Pippa finally delivers our first calf
Thankfully, after several weeks of waiting, Pippa finally gave birth to a bull calf on November 14th without any help from anyone.
Despite the chill in the weather, mother and calf continue to do well, albeit we are still keeping a good arm’s length away for the safety of everyone concerned.
We are also confident that our sow is in pig to our boar, and have just collected our ram lamb. He appears to be pleased with his new harem, and we sincerely hope he is as fertile as his predecessor! Only time will tell.
Plenty more work to do though. The polytunnel needs tidying, and the fruit garden is more weed than fruit bush at the moment. Fun times ahead…
The weather proves a challenge whilst we await the birth of our first calf
The weather has certainly changed for us up here. No more sun for the last 2 or 3 weeks, but plenty of rain and some quite strong gales. We’ve had a relatively dry year all in all, but the result of that seems to be that the ground surface is quite hard and the torrential rain we are getting now has nowhere to go!
We’re also still waiting for Pippa, our Dexter cow, to give birth to her calf. It would have been nice for that to happen when everything was dry but that’s obviously not how it’s going to be. Still, provided we remain vigilant everything will be fine.
Our ewes are currently paddocked without so much grass at the moment, so they can thin up a little in time for the ram to arrive. Judging by our results last year this probably isn’t necessary, but we don’t want any complications.
Our first cow
We’ve been busy as ever outside and a couple of weeks ago we collected our new Dexter cow, Pippa. Dexter’s are quite small by cow standards, but are excellent for both milk and beef. Pippa is due to calf some time in October, so needless to say we are excited if not a little nervous!
More piglets, but this time we are prepared
Well, since our last newsletter we’ve had some more new arrivals – another 12 piglets from our second expectant mother.
We are pleased to say that this birth was a lot more straightforward than our first one, not least because our first experience gave us a clue as to what we could expect. We also had the opportunity to segregate ‘mother’ from the others in advance of the labour this time, so she was much more comfortable and settled. In fact, it all took place overnight without any interference from us!
On a slightly more unpleasant note, one of our GSDs, Amy, is recovering from an operation to repair/reinforce a partially ruptured crutiate ligament 3 weeks ago. As you can imagine, the leg has been very tender and as a sensitive little thing she has found it quite stressful. The good news is that she is recovering well and is much more comfortable, and in line with our natural approach to feeding, we are using homeopathic treatment wherever possible. We’ve also become quite adept at packing parcels with her laying at our feet all day with her buster collar on. Quite tricky!
An abrupt introduction to pig breeding
One of our pigs became the mother of 6 tiny piglets last week, and it has interrupted our schedule rather rudely. After an interesting start where we had to collect the new arrivals in a box for an hour or two while piggy settled down a bit, mother and babies are now doing very well. We hope to be back our regular timetable for December.
Well, the clocks have recently gone back, and we don’t know about you but we found the adjustment to darker evenings and marginally lighter mornings quite hard. We still have plenty to do outside – new pig arks and animal shelters to build, fences to complete, roofs to make watertight – but with at least one hour less of useful daylight than we had a few weeks ago.
Also, according to our pigs and birds nothing had changed and it was important to adjust the feeding regime slowly so as not to cause them unnecessary stress. The same can be said for our dogs, and we’re sure yours were the same. Where we used to feed them at 6pm, it had to be 5pm for a while or they would start to speak to us! Slow adjustment saved our eardrums a little.
Perhaps more noticeable is the fact that when we’re out in the early evening now, our dogs ‘disappear’. If it wasn’t for an assortment of blinkers, strobes, and lighted collars (a different one for each dog so we know who’s who!) we wouldn’t know where they were.