Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...  (Read 12006 times)

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« on: February 20, 2020, 10:08:43 am »
This topic arose from a side conversation in a thread about abattoirs.  Original start point:

Hi bj_cardiff
so for you the animals are all efectively pets then? Thats kind of interesting, I had thought folk would see me as non serious if i took hat line and was sqeamish about slaughter etc. Hadnt realised.
So  - do you and others have may be pigs or sheep and then keep them many years without breeding from them either? How expensive does that become if they dont yield any income?
I must admit what you suggest is quite interesting.
Rob

I have sheep which I breed for lambs which are sold and raise weaners for the freezer.

The sheep do make a profit, however it really isn't much at all and if you break it down to a weekly wage after you have paid for their yearly costs its maybe 25 a week.

Pigs are different, I find that they cost more for me to buy and raise than their value in meat, but I enjoy having them and enjoy the pork they produce.

I wouldn't class my livestock as pets, as I wouldn't keep an old ewe that was no longer suitable for breeding and I wouldn't keep a pet pig either.

Selling lambs that you have raised - that are destined for the table, or taking pigs for slaughter is never easy and it is always a bit of a sad day. You just have to come to terms with it, the payment for lambs is always needed and having a freezer full of your own produced pork is pretty amazing.

You are taking "pets" as a simple term. Most people on here are small scale producers putting food in their freezer and selling surplus stock. For some they want a living from their land and for others it is something they enjoy alongside another income stream but they want provenance with the food they eat. And there are some who do keep animals with no intention of eating them and that definitely requires deep pockets but maybe their sheep keep the grass down and the pigs dig the veggie plot!
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2020, 10:55:00 am »
Such an interesting question for many of us!  ;D

Here at the cohousing community, we have a 32 acre site, of which about half is still usable grazing/farmland.  Our intention is to be as self-sufficient as feasible.  Our current headcount is 25 adults 12 children 10 dogs - so that's quite a bit of food!

Nonetheless, some of our livestock are not for eating. 

We keep ducks for eggs and sell spare ducks (as the people who look after them can't bear them to be eaten here!) 

Chickens for eggs, hoping to move towards dual purpose and eat the cockerals and other spares. 

Dairy cow and suckler/dairy cow for milk and beef.  (Hillie is practically the 26th member of the community  :love: :hugcow:.). 

The sheep flock consists of 7-10 breeding ewes (all named and all tame to varying degrees), 2 tups (named and biddable but we don't encourage fuss or hand feeding with tups) and 5 "fleece sheep".  The fleece sheep have no job except to be delightful and give us a wonderful fleece each year.  (Mr Pie may be the honorary 27th member of the community  :D.  He's a gentleman and takes his role as senior wether very seriously. :love: :hugsheep: .). We eat the lambs and get the sheepskins processed, use or sell all our fleece.

It's too wet here for year-round pigs, so we buy weaners each spring and send them off in the autumn.  Lots of people love helping with the pigs, and "pig cuddles" is an optional activity on bonding days and interest weekends!  :D  :love: :hugpig:

We have two Fell Ponies, who are almost entirely pets, although we live in hope of having enough time and energy - and good weather - to get them doing a little light work.  They do have a use, as the third stage in a rotational grazing scheme, and we need to use very little wormer as a result.  Of course we have to poo pick, and some of this (along with some of the farmyard manure from the cattle) makes its way to the veg plot to help keep the soil healthy down there.  Plus, as community living has much to do with relationships and can get very intense, the ponies' contribution to everyone's well-being should not be discounted.   :love: :hugpony:  Some of the children are getting to the age to be able to ride now, so once they know enough to not tug on Davey's beautifully soft mouth, I expect there may be a bit of gentle riding around the farmstead.

On Christmas morning we go round and sing carols :carols: to the animals (the ewes in particular seem to love this); if we go to the meditation hut and have a drum up there, the ponies love to come and join in; several of our repeat holiday guests always come to talk to the cows, and so on.  (And some of our repeat visitors help with hand-milking too.)

We have a couple of holiday businesses on site - a year-round site with 4 log cabins, and an area we use for seasonal camping/glamping.  We also host a few volunteering weeks every year, and have quite a few friends who visit and help out regularly.

We have had several visitors and residents over the years who said they were vegetarian or even vegan, but after being here for a while have felt happy to eat our home-grown meat.  And two members of the "animal team" are vegetarians but are happy to help with the livestock.  One has even done abattoir runs, knowing it is a necessary evil and that the animals are reassured if people they know well take them in.

