Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: What are peoples plans?  (Read 3651 times)

thenovice

  • Joined Oct 2011
What are peoples plans?
« on: March 25, 2013, 11:48:35 am »
Looking at the weather on the news (day off  :thumbsup: ) this morning, I thought how on earth are you folks up north and in the west coping! Here in kent, its been very cold and damp lately, but nothing on the scale that others are getting. I know that some are lambing or due to lamb very soon, so what will be your plan of action if this bad weather continues? How are you coping, it must be costing a pretty penny in food/hay/straw?

Fowlman

  • Joined Apr 2012
  • Wiltshire
Re: What are peoples plans?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 12:39:55 pm »
Luckily we have had no snow settle here in wiltshire like yourself but it's bitterly cold here on the marlborough downs and my shetlands are taking full advantage of a nice stable full of straw. Hoping temps rise as we are due to lamb end of the week. I feel for folks up north and elsewhere.
Tucked away on the downs in wiltshire.

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: What are peoples plans?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 12:52:53 pm »
This is our eighth consecutive day of snow! We don't really have the space in the steading to have all 16 in lamb ewes in, but they are Shetlands and are being fed ad lib good hay and also a small handful of nuts each. The two big round bale feeders are providing decent shelter. Thesnow isn't so deep that they are at risk of being buried thankfully. They aren't due until end of April which is now looking like a very good call, albeit more due to change of ram plans than good judgement (normally we lamb mid April).


Also we culled out our few older ewes last summer, apart from one who has good teeth and condition, so hoping that will help to avoid too many problems.


We do have lamb pens to bring mum and lamb in as soon as born for a day or two to get them dry and check they are bonded and feeding. Also as we keep the boys over into year 2 they are castrated at 24 hours so they stay in for a little longer.


If the snow got horrific we would have to bring them all in and make one big pen in the steading, it would be a bit of a squash and then we would have to try to work out where/how to put mums and lambs when born.


It certainly has a cost impact tho, we have had to buy in a lot more hay and as we only feed even a small amount of nuts when it is snowy, we are getting through more of them too.






Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: What are peoples plans?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 01:39:42 pm »
I think that part of the answer lies in the fact that we are more used to having bad weather well into April up here - not as bad as it's been in some parts recently, but either heavy rain and wind or snow and ice (or all of the above  :cold: :raining: :gloomy: ).  Until the last couple of years we could always count on at least one blizzard during lambing - April - and on someone inevitably lambing in it (outdoors)  We have field shelters (essential on our draughty hill) and the ewes use them if the weather is bad, although some prefer to lamb fully outside.  If there is a real problem we bring a newly delivered ewe and lambs into a pen inside our polytunnel, or a large open-fronted shed we have.
 
Further south in non-hilly areas you will be used to having grass growing in March and the snow being over, so hay supplies become a problem as well as somewhere warm for your sheep to lamb.  We tend to keep hardy breeds up north too, so they are better equiped than the big downland breeds might be for challenging conditions.
 
We have noticed that some sheep farmers around us have been lulled by the earlier good weather in the last couple of years and are lambing in March - big mistake this year, but gambles sometimes have to be taken to get the markets.
 
I have also noticed that complaining about how cold it is has spread from the south up here, as folk forget what it can, and is, usually like.  The weather up here never used to be mentioned on TV, except as a forecast, and schools were not closed, unless the drifts were feet deep and trains, cars etc were stranded and stock buried in drifts.  Now we have reporters struggling to find snow deep enough to stand in and try to impress us with how deep it is.  Or am I just cynical  :eyelashes:   (Apologies to those who have such awful conditions both north and south  :hug: )
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 01:42:02 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Blacksheep

