WTM Newsletter No 51 ........ births pending.

 

 

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Next fresh beef back Wed 1st April

Orders in by 6pm Sunday 29th March.
It is another one of our home bred, Angus cross, grass fed beasts which has hung for 3 weeks.
Orders taken for individually made up Beef Boxes. Basically spend over 50 and get 10% off the individual prices. As a guide, a box can contain 2 joints, 4 x casserole packs, 4 x mince, 2 x steaks and some sausages or burgers. We are happy to tailor this to your individual requirements.
If you prefer to just buy one joint - let us know what size and we can make sure to have it in stock.


 

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Good Friday is your chance to have a look round the farm.
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Phil and I will be doing guided tours lasting about 45 mins ( well, longer if you ask Phil anything ) every half hour from 11 am till 4pm. There is no 1pm tour as we shall be stopping for one of our burgers or sausages on the BBQ followed by Sarah's cakes ( she's the lady who usually does the free weekly deliveries if you are on our Thursday round ).

 

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There will be a free sausage tasting so you can try before you buy and a sausage deal in the shop - 4 packs for 6.

Donations for the tour of  2 per adult and 1 per child to help with the extra insurance cost would be appreciated.

Please wear waterproof footwear as there will be a disinfectant foot dip.
It is not advisable for anyone who is pregnant to visit the lambing shed and this part can be avoided.

 

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Bob's Garden -

After the Spring cultivations the soil is ready for the seedlings in the greenhouse to be planted out. Watch this space for seasonal availability or ask to join the weekly email notification - we can then prepare and deliver your order freshly dug or harvested.

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Shop opening times:

Fridays and Saturdays 10am - 5pm
On
Thursdays from 11am when we are labelling up the fresh meat and processing orders for FREE DELIVERY
 

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The Prunus at the front of the house indicates Spring has sprung. If the photograph was clearer you could also see the straight lines made by the apprentice as he rolled the grassland. The dry spell has allowed for spiking, chain harrowing and fertilising the grassland as necessary - it is good to get ahead with such tasks while the weather allows.
We are expecting the imminent arrival of lambs and calves; both have due dates from today with the rams having gone in on Nov 1st and the bull arriving on June 20th. They were scanned a month ago by a contractor with the specialist ultra sound equipment and expertise. Disappointingly the 77 ewes scanned at 174 % made up of 5 barren, 19 singles, 44 twins and 9 triplets. The bulk of the singles are from the 25 Welsh Mule shearlings which really should be carrying twins. We deliberately did not mate them as ewe lambs but gave them another year till they were shearlings ( having been shorn once ) - perhaps they will reward us by being good mothers with plenty of milk and willing to foster a triplet.
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The pregnant ewes eating their 'cake' which is a cereal booster we feed during the latter stages of pregnancy and early lactation.
The cows gave better scanning results with only one barren and 'Sailor' was the last of the original herd we bought in 2007 and she wasn't in the first flush of youth then. She had pendulous udders when milking and I shan't miss the prospect of teaching a stubborn calf to search  downwards for the teat instead of the natural instinct to rootle upwards. The cows are scanned internally via the rectum ( yes, he wears protective gloves and waterproof apron ) and the image relayed to special glasses. The ewes are done externally ( as humans ) only they stand and an area naturally devoid of wool is used on the tummy next to the back leg. It takes only seconds to determine from the density of grey on the screen if she is barren, carrying a single or twin but marginally longer to determine triplets and quads.
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Following ongoing analysis and tweaking of the pig rations we have had 3 consecutive weeks when the P2 back fat levels have suited the butchers who buy our pigs. This is a relief all round and hopefully we are now back on track. The process has involved altering slightly all the rations we home mix ( weaner, grower 1, grower 2, finishing, dry sow and lactating sow ) plus the quantities fed and at what age. For example it is well documented that changing accommodation ( necessitated as the pigs outgrow the pens ) and type of feed at the same time has an adverse effect on growth rate. We used to change them onto Grower 1 before moving from their weaner accomodation but are now leaving them on the weaner ration until 4 days after moving by which time they have settled in.

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Utilising his larger and warmer workshop, Phil has spent a considerable number of hours improving the cattle handling system with the self inflicted deadline of BVD testing. He has constructed a vet box ( shiny, red oxide above )  which is positioned in the race behind the crush ( second hand, more rust coloured ) and in theory means one animal is restrained in the crush and another waiting
behind the box while the sliding doors protect the vet between.
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In practice it worked well especially as part of the race has a curve and cattle follow better round a corner than straight on. All the sections are movable using the teleporter as we now have cattle either side of the road. This has also necessitated a revamp of the livestock transporter.

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Rusty parts on the sides and roof have been replaced and an entirely new floor put in and painted with anti slip paint which leaves a finish like sandpaper. As usual you can tell the Phil constructions by the coat of red oxide.

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Our muck for straw swap with a neighbour ground to a halt after he hurt his knee skiing. Thankfully he is now back tractor driving and the enormous heap which has grown over the winter should disappear in time to reveal the main car park for our Open Farm Day on Good Friday ........... details on the left. We look forward to seeing those of you who can make it - please bring the sunshine with you.

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 Please visit our web site              www.garrhousefarm.co.uk
Or contact us on 01206 735 694  or 07790 095 052

Kate Gladwin        Garr House Farm, Layer Road, Gt. Wigborough, Colchester Essex CO5 7RR



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