We run a communal "food account", and it pays for consumables (licks, straw, any hay or feed we have to buy in, vet fees, butchering etc).  We then pay as we use the meat, either per meal if it's a communal meal or per kilo if we take some meat home or offsite to use.

Maintaining the site as a farm is funded mainly through our service charges.  (All adult members pay the same each month, and that covers all site expenses with the single exception of Council tax, which the Council prefer us to pay individually.).  So as well as heating, electricity, insurance and so on, that pays for fencing repairs, servicing the quad bike and so on.  Larger projects may be cash-flowed or even funded by individuals, or a combination thereof.  We built a haystore and milking parlour last year, privately funded, and will convert a space to a dairy this year, which will be cash-flowed by individuals but partially repaid over a long period by a "surtax" on dairy produce through the food account.

Those animals which "should" be productive and aren't, or barely, are funded by individuals - Soph pays for the duck food herself, I pay a monthly fee for grazing and for a load of hay each year for the ponies and "fleece sheep".  Soph then has the income from selling the spare ducks, and I pay for or do the shearing and keep a bit of surplus income from fleece and sheepskin sales and/or from selling spare lamb/hogget, if we have any.  (I've never taken in as much as I pay for grazing / hay, mind  ::), and I'm sure Soph doesn't recoup the cost of the ducks' feed either.)

But, as they say... eating meat of known provenance, totally certain the animals have had as comfortable and happy a life as we are able to give them, and seeing and having interactions with these happy animals as you walk around the farm... completely priceless.  (And definitely a "draw" for visitors and for attracting new members when we need, too.)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Polyanya

  • Joined Mar 2015
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Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2020, 04:38:23 pm »
Sounds like you have an enviable lifestyle Sally and one which so many folk would be envious of - it sounds like a lifestyle from a bygone age, sadly would that we could all live like that. I'm doing what I'm doing because I am essentially an animal lover and although I eat meat, I can't bear 'shopping' for it, not knowing how an animal lived, was treated and ultimately if it had a terrifying death - so even though when my animals do go to my local abattoir I know they've had the best life I could give them and as someone else has said - a freezer full of home produce is a wonderful thing.
In the depths of winter, I found there was in me an invincible summer - Camus

www.thecreativecroft.co.uk

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2020, 04:51:44 pm »
Sounds like you have an enviable lifestyle Sally and one which so many folk would be envious of -

Aww, thanks!!   We do still have one vacancy.... ;)  :eyelashes:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2020, 06:12:26 pm »
Your life does sound idyllic Sally, but I would have the screaming heebiejeebies before the end if the first week were I to have to spend time there.  It's hard enough when Mr F and I don't quite agree on how to do something - all those folk to consult just wouldn't work for me, or the rest of it.


However, we do treat our livestock here more as pets than not.  We are not and never have been a commercially viable smallholding, although we sell produce, and now that we have semi-retired from it, we have the luxury of every animal and bird here being a pet - pets which work, or retire, according to their age.  We send male sheep which haven't made the breeding grade for slaughter, and when we eat them we know who they are and we appreciate their lives.  We have just one lad to go this year and I'm not happy about sending him on his own - not sure what to do.  Our hens lay eggs but are never eaten themselves, the geese do lay eggs but we don't eat those (they disagree with me), or let them hatch them as we hate the killing of their young, so the geese are rowdy pets too.


I have watched many TAS members struggle with their belief that they must emulate 'commercial farmers' in their actions and attitudes, when in fact all they want to do is cuddle their animals.  My approach is - do it how you want to, whichever way sits easiest with you.  As long as you and the animals are content and healthy, there are no smallholding police who will pull you up for not doing things 'properly'  ;D  (in the sense we are discussing)
« Last Edit: February 20, 2020, 06:14:36 pm by Fleecewife »
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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
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Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2020, 07:00:44 pm »
We have just one lad to go this year and I'm not happy about sending him on his own - not sure what to do.

i was bothered about fetching a solitary tup lamb, so I took a couple of wethers with me for the ride.  if your trailer has a mesh partition, you could have a couple in the front part who get the round trip, and the solitary boy in the back, one way.  it triggers a standstill when you get back, but since they don't step foot off the trailer, no actual risk ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with Mary, (cow) and sheep.
Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2020, 09:48:24 pm »
Your life does sound idyllic Sally, but I would have the screaming heebiejeebies before the end if the first week were I to have to spend time there.  It's hard enough when Mr F and I don't quite agree on how to do something - all those folk to consult just wouldn't work for me, or the rest of it.

Made me laugh when I read that bit!! TOTALLY AGREE!!

