of.

So I got out my sheep book and terrified myself. At one point the author says that sheep are either healthy or dead and it's generally quite easy to tell the difference! Although we're not lambing this year, I'm thinking ahead. To be honest the lambing itself is the least of my concerns - I'm more worried about grass and how to have enough. I'm also worried about liver fluke, coccidiosis, abortion, footroot and various skin parasites. If I treat them all, the girls will be like pin cushions!

However, I had a cup of tea and thought about it. The reason we got ewe lambs was to give us a "trial year" without the lambing issue. We'll have a better idea of how the grass stacks up by autumn next year - we can them make a judgement about whether it will support three ewes and lambs. I'm going to make a timetable (cribbed from my sheep book) of things to do and when to do them and deal with one thing at a time.

Then I looked out the window, and Juno, Jura and Jinx were lying on the lawn, quietly chewing their cud. Juno stood up, had a good stretch and settled down again. They seem quite content, so we'll go with that for now.



Monday 21 January, 2008 at 11:54am

That 'Healthy/Dead' piece has just reminded me of something Andy (our local sheep expert) said the other day about sheep. He was at a course on various sheep related things for large flocks when the instructor started discussing the finer details of condition scoring ewes. The instructor turned to Andy and asked about his approach to condition scoring, to which he replied at the top of his voice(in a broad rural accent)...."as far as I'm concerned they are either fat or thin".

It goes to show that even the experts who have been doing this all their lives don't buy in to every piece of advice or best-practice that comes out of the books or Defra.

...the other thing he says about ewes is "there's always one lame ewe".

I'll let you know how our lambing goes (with our fat Southdowns).

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