Monday, 3 February 2020

Lighter mornings, longer evenings....

Ted on the left is growing up fast!  Fly on the right definitely in charge
We are just beginning to feel and sense the first signs of spring as we emerge from a very wet autumn and winter.  We can hear the birds in the morning now and they are just starting to get a little lighter.  Walking the dogs last night at 5pm we could see and we are ready for the change.  The rain has been relentless and the odd dry day we've had are then followed by more rain.  It is hard working in the mud and the animals do not like it either.  However, looking at the forecast this week, we have some dry days so we will be making the most of it.

Big highlight on our calendar happened 2 weeks ago, Malcolm came to pregnancy scan the ewes.  It is a big day as it feels like the culmination of months of planning their grazing to ensure they are in good condition and the implications for what lies ahead for lambing!  We were really pleased with the results, considering the wet autumn and winter we've had we weren't quite sure what to expect -

  • singles - 65
  • twins - 277
  • triplets - 60
  • quads - 1
  • empty - 14
Total scanned were 417 which makes our percentage 193%.  We were pleased, a few too many empty ewes but they could be late lambing so that figure may not be wholly accurate.  We have started to supplement the ewes expecting triplets to support the nutritional demands of carrying 3 lambs and to ensure good colostrum quality.  Colostrum is the first milk the lambs suckle which is full of antibodies to protect them from infections so the difference between good and bad quality can be life threatening for newborn lambs.  We had a group of year 4 schoolchildren to the farm last week and we explain colostrum as an imaginary internal shield.  Those expecting twins we will start feeding in a couple of weeks and those expecting singles will not have any.  They will be fine on the nutrition they receive from the supplementary hay and ensuring their lambs do not grow too big inside them is the utmost priority for them so their labour is straightforward.

We have a great team of helpers lined up again for lambing, local vet students this year and past vet students coming back to help.  We are so grateful to them.

Ted our young sheepdog is coming up for 6 months old and he is huge!  We are really enjoying having him and we will start introducing him to a few sheep over the next few weeks.  An experienced shepherdess in training dogs, Zoe who farms near Cuckmere Haven on the coast is very kindly going to come up and give me a few starting points so I'm looking forward to that.

Dates for your diary - lambing open days - 28th/29th March and the 4th/5th April, we look forward to seeing you.

More soon with news of a dry spring to come we hope!

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Freddie, Fly and Ted

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