Monday, 23 April 2012

Herding cats?!

Trying to move young lambs is like herding cats, difficult! So when we realised that we had put a small group of young mums and their week old lambs in the wrong field, we needed help. Luckly three young lads from our next door village came to the rescue.
We are presently enjoying the rain, and the grass is growing for what seems like the first time in 12 months.

More photos of the flock and their young lambs to follow shortly.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Its all over for 2012..

I spent yesterday morning at our butchers, Hedges in Abingdon. I thought it was time I had a refresher course in watching one of our lambs being butchered. I had a great time watching Mark (left in the photo) who was great at explaining all the different cuts and 'bust' the lamb down in no time. Opposite us was Chris, (right in the photo) who only likes to cut beef and great at it he is too and he makes a good cup of tea too! Ben is in the middle who is another member of the team and butchers our lamb alongwith Mark and Steve who wasn't around today when I picked up lamb for Abingdon market tomorrow.

Our last ewe lambed yesterday afternoon, a lovely set of twins to end this years season. Well done girls! What a relief. The lambing sheds are almost empty now, we only have our 4 orphans who are real characters and soon the last few who have lambed will be joining all their friends the rain! It has never felt so good to see a puddle and Molly has been loving them, she comes in completely plastered but we don't mind as it is so good to finally have some decent rain which will make a significant difference to our grass growth.

Roly was at Oxford market today and despite the weather our customers came and we're hoping tomorrow will be the same. New season lamb will start in a couple of weeks, we'll keep you posted.

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Boris and Belle

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Helping hand

One of the highlights over this lambing period has been all the great people who have joined us as 'Shepherds for the day', and their delight in getting stuck in, litereally! Here is a video we have just been sent by Dave Bell who filmed fellow shepherd Lizzie delivering her first lamb.

The flock have made a little more progress today, with two more having their lambs, leaving now just eight - come on!

Report on all the lambs outdoors to follow soon

Roly, Camilla, Molly and Belle

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Nearly there!

A few days break from the blog....the girls have definitely slowed up and we have a stubborn 12 who still have their legs crossed and making us wait! The sheds always feel a bit strange as they gradually empty and the majority of the flock are now outside.

Badger is having a great time over at Shillingford, she is definitely enjoying the great outdoors and charges around with all her friends. Henry is over there as well with her lovely set of twins. I love the routine of this time of year and driving over to check them all. You can see the lambs grow by the day especially when the sun is on their backs.

At last we've had some rain, whether we are ever going to have enough to make up for the shortfall remains to be seen. You can almost hear the ground drinking it in but already wanting more. For now though, the fields are green and the sheep are happy so we are too!

Roly has been busy thinking ahead for the next major challenge of fly strike, which we blog about every year as it is such a big part of the shepherds calendar. Also I think for us it is as I was scarred so much when I was little seeing a couple of our sheep at home who were unlucky to get it that I never want to see it again! We are very fortunate that we can spray our sheep to prevent the eggs from hatching so this is what Roly has been doing on our lambs and ewes from the January flock.

Amazing Mel is still with us, but only until the weekend, boo we will miss her! Akash left us at the end of last week and we certainly miss having him around. I'm sure he is catching up on as much sleep as possible as there is quite a backlog during lambing. We wish them well with their futures, and next term back at the Royal Veterinary College.

More soon

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Belle and Boris

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Day 21 - spring lambing 2012

Had a lovely visit from Mayott House this morning. Myself and Belle went in to visit them a couple of weeks ago and they were keen to come out and see the lambs. They arrived at a perfect moment when we were loading up the lambs and Mums into the trailer to take over to Shillingford. They got to hold and cuddle lots of lambs before we took them inside the lambing sheds to see the lambs which had only just been born this morning. The visit ended with a demonstration from Belle! We really enjoyed having them, thank you to Jeff for all his brilliant organising.

This visit was supported through a project we are involved with called Let nature Feed your Senses

Monday, 2 April 2012

Day 20 - Spring lambing 2012

The first of our ewe lambs (1 year old sheep), started lambing today, one had a single and the other had twins - all are doing well. Also, one of our ewes expecting twins gave us a surprise this morning when she went on to have triplets!

In the past we have waited until our sheep are 2 years old until they have their first lambs, however we have been advised it is okay to lamb them at 1 year old, PROVIDING, we do the following as they are still growing -
- start feeding them extra sheep nuts earlier in their pregnancy than the older sheep
- continue feeding them sheep nuts after they have lambed
- do not let them try and rear twins.

So far so good, we shall keep you posted!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Day 19 - Spring Lambing 2012

Thank you everyone who came and visited the farm and lambing barns today. We had another fantastic day with lots and lots of people. Unfortunalty the sheep that were due to lamb today, are still due to lamb! It was quite quiet on the lambing live front, but still lots to see and do on the sheep front.

One condition our lambs have experienced more this year than last year is their eye lashes growing inwards, which makes their eyes very weepy and potentially blind. One of the best treatments for this is a small injection of saline solution just under the skin near the eye, which helps to push those hairs outwards - a little sore in the short term, but as good as new in the long term.

More tomorrow!