Farm Diary continued (11)

7th - 10th April 1999

We had Erika staying for a few days and Sally and her three came too. The weather was bright and warm. The sheep and lambs that we'd put out on Gratna looked well. We'd reseeded Gratna with a grass and clover ley after taking oats off it last sumer. It hasn't been doing very well and is infested with charlock which is rather a pernicious weed. We thought we'd put the new lambs on it for a little while and then top it.

We had lots of helpers for a few days.

Sheep in Gratna

Vera and lamb

One of my favourite pictures. Will holding a lamb --rather as if it was a soft toy he was carrying up to bed when he was a toddler.

Erika helping.

Sheep 5 always uses her lamb as a pillow.

Kaya talking to a lamb

Bibsi and Little Lucy.
Femi helping James with tail docking

We were planning on getting all the ewes and lambs out in the field by Monday, only leaving 16 or so sheep inside waiting to lamb. Lambing has gone well. There has only been one death post lambing, and that was a triplet with watery mouth. There is one lamb, born on Easter Monday which hasn't thrived at all. It is hanging on, but there is obviously something very wrong with its digestive system. Its faeces are like cream cheese and it is very bloated. We are giving it electrolyte solution.

Flocks of litle birds fly in and out of the shed. They are a mixture of green finches, yellow hammers, gold finches, bullfinches and sparrows (I think, they fly so fast it's difficult to tell). It's lovely to see them darting out as one comes up. They perch in the hedge, waiting to come in and find stray grains of corn. I forgot to mention the hedgehog that emerged in the warm spell just before Easter and then went back to sleep in the hay.
Something large is digging out rabbit holes in the bank at the end of the orchard. It doesn't smell of fox.If it's badger it's a bit close to where we've got the chickens (badgers are worse than foxes for killing chickens).

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From 9th April 1999

For some other good farm diaries, link to:

Paul Stanbridge, farming 500 acres of arable, 25 miles North of London.
A good example of a responsible, conventional farmer. I don't envy him his problems with destructive humans.

Ford Farms, a small farm near us who has just started a diary page.