Sheep / Leo / LambsRSS feed

Posted: Tuesday 26 March, 2019

by Rosemary at 9:47am in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 18th March

Braw day! Fields are drying up nicely and the water levels in the ditch have dropped significantly. Bit of warmth now should see the grass come away nicely. Up early and had the hen houses cleaned out before breakfast.

ditchWater levels dropping nicely.

Vaccinated the cows with Bravoxin 10; perfect timing for Rosie’s calf but a bit early for Blizzard’s, but better than nothing.  They were OK  - Rosie jumped but at least she didn’t take the huff, unlike after the foot trimmer / flukicide, when she wouldn’t eat her sugar beet for two days.

Picked up hay for East Pitkerro and straw for lambing pens here. The steers were happy to see us – well, the buckets and the bale anyway.

steersSteers and hay.


Started to make the sheep plan for the next few weeks. With small numbers and limited grazing, there are always compromises – I want sheep on as few areas of grass as possible, I want to feed as few as I can and I want to keep empty ewes and ewe hoggs away from the tup. Doesn’t always work like that, though. I generally try to have only two groups of sheep – it was easier last year when I had no ewe hoggs, so accommodating the tup was easier.

At the moment, I have the nine twin bearing ewes and the five ewe hoggs together and being fed; the hoggs don’t need fed, but it won’t do any harm apart from to my bank balance. They’re in a small paddock (Near Ditch) with very little grass (although they do pretend to graze every day, bless ‘em) and access to a bale of hay in the haybell in the Triangle.

triangleTriangle with haybell.

Urquhart and Teddy are in the wee yard by the barn, along with the empty ewe, the single-bearing Ryeland ewe, Kit and Bambi with a hay rack and a molassed mineral bucket, which is there for the pregnant ewes, but the other three help themselves too. Like they need it!!! The wee yard is fenced with sheep hurdles, which I need for the lambing pens, so when I start to house the ewes, I lose the yard (no time to put up a proper fence just now - that’s a job for the summer).

yardTemporary yard.

Three ewes are due 28th March, three on 30th and one on the 1st April; then there’s a break to the eighth Ryeland, then two stragglers. Kit and Bambi are due w/c 8th April, we have been told.

So on Sunday, I’m going to bring in the first six ewes into the byre, which is just big enough for a group that size, and put the other fourteen together as one group in Near Ditch, with the haybell, the molassed mineral lick and access to the field shelter, if I need it. I’ll need to feed all of them as well, which is a bit of a bummer.

Lambed ewes will go out into Home Paddock with a hayrack and molassed lick; as soon as any leave the byre, I’ll bring the next ones due to lamb in. Fingers crossed that the hoggs are past cycling at this time of year.

Fortunately, the weather looks kind for the next fortnight (if you believe the forecast that far in advance).

While I was sweating over this, Dan was pruning apple trees.

Tuesday 19th March

Cold, dry and windy – colder than yesterday. Made a quick start this morning, now that it’s light earlier and had all the routine chores done before breakfast.

After breakfast, I picked up two bales of hay, one for the ewes’ haybell and one for the store. That done, I moved all the accumulated rubbish from the box trailer to the flat trailer, ready to go to the skip. Very satisfying.

Next, into the office to deal with emails and complete our Single Application Form for our basic support payment, then after lunch, Dan and I had a quick business meeting that resulted in long To Do lists for each of us.

Then Dan went - you’ve guessed it – pruning and I went into the polytunnel to spread out the manure and apply REMIN, which is a volcanic rock dust to remineralise the soil. Giant tomatoes this year!

Wednesday 20th March

I put the sprinkler on in the polytunnel – it’s very dry and the weep irrigation won’t be enough to get it ready for planting. The rhubarb is coming away well.



Started worming the hens with Flubenvet.

Checked the ewes’ udders at feeding time; No6 has an udder like a cow.

Thursday 21st March

Sunny and breezy. No14 is a bit poorly so I’ve penned her and given her some twin lamb drench this morning and this evening. I’m not very worried but it’s not something I can ignore.

I went for a riding lesson. First time n the saddle fro eight years. Thoroughly enjoyed it but I MAY suffer tomorrow.

Dan and I walked the holding and made a list of wee jobs that need to be done before the first farm tours, then he went pruning and I started to weed the front flower beds. Did one and the path. Looks good.

Friday 22nd March

Windy with heavy rain at lunchtime. No14 is back to normal; she’s a bit lame but I’m loathe to mess with her just now.

Dan and I tidied up the remains of the old fence in the pig pen then he went harrowing.

This year’s fleece bags arrived from The Natural Fibre Company; we should have six bags to put away this year.

Major trip to the recycling centre -  it was so satisfying to get rid of all the crap we pulled out of Laing’s Field.

Fish and chips on Monifieth beach with the dogs. Very tired puppies tonight.

corgisBryn and Gwenna on Monifieth beach.


Saturday 23rd March

Cool, windy and sunny. I finished weeding the second of the two front flower beds; there was an absolute thug of a plant in it that had covered about half of it. It was easy to pull out – I think I may have planted it, but I don’t recognise it. I’ve left one wee bit in to try and identify it. I did the side bed too. All looks great!

Dan and Andy set to tidying the barn, so that Dan could move the bee stuff out of the byre. OMG, what a transformation!!! So much space!

I tried Smokey’s harness on Leo this morning; it didn’t fit but he was happy enough with it on.


leo2Leo, again.


Sunday 24th March

Another sunny day but with a cool breeze fro most of the day. Dan harrowed Far Top – once he’s done Far Ditch tomorrow, that’ll be five of the six paddocks done twice. Laing’s Field next; Near Ditch can wait until the sheep are of it.

harrowingView from the cab.

Then it was up to the orchard and more pruning – three of the six are done and they’re the the most difficult ones. The three remaining ones are younger trees and quicker to prune.

I finished preparing the maternity ward and six ewes are now in; we’ve built an outside area for them too. It wasn’t really planned; we built it to get them into the shed and decided to leave it. It’s not ideal – it’s part of the walkway, but it’s only for a few weeks. A couple of the ewes are slightly lame but we’ll wait until they lamb before messing with them.

indoorsIndoor maternity ward.

outsideOutside maternity ward.


And No6 lambed at 8.30pm. Pair of white ewe lambs. First one was born and on its feet when I went to check them; the second one presented with a leg back and needed a wee hand. Mum and babies now penned; lambs have found the milk bar, so I’ll leave them in peace until the 2am check.

lambFirst 2019 lamb.



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