Actually agree with everything you wrote Fleecewife.

Unfortunately I am finding that being alone can have a downside as there is no help. Its only me and the old bat! (mother!!) Most of the year goes by and we're fine but we've recently been told that the guy who mows our grass for hay, aint mowing this year or ever again and we don't have the equipment or the funds to buy the equipment and around us aren't smallholders but big farmers who basically don't want to help the little folk.  I have at the moment plenty of round bales hay in stock but am aware that if I delve too much into it (I have a reserve set aside each year) then depending on the weather for this year, I may go short for planned winter feeding!

I currently have 2 black hairballs here growing nicely for the freezer, planned for either end of this year or this time next year. However, due to current weather, whether they are here or not will be debatable. Money wise, I am a lifestyle and a hobby, in a fashion. The animals keep me sane. I'm not going to lie and say that I don't worry and stress, though I try to keep calm and being around them, helps with that.

If I sell the hairballs liveweight then its cash after the TB test, if I keep them and sell them deadweight, then its more than twice the price, all costs covered and we get some of the beef, BUT, I have to keep them until that time.

I know and have always known that they would be for the freezer (they are boys after all) BUT I have kept them quiet and handled them daily, both are halter trained, calm, quiet and for the first time in years I am actually reluctant to eat them due to their quietness. (I have 6 lambs running around, also quiet but have no qualms about sending them for the chop in a few months time).

These cattle are cattle, beef animals, food, so not pets, but are friends, but meat and I have to keep telling myself that.

Am I starting to get a conscience with regards to my animals (these 2 especially) or what?

These won't be the 1st beef we've scoffed. Hopefully not the last. But having no help means iffy kicky animals are dangerous so I have kept them quiet, which actually I am quite chuffed about given my nature (though I have calmed down, due to the dogs health, she picks up on me, so I have had to) they have turned out calm. Has keeping them calm backfired? Surely an animal who is calm, quiet, gentle is better than one you see in the auction who would look at you and think target practice?

Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2020, 10:36:48 pm »
Has keeping them calm backfired? Surely an animal who is calm, quiet, gentle is better than one you see in the auction who would look at you and think target practice?

Lol, ex-BH and I used to remark on this.  We often got best prices for the occasional mad one we had - including one we sent to Carlisle (rather than our usual Hexham) as we didn't think much of it.  I was watching the ring and knew something was up; as the doors opened for it to come into the ring I could see BH measuring the distance to the safety rails.  Sure enough, the bullock charged him twice while it was in the ring - and we thought it fetched 200 more than it was worth!  lol

Thing is, they do look good when their crest is up and they're on their toes, and less so when they plod around unconcernedly...

Different when you're buying breeding stock, of course.  Calm plodders definitely preferable then ;) 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with Mary, (cow) and sheep.
Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2020, 08:20:48 am »
We always used to sell through the auctions but as hiring transport got more expensive (early 2000's) I started advertising privately, though understanding that I would have to accept lower prices due to offsetting the transport/commission etc. In 2004 one such advert met me a farmer from 30 miles away and I've been selling to him ever since. He's 100+ acres and rents and is arable, beef and sheep, so commercial. We always gave him first refusal. I still sell to him though numbers are completely lower now. But even those weanlings, though not halter trained were calm, mainly off our Charolais bull or when he went, hired Herefords for several years or Ai, due to cow numbers so no longer viable to hire a bull. Even those cows were quiet (not halter quiet but massage quiet (that's me massaging their backs as I used to practice Indian Head massage moves on them!)). He would buy off me to put them on a field he couldn't get to as he knew that they weren't escape artists. Last years lad, unlike the previous purchases off me, rather than drive him onto the trailer, he followed me on, they were surprised.

The last time I saw a quiet beef animal at auction was in the late 1990's, we knew how our bull was and his temperament and we just went to Shrewsbury auction for a nose. Someone was selling a stunning Charolais Bull, curls and horns and as he walked into the ring following a bucket he stood there. No matter how much they tried to shift him, without grub he wasn't moving. Mum said that if it weren't for William (our lad) she'd have bought him because he was quiet.

My neighbour buys from all over the place and some I've seen are bonkers. Put them on a field and no chance in hell of getting them back off. These are the type that they have to be kept in big sheds. Commercial yes, but wild.

