We finished calving in April with yet another black bull calf. Statistically there should be a roughly equal number of male and female calves born, not this year; five heifers and twelve bulls. At least this one pictured is a heifer and hopefully will make a breeding replacement in a couple of years. The only calf we have had trouble with was from a cow with an extremely pendulous udder and it took a few days for the calf to learn the teats were pointing upwards not hanging down. The Mum was very patient and stood still while we were trying to get him to put his head down instead of up. Rewarding slurping sounds once calf and teat were connected. We have just had the all clear on the latest TB testing, being in a low risk area that should be it for another 4 years.
The last lambs have been born and our rearing figures are slightly up which is in line with the national trend; currently 1:73 %. Here, one of our lambing 'helpers' is proving popular with the orphan lambs. We lost 3 ewes in two days out in the field, they were strong ewes all rearing twins who died suddenly. Fortunately no further cases have occurred and the lambs have either been weaned or sold so the workload has decreased. The ewe milk replacer isn't cheap either. An orphan from birth will drink about £34 worth before weaning so if we can foster, we will. A massive thank you to all the lambing 'helpers' who came for the experience and got less of the ' lamb watch ' and more of the 'hands on'. Will keep you posted about 2015.
45 Gold Line point of lay hens at £7 each were collected on May 7th. They have settled in well and started to come outside on day two. We unloaded them onto the perches so hopefully at night they will fly back up there instead of crowding together in the nest boxes. In this sunshine they are now seeking shade ....... except for one. So far only twelve have started laying so it will be another couple of weeks before I am ready to part with the previous occupants of their hut. They are currently in an old farrowing house being 'barn hens'. We have retirement homes lined up for half of them so far - available at £3 each.
The team of helpers for our Open Farm Day on Good Friday were busy with 200 visitors, the weather co-operated and many stayed for the BBQ ( of WTM produce ) and popular home made cakes. Phil is pictured here in full yarn mode with one of the lambs who was being bottle fed wondering where the milk was.
One of our vistors was a professional photographer who later emailed some great pictures including the two above - thanks Rebekah.
My husband seems to have spent the last month digging holes and then filling them in again - the large shallow hole as above which will become an area to store silage. Many rabbits have set up home in the adjacent straw shed and this new area will need rabbit fencing.
Then there is the deeper, narrower hole or trench for the footings of a wall. A shed currently used to store hay is being converted into a grain store. Poppy approves. The cement mixer has also been in action making another poured concrete wall, but I will spare regular readers another concreting photo'.
The first field was cut for silage on Thursday, ideally it would be bailed on Sunday but it may have to wait till Monday due to the baler contractor attending the Young Farmers' Show and Rally. Fortunately the weather is set fair.