  • Joined May 2008
Re: What are peoples plans?
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 03:27:23 pm »
A real struggle for us at the moment on a hill farm on the Shropshire/Powys borders, we have finished lambing but have 80% of our ewes and lambs turned away in fields away from the yard.  I have posted some pictures taken over the last couple of days on our FB page http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.487917637934398.1073741825.169057406487091&type=1   
Tons of snow, severe drifting, our lane is totally blocked, including to tractors due to the depth of the snow, just hoping we see a snow plough on it before too long as running out of feed, and our last few round hay bales are on a neighbours farm. Have one bale of straw left and its going to be difficult to buy any more from neighbouring farmers as they will be using more than anticipated.
We have a spread out lambing and don't have enough space to bring in all the ewes and lambs at one time, it would prove difficult to get them through the snow. OH is just trying to keep them all well fed, very cold for them though  :( . Probably a good thing that I can't get over the fields to see how the lambs are doing (recovering from a broken left following an accident that I had due the snow we had in January!).  The worst thing is that it doesn't look like it is going to warm up for a while and more snow on the way later in the week.

Fleecewife, how does your polytunnel stand up to the strong winds? We are wanting to have additional housing for future and wondering about the option of having a livestock polytunnel, but it would be at 1100ft and is very exposed here so wondering how suitable an option it would be.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: What are peoples plans?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 04:01:47 pm »
<<Fleecewife, how does your polytunnel stand up to the strong winds? We are wanting to have additional housing for future and wondering about the option of having a livestock polytunnel, but it would be at 1100ft and is very exposed here so wondering how suitable an option it would be.>>
 
Hi Blackface (oops sorry - Blacksheep - modified  :wave: )
 
Ours is a veggie tunnel but with plenty of ventilation, so it can double up for the month of lambing.  We are at 1000' and windy too, so we have gone for a Northern Polytunnels product.  They do the livestock type too.  The hoops and uprights are made of thicker metal than the norm, and a slightly greater circumference too, which gives added strength against crushing.  We also have all the extra bracers plus crop bars and base rails, all of which add strength.  Part of a tunnel's strength is in its flexibility - it's amazing how much the sides move in a gale  :o
We also surrounded the tunnel with 6' high windbreak netting, which fits around our veggie garden which is between the tunnel and the windbreak, so both the veg patch and the tunnel were sheltered.  Our hedges have now grown enough that this year we have begun to take down the mesh - which is shredding after about 15 years.
Not long after we put it up (9 months  :( ) the cover blew off, but it was because we hadn't put it on correctly - you wrap laths around the bottom of the polythene and stretch it as tightly as possible before nailing it to the base rails (or side rails with the mesh side option), but we had turned the laths the wrong way  ::) .  We didn't repeat that mistake  ;D .  That was in an 80mph wind, but it has withstood 100mph winds without damage.  It was the side opposite to the direction of wind which blew off, so the wind must have been creating a huge vacuum on that side, rather than pushing on the windy side.  Also it was a southerly gale, and our tunnel lies east-west (so end on to the prevailing wind).  Southerly gales are rare here so we would orientate another tunnel east-west again.
 
We have never been able to brush the snow off ours as it's 12' tall and 21' wide, but properly tensioned and with the sturdy hoops it's always been ok.  Even when the snow slides off and makes a deep drift pressing against the sides, it's been ok - looks alarming from inside, but stays up.
 
I don't know how the livestock tunnels perform, but I would imagine that they would be less likely to collapse or blow away because of the mesh sides allowing some wind through.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 04:11:12 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Blacksheep

  • Joined May 2008
Re: What are peoples plans?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 04:08:42 pm »
Many thanks for the reply Fleecewife, thats really helpful, will look into a bit more, and I guess we will need to find out whether there will be problems with planning due to being in an AONB too. 

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: What are peoples plans?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2013, 04:24:15 pm »
I think the problem with high winds in any situation can be not so much is the wind going to get in, but where does it go out?  We have a west-facing pole barn and when we came here the back of it was filled in to the roof.  One Gale Force 9 evening I went out and found the roof, with all the poles attached, lifting 30 cm in the air and slamming down again.  As I ran back to the farmhouse to get my OH (although not having the faintest idea what might be done!) the whole lot flipped up in the air, with poles and electrical wiring attached, and came down on the (fortunately unoccupied) pigsties behind.  Turned out the wind had nowhere to go and had created a kind of vortex at the back of the shed.  Took out a metre high vent at the top and all OK now, although the snow swirls in when the wind's from the east.

