Shearing sheep is harder than it looks
As the weather warms up, it’s sheep shearing time.
Usually, we ask an expert to come round and do it, but this year we thought we’d have a crack at it ourselves. Armed with a set of electric clippers from our indulgent neighbour, we set about the task.
Having rounded up 6 of last years lambs, we managed to manoeuvre them into the shed one by one, positioning them on their backsides (where they can’t move around too easily). Each was clipped in a rather awkward fashion, and then released back into the pack to recover!
The first two seemed to take about an hour each with plenty of resting (us, and the sheep), at which point we decided to retreat and do a bit more research and have a cup of tea! After viewing a couple of online videos of shearing, we decided to have another crack at it. Although the whole sheep+sheers still felt a little alien, we managed to do the other 4 in about 20+ minutes each.
A vast improvement, but exhausting all the same! The others can wait a week or two…
The ram goes in with the ewes but the wet weather continues
The Ram (pictured) was moved as planned, but regrettably one of the ewes had to be taken out and separated from the others due to lameness.
She seems to be recovering well, but it will be a while we think before she is returned to the paddock. We want to be sure that whatever is causing the lameness is cured before reintroduction into the flock.
Meanwhile, the sow has been removed from the piglets (easier than the other way round), and they now have access to a new area of fresh ground.
The rain has continued to pour this month, making it very soggy underfoot – for us and the animals.
We increase our breeding stock
Geraldine’s recovery is now complete, and she is as good as new.
We have also just added to our breeding ewes with a purchase of two more from a neighbour of ours (pictured – the ewes, not the neighbour!).
One is pure Suffolk as far as we know, and the other we’re not sure about. Both are a little older than ours, but should give us a few good years of service.
After a couple of weeks with the others, the ram will join the ewes in November. In the meantime, the girls all have access to the main field at night, just to give their current paddock a bit of respite.
Geraldine the ewe goes for an unplanned dip
With slightly drier weather so far, the piglets are doing well. 8 in all. They are coping with the surface mud, and are already tucking into mum’s fodder!
Electric fencing continues slowly too, with a second of the 4 main paddocks getting the treatment.
We also nearly lost one of our ewes last week. Having nipped out of our rear fence, she fell into a drainage ditch and couldn’t get out. She may have been there for nearly 24 hours, and when we found her, she was only just visible with her head and back showing in the muddy water.
She was very cold and obviously tired, and it took 3 people to get her out. Sheep are heavy enough without a fleece full of water!
She rested on her side in the steading for 3 days (pictured), barely moving but warm under a heat lamp, and we called the vet to check her over. After a further day or two, we managed to get her back on her feet.
Keeping her warm
She has recovered well and is now out in the field chewing grass. Albeit with a visible tide mark!
Busy times here on the croft
What with lambing, baling hay and planting crop, we haven’t had a lot of time to spare to write these updates (hence the time gap!). We have recently tasted the sweetest ever pork from our home reared pigs and the dogs were pleased to be presented with the trotters!