Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Busy times ahead for the boys...

For 364 days of the year the rams do not like us going near them.  Well, other than Basil who does like his ears scratched every now and then....  But the day when Roly appears in their field holding the raddles they almost roll over and couldn't be more obliging.  Raddles are a very important piece of equipment.  They are like a harness which go around their shoulders and have a crayon fixed to them which lodges on their chest.  You can see in the photos a green block, although Basil's is harder to see because of his woolly coat!  This crayon marks the ewes as they are being served by the rams.  A ewe's cycle is 17 days long.  At the end of the 17 days we then change the colour of the crayon on the raddle.  This is then an excellent guide for us to dictate when the ewes will have their lambs.  The majority of the flock will be served in the first 17 day cycle which is when we time our popular lambing weekends for which we run with our landlords the Earth Trust and invite people to come and spend time in the lambing barns in the evenings, please see our website for more details  Being a 'shepherd for the day' with us happens all year round but we do tend to get busy during lambing.

We put the raddles on the rams a few days ahead of them going in with the ewes to make sure they are fitting comfortably.  They are due to go in on Saturday afternoon and it is always funny to see them getting busy straightaway!

We were at Headington farmers market for the first time last Friday and it was really lovely meeting some new customers there.  Thank you for making us feel so welcome.  We really enjoyed it and will be there again next Friday 26th October.  This week is a busy market week for us too, Wallingford yesterday, Oxford tomorrow and Abingdon on Friday.  Our neighbours Mark and Jane Cooper (Coopers Oxford Pork will also be selling our lamb at Sandford on Thames community market on Saturday and finally, the South Oxford market on Sunday morning is a new weekly market, and we shall be there!

We look forward to seeing you.

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Boris and Belle

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