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: What are peoples plans?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 06:24:43 pm »
The field shelters made by the company who made our stables are built with a line of hit and miss boarding along the top of the back wall for the very reason. They reckon it is better to do it like that than get the phone calls crying about the shelter having flown through the air


I reckon for lambing in very exposed locationwould go for a lambing tunnel where the bottom of the long walls are mesh rather than plastic. However I don't know if that makes it easier or harder planning wise.

Remy

  • Joined Dec 2011
Re: What are peoples plans?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2013, 08:30:19 pm »
I was one who made the mistake of changing my usual April lambing to March - an even bigger mistake as I had more ewes than ever before!  Our fields have not dried out from last year and where I would have usually put the ewes and lambs is practically under water - the land has never been anywhere near this bad since we've lived here.  I had no option but to bring the 16 pregnant ewes in; 8 had to go in the lambing pens before lambing, as you can imagine the mess was horrendous and I've got through loads of feed and straw.  Another 8 shared a large stable with access to the outside but the outside was very soon poached into a quagmire; 2 have since had lambs and been moved.


I moved 6 ewes with lambs into another area where they have two large stables and a small concrete yard.  Now have another 4 ewes with lambs who will have to be moved somewhere?!


The fields are covered in deep snow and I am dreading the state of the fields after it melts!  :P
1 horse, 2 ponies, 4 dogs, 2 Kune Kunes, a variety of sheep

wellies

  • Joined Jul 2010
  • Shrewsbury
    • Fairfax Ryeland Flock
    • Facebook
Re: What are peoples plans?
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2013, 08:48:31 pm »
Mmmm, it's a bit of a disaster for us too. We're in shropshire & have quite a bit of snow. The ewes with lambs have had to come into the stables as the nursery paddock was sodden. One ewe who gave birth on Friday is in a large sectioned off area of another stable keeping a ewe who has yet to lamb company. Two Weaner pigs are in another stable as they were due to go into a new paddock but the snow meant the electric fencing was ineffective. Having to rotate the horses to try & keep them out of the mud. Fields were wet before the snow goodness knows what will happen when it melts  :gloomy:  . Hey ho it's got to get better at some point & then I'll be complaining the grass is growing too much, demanding the hubby gets out with the electric tape to section the horses off and panicking the vegetation is taking over  :roflanim:

colliewoman

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Pilton
  • Caution! May spontaneously talk rabbits!
Re: What are peoples plans?
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2013, 08:58:11 pm »
Post removed cos I put it in the wrong place ::)


Was about pigs :dunce:
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 09:15:01 pm by colliewoman »
We'll turn the dust to soil,
Turn the rust of hate back into passion.
It's not water into wine
But it's here, and it's happening.
Massive,
but passive.


Bring the peace back

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: What are peoples plans?
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2013, 01:57:55 pm »
Oddly (or not, for me) I seem to have taken the opposite view at the end of last year and put my rams in later because it was such an awful year. Am now due from mid April on as opposed to the usual Apr 1st. Hoping the weather improves by then.

FiB

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Bala, North Wales
    • Facebook
Re: What are peoples plans?
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2013, 04:41:07 pm »
same for us (due mid April after last years easter  time, snow) - Helping neighbour do hourly walks around field to bring in any strugglers - but amazingly after 3 lambings on Friday they all seem to have crossed their legs!!  Bit of sun today after this mornings blizzards so a bit or respite.  Our old 'polytunnel' has colapsed this time (weight of snow), so will take down and put up a pole barn (expect lots of s about that!!) 
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 04:44:45 pm by FiB »

 

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