My girls are pets, for as long as they can breed, unfortunately when it comes to cows they are too big to keep not to have them pay their way. It will break my heart when at the end they must depart and its not something that I look forward to. I am also aware that Juniper at just over 6 is the same age as a cow that had to depart due to fertility problems (no amount of money could fix it, we tried!). I waited a long time for Juniper, I looked and searched for the "the one" and she's it. She just better understand that she needs to breed for at least another 10 years before giving me grief!!
Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2020, 10:49:52 am »
Totally pets here...nothing commercial and the only thing to get eaten are a few eggs from rescue hens. The sheep are all strays or from pregnant strays and V is totally nuts to the point that our flock has their own investment account so should we both croak or get too aged to cope then they can go to alternative rescue with a large dowry.
We go and talk to them every evening and take some treats and can keep an eye on them from the sunroom across the stream to their hillside. This time of year with all the mud and wet it's a challenge with friendly sheep wanting to say hello or stick three heads into one bucket.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2020, 11:12:45 am »

My girls are pets, for as long as they can breed, unfortunately when it comes to cows they are too big to keep not to have them pay their way. It will break my heart when at the end they must depart and its not something that I look forward to. I am also aware that Juniper at just over 6 is the same age as a cow that had to depart due to fertility problems (no amount of money could fix it, we tried!). I waited a long time for Juniper, I looked and searched for the "the one" and she's it. She just better understand that she needs to breed for at least another 10 years before giving me grief!!

I feel ya'! 

Hillie is 12 years old, just about to have her eighth calf (we've run her on twice), and we will have to decide later this year whether to breed her again.  She has a lung weakness which makes her uncomfortable if she has to move around much in very hot weather, which has twice necessitated antibiotics by injection (and hence throwing away hundreds of litres of milk :/).  But she's a fantastic house cow, generously lets anyone learn to milk on her, can be completely relied upon to let us know if the cows have any issues need resolving, and will be a huge miss when she does finally go. :hugcow:

She's a descendent of the Tollie herd, which in its heyday (at the end of the last century) was frequently the highest recording herd in Cumbria.  It was a commercial operation, and very successful, but cows there were retired when it was no longer kind to breed them, and lived out their days on the farm.  Calves were sent to market, but cows never.  :love:

I am completely in denial about the fact that we don't have the land nor buildings to keep Hillie in retirement, and do not know quite how I will cope when it comes.  She won't go to market, she will go for our own freezers, and I will take her in myself - but I don't know how I will cope.  People who don't milk their own cow have no idea about the bond that grows between you and a cow that you milk  :love: :hugcow:   It's very similar to the bond that you get with a horse that you ride, and we don't generally shoot them when they are no longer productive...  :thinking:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2020, 11:37:49 am »
a descendent of the Tollie herd, which in its heyday (at the end of the last century) was frequently the highest recording herd in Cumbria.  It was a commercial operation, and very successful, but cows there were retired when it was no longer kind to breed them, and lived out their days on the farm.  Calves were sent to market, but cows never.  :love:

Which leads me nicely into talking about this not just being an issue for smallholders.  Many of the "proper" farmers I've known have kept some livestock as pets, and I shall share some more of the stories.

I WWOOFed on a commercial mixed organic farm in Wiltshire.  Angus beef and a veg box scheme.  I helped out with the TB testing; it took an hour and ten minutes to do all 66 Angus beasts, and then another hour and ten minutes to rope and test the owner's pet Highland steer  :D :hugcow:

There was a proper old Cumbrian farmer near ex-BH's place who kept a few old Highland steers on too.  They were 10 years old and very spoiled, last I heard  :love:

Ex-BH himself did form attachments, usually to cows (and bulls) but very occasionally to sheep.  He said he'd learned over the years that it was not a kindness, up on the Cumbrian uplands above Hadrian's Wall where he was, to keep them on for "one more year", so he would send them off before their lives had become a struggle. But it affected him.   :hug:

He, and many other farmers I know, absolutely "fussed" and even cuddled their cattle.  It's not just you, [member=194324]PipKelpy[/member] , no!  Dairy farmers form real attachments to their cows, and you can find many pictures of dairy cows with their heads on the farmer's shoulders, and the farmer's arms around their neck or face.

