Meg / Bryn & Ceri / Snow / Straw / WeanersRSS feed

Posted: Wednesday 18 January, 2017

by Rosemary at 5:01pm in Smallholding 1 comment Comments closed

Monday 9th January

Took Meg to the vet and she’s been kept in overnight on fluids. Poor old girl. She’s in the best place. Hope to get her home tomorrow.

Tuesday 10th January

Meg’s much better and is home. She’s on a diet of chicken and rice for the foreseeable.

Meg's dinnerMeg tucking in.

Because she’s had a dodgy tummy, she’s not to have her Metacam until her stomach meds are finished – I think she might be a bit sore.

Sorted out our 2017 weaner pigs today (assuming all goes well with the pregnancy and birth) – getting Large Black x OSB – Large Oxford Sandy and Double Blacks from Parkhill.

The veg cage arrived; so did the polycarbonate sheets. That’ll be Dan’s weekend sorted.

Attended a SAC talk on business planning this evening.

Wednesday 11th January

Wild and windy this morning; up well before dawn to get everyone fed so that I could attend a ScotGov Agriculture and Planning Summit at Oatridge College. Surprisingly for me, I was away before my target departure, with the satnav telling me I’d be there at 9.05am (it started at 9.45am).

However, that didn’t take into account the eejit lorry driver who decided to ignore the warnings on the Forth Road Bridge. After a couple of hours of sitting in nose to tail traffic, I went home and tendered my apologies.

Our friend, SAC vet Caroline Robinson, is presenting a webinar on bird flu on Saturday at 2pm. I’ve registered and am looking forward to it.

For the first time in many years, I put Smokey’s rug on – cold wet and windy weather forecast and he is 20 now.

Meg is pretty much back to normal – well, normal for her. She’s been out supervising me today.

Thursday 12th January

Put some sprouts and cabbages in for the byre hens today – wow! What excitement.

Brussell Sprouts for the hensBrussels sprouts for the hens.

Also moved the plastic nest boxes from the caravan to the byre – that was also very exciting.

The last of our veg seeds arrived today – some seed tapes of varieties that I have loose. Going to do a wee comparison.

Friday 13th January

Jane was here to trim Bug’s hooves today; Bryn and Jane’s Welsh terrier, Ceri had a great play.

Bryn and Ceri from The Accidental Smallholder on Vimeo.

Did some Festival stuff too.

Saturday 14th January

Lovely day – with snow! Not a lot and it’s not forecast to lie, but it does hide a multitude of sins.

With the good weather and Dan available, I had to miss the bird flu webinar in favour of moving the ring feeder and a bale of straw down to the steers’ winter field.

Straw for the steersA bale of straw for the steers.

We also dosed the ewes for fluke and trimmed the wool round their eyes.

Wool blind Ryeland lambWool blind Ryeland lamb.

The one drawback of Coloured Ryelands is wool blindness – so ours can all see again now.

Our seed potatoes – Anya and Desiree were delivered this morning, along with the shallots “Red Sun”. Already got some “Yellow Moon” to plant. That’s all our seeds and stuff ready now – just waiting for the right time to sow and plant.

Sunday 15th January

Moved the hens’ caravan into Near Ditch paddock and rigged up a new covered run.

The veg cage turned out to be too weak to support the polycarbonate sheets, we we’ve used the meat chicken run and another run to create Chookopolis.

ChookoplisChookopolis. We kept it hooked up to the tractor for easy movement.

The mesh door helps with ventilation and light but I take it off at night and close the solid door, just in case Foxy calls.

While Dan did that, I reinstated the black plastic on the veg beds, that had been blown hither and thither by the recent winds.

After lunch, Dan and I had our weekly outing to the skip and then for a couple of bales of hay. The ponies are getting hay now, so it’s going down quicker.

More sprouts and cabbage for the hens – happy girls. When the bird flu lockdown started, I was a bit panicked but now we’ve done it, to be honest (assuming nothing goes drastically wrong health wise before they get out), I would consider doing this every year. It was fine this year because it’s been quite dry, but last year it was miserable.

The hen paddocks looked like the Somme; we had pallets down to give them somewhere dry to stand outside. Looking at the way they’re behaving and how they are laying, I’d say they are just as happy indoors.

I confess to having the same thoughts about outdoor pigs – in the right conditions, keeping pigs outdoors is great but in a wet winter, would they not be happier in straw bedded pens than splodging about, belly deep in freezing mud?


Alan Somerville

Wednesday 26 April, 2017 at 1:48pm

Having kept pigs indoors and outdoors, in when a boy for my Father and out on our own smallholding, they are genuinely healthier and happier out. Innate behaviour can be expressed more easily, the vet rarely, if ever visits. Stress is down, you can go in there without risking your life, or your legs at least. Now, bad winters are miserable and an indoor pen if one were ill, would have been nice and we resolved to stop breeding and just buy them in starting March and then throughout Early Summer and take to slaughter by November, but the day-to-day quality of life, level of happiness and depth of contentment are all drastically improved, living outside.

From a field management point of view, inside makes sense, but not for the sake of the pigs and in my humble opinion, the meat tastes much better as well.

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