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Posted: Thursday 2 October, 2014

by Rosemary Champion at 11:02am in Sheep No comments Add your own

Help ma boab! Over six weeks since the last diary entry. But it's not because we've been slacking or on holiday. There was a wee business of an independence referendum going on here that proved a bit of a distraction. Now the result didn't go the way we wanted, but we'll just have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start again. But politics is not for this forum, so tat's enough of that.

We've also had the Scottish Smallholder and Grower Festival last Saturday - that takes up most of September. So we're playing catch up a bit in all aspects of life :-)

Our fatstock goes for slaughter next week. Two cattle, six lambs, two cull ewes and two pigs - all going by haulier to James Chapman's at Shotts. If you follow TAS, you'll know that since the closure of St Andrews abattoir, which was closest to us here in Carnoustie, we reverted to using D Stevenson at Dunblane. We'd used Dunblane for years when we lived in Alloa with no problems and had our animals killed there last year but we had a poor experience in the spring, when the slaughterman was more than a little rough with two cull sheep we had going to slaughter. Anyway, when I tried to book in this year's animals, I was refused because I had complained about the member of staff's behaviour.

So Shotts it is. In fact, in terms of cost, Shotts is cheaper and we get the price of the hides back - a novelty for us. Plus using a haulier to take all the stock at once also saves money - for all the stock listed, it's £60. With a 120 mile round trip to Dunblane, 180miles to Shotts and back and four trips required, the saving on diesel and time is considerable.

Now, I am anxious about using a haulier, never having done this before, but we'll just have to see how it goes. The chap was really nice on the phone, if that counts for anything. I am also reassured by the fact that Shotts has 16 CCTV cameras covering from the unloading bay, right through the whole process. The only part not covered is the stun / kill, but I assume there are vets on duty to ensure animal welfare standards are maintained.

Fingers crossed that all goes smoothly; not my favourite part of smallholding but a necessary one.


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