Ex-BH and I chose two Angus bulls while I was with him.  One day ex-Bh's uncle phoned to say he'd seen a very quiet bull not sold at Hexham; the top bid had not been above beef price and the owner had said he was not willing for this wonderful, gentle creature to go for meat yet - but he was onto his own daughters now so needed a new home.  We went to see him.  He was in the field; ex-BH walked up to him and scritched his shoulder.  We paid 50 over meat price ;).  (And I am sure we would have taken him home if we had only been able to afford a third of that.  :love:). He was a wonderful bull, never any issues with him in any of our fields, even the ones on Hadrian's Wall which had thousands of visitors each year.  However, as he was so wonderful we did of course also end up with several of his daughters in the herd and it was time he moved on again.  By now he was five years old, and had started to get a bit of a roach back, so ex-BH said there was no point trying to sell him in the ring.  After making quite a few calls, we decided to call the farmer we'd bought him from in case he could think of anyone - and he bought him back as he now had enough unrelated females he could put him on!  We heard later that he'd found him another working home a year or two after that, where he would be able to live out his days as it was a dairy farm, so they did not keep the Angus daughters on.   :love:

We went shopping at the breed sales for Ridley's replacement.  We both favoured an animal at Carlisle; ex-BH went quietly into the pen with him (the bull was haltered and tied up) and the bull's body language was not submissive.  So that was a no.

In the end we bought directly from a local breeder, unanimously choosing the second-best bull we were shown because although he was a slightly less perfect individual from a conformation point of view, he clearly didn't have an aggressive cell in his body.  That was about 7 years ago, and ex-BH still has him.  At first we reluctantly send all Brad's daughters to market, because keeping them would start a clock on Brad's stay with us.  When I last talked to ex-BH, he was now keeping Brad on the moorland where he runs his Blue Grey herd; he never keeps any daughters from the Blue Greys, so that can keep running forever. ;).  He does have some Brad daughters in the herd, from other cows, but he AIs them, and puts others through to Brad as needed.  Brad still comes up to the quad for his shoulder-rubs :hugcow:

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2020, 11:49:42 am »
And another story about Brad.

Ex-BH was out one day and I was pottering around the farmstead doing my morning work when a neighbour drove fast into the farmyard.  "Your bull's loose on the road up at the Fort!!", he yelled through his open window.  (That's the Roman Fort, English Heritage - over 10,000 visitors a year...   :o)

I jumped on my quad and went to investigate.  No sign of Brad anywhere.  Checked in the field in case he'd got back in : no sign.  As I was leaving the field, I spotted a movement in the shadows under the trees in the corner of the English Heritage car park.

I drove into the car park and got off and walked quietly up the middle of the grassy area to the left of the trees,  not looking directly into the corner, so as not to spook the bull.  Sure enough, Brad was up there; crest up, agitated.  I talked soothingly to him but didn't approach as he didn't seem to be calming at my voice, and he was in no danger where he was.

Back to the car park and asked all the visitors to stay in their cars and to not drive towards the corner while we sorted this out.  (I wasn't at all worried about the safety of the visitors, not with Brad; only that they shouldn't spook Brad so that he ran out and put himself in danger.)

Just then, I saw and heard ex-BH approaching on his quad.  I gesticulated where the bull was, and that ex-BH should go into the field with the cows while I opened up the gate from the car park into that field.  But I never got the gate open.

Brad heard ex-BH's quad, and that 1 tonne lump of muscle roared, "DADDY!!!!!", put his head down and galloped out onto the road and up to the quad, following it very happily into the field with his cows.  :love: :hugcow:

« Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 11:53:55 am by SallyintNorth »
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2020, 12:00:33 pm »
Ex-BH was always very anti keeping the pet lambs on.  Prior to my arrival in his life, he'd had a neighbour with some land who used to take the pets and keep them on - as pets  :love:.  But she'd gone into a nursing home and the new occupants weren't interested.

Now, ex-BH wasn't really a fan of sheep.  They were a necessary evil, as far as he was concerned, for a hill farm to run its beef herd and manage its land correctly.

But... even he, strapping girt weatherbeaten Cumbrian farmer that he was, couldn't bear to see (and betray) the trust in the bottle-fed lambs' eyes when he had to take them to the abattoir or market...
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Pets or commercial? And all points in between...
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2020, 12:05:37 pm »
We have just one lad to go this year and I'm not happy about sending him on his own - not sure what to do.

i was bothered about fetching a solitary tup lamb, so I took a couple of wethers with me for the ride.  if your trailer has a mesh partition, you could have a couple in the front part who get the round trip, and the solitary boy in the back, one way.  it triggers a standstill when you get back, but since they don't step foot off the trailer, no actual risk ;)


The journey is OK - not far.  It's when he gets to the abattoir as they put smallholders' sheep into separate pens which are closed off from the other stock and each other.  This means he has no other animals in sight.  He will not have long to wait but he could get distressed in that time.  On the other hand he could be perfectly laid back about it - he's a calm sheep.  It would be good if he could have some hay to concentrate on, but obviously that isn't appropriate just before slaughter.  I've got until August to think of something.
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