While it’s been a quiet week here on the blog, things have been far from quiet on the farm.
It’s been a whole week since my lovely ladies arrived on the farm, so the last 7 days has been spent settling them in, getting to know them and preparing for life as a sheep farmer.
We picked up a mineral lick for them on the way back from the mart. just to make sure they were getting all the nutrients they required and an extra little energy boost. I moved it around the field a couple of times, mainly because the ewes couldn’t decide where they wanted to congregate, but they seem to have decided that they like a small plateau with wonderful sea views and plenty of shelter. It seems that my girls have fine tastes.
Along with the mineral bucket, we’ve started to give them supplementary feed. At this time of year, the grass isn’t at its best so it’s important they get everything they need, especially with them being in lamb. We opted for Supabeet, a good all round pellet feed, as in the event that the sheep weren’t interested it could be fed to the cows. Thankfully, the sheep love it and now wait for me at their trough, which is a really nice way to start the morning. Having them waiting patiently has also helped us get used to each other, and more importantly, allowed me to count them all and give them a once over to make sure everything is all well.
I’ve also taken to given them an arm full of pea straw every other day. While pea straw may look pretty disgusting, it’s packed full of protein which is very important for ewes pre lambing. They need a diet with a high protein content in the last few weeks before lambing to help with milk and colostrum production, so the tickle of straw they receive now should help ease them onto this high protein diet. They also bloody love the stuff.
I’m planning on lambing inside, so Wednesday was spent cleaning out the sheds we plan on using. One shed was cleared out by hand with the help of the tractor. The other is a little larger, so we’ll be using a skidsteer to clear that one out at a later date. Once the sheds are clean, they’ll be disinfected to make a nice, clean and sterile environment to lamb in. I’ll do another blog on preparing for lambing a little nearer the time!
I’ve also been looking in to lambing pens, so I’m currently busy shopping around to find the very best price I can. I’ve been out to Tongland today to visit our local supplier to see what they can do, so once again, expect another blog post on that when I have a little more info!
It’s been a nice and busy first week as a sheep farmer, it still feels a little strange referring to myself as a farmer, especially as I only have the 16 ewes, but I guess we all have to start somewhere!
For now, I’m just enjoying watching my lovely ladies and watching them grow in confidence, edging a little closer to me every day. Every morning routine now starts with letting the chickens out (although, I will admit sometimes Iona does those on the occasions that I’m being a little slow to get up!) and popping out to feed the sheep and there is no greater feeling in the world than seeing them and knowing that they’re my very own stock.