Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Not bad for an hours walk!

We have been really enjoying our wildbird seed mix this year as we can see it from our cottage.  Flocks of linnets regularly fly over and land and it is so rewarding to see the wildlife which it is supporting.  We are now supplementary feeding using our snacker feeder, which releases small amounts of seed as we drive around on the quad bike.
We work closely with our RSPB adviser Bruce Fowkes and he came out to visit us last week and we thought we would share his email –

Hi Camilla
Good to see you this morning.  It was great to see how many birds the wild seed mix is attracting, I saw large numbers of linnets (200+!), a good flock of chaffinch’s, plus fieldfare, starling, robin, dunnock, blue tit, wren, jackdaw, rook and crow.
A quick walk up to the top of the hill produced a good flock of meadow pipit, a few skylark and 2 corn bunting.
Not bad for an hour’s walk!
Best wishes

We had a lovely morning yesterday bringing the very pregnant cows back from over the road to the field where they will have their calves.  We love having them closer to the farm as we can easily walk to see them.  They will start calving in the next 10 days.  The young mums (heifers) who have never had a calf before are in the barn.  This is so we can keep a close eye on them as it will be their first time.

More soon

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Freddie, Finch, Belle and Fly

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Looking ahead to calving and lambing

So far so good.  Less rain than this time last year.  Thats  not to say there isn't mud around but we haven't got lakes in our fields which we've had before.  We have enjoyed some frosty, gorgeous, sunny days like today and it really does make a difference to checking the animals and keeping them fed.  But it does mean wrapping up with a lot of layers!

The cows are heavily pregnant and will begin calving in the next few weeks, they are enjoying their silage bales and we will bring them back closer to the farm buildings soon so we can keep an eye on them.  For the first time we will be calving heifers, these are female cows who haven't had calves before.  We have been warned that they can be tricky so we will bring them into the barn and have them on straw and leave them undisturbed unless we think they need our help.  This will be easier to intervene in the barn rather than in the field.

Bob arrives next week to scan the sheep, a key annual event in the sheep calendar.  The sheep will then be divided up according to how many lambs they have been scanned to have and will be fed accordingly.  The triplets and twins sooner than the singles and the closer lambing approaches the more food they will have.  Their food is a high nutritional pellet which contains energy and minerals to help the growth of the lambs and maintain the ewes condition too.

The flocks of linnets continue to enthrall us as we drive past the wildbird seed mix, they fly up and swirl around before coming in to land.  We have just started to supplementary feed too, as the food larder diminishes not just in our area but in the hedges too, we spread a mix of grains and seeds to help the birds maintain themselves through the winter months, sometimes called the hungry gap.

Our lambing open days are 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th April, we are busy planning for them now.  We are also doing Open Farm Sunday this year on the 11th June and involving lots of our neighbouring farmers, more details soon.

Fly has settled in well and loves sitting on the back of the quad bike.  Belle remains top dog but has realised she can't run faster than Fly....

More soon

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Freddie, Finch, Belle and Fly