This week we are proud to introduce derbyshire sheep farmer, Sophie Barnes, to the blog. Sophie will be blogging monthly on the trials and tribulations of running her own flock of sheep.
Here’s Sophie’s first post on what’s been on her farming agenda!
Escapee sheep seems to be the main thing occupying my time recently! My wee little Hebs have discovered that if they grit their teeth and go for it, they can run through electric fencing. Not ideal seeing as 95% of my fields aren’t stock-proof, but there we are. Trials and tribulations of having sheep I suppose!
I’ve been lucky enough in this last month to secure some new grazing. It’s full of clover and a beautiful thick ley. My lambs went on it at the beginning of September and they’re growing before my eyes. It’s truly unbelievable how well my Hebridean x Rouge lambs are doing- they’re even rivalling the Charolias!
After one of the driest Septembers on record, I have to admit I did do a little rain dance as my grass needed watering… I’m regretting that now! The past few days have left me sodden and frozen to the bone chasing around after escapee lambs, re-constricting electric fencing and searching for ewes that had been lost for 16 hours! This wet, lush grass has left my lambs a little loose on the back ends so the next job is to dag them all (by this I mean trimming all the dirty wool off their bottoms, leaving them spick and span! After all, you or I wouldn’t like it!) Thankfully the season for flystrike seems to have passed and I’m no longer constantly worrying about my woollies being eaten alive!
A dose of bolus
Once I’ve dagged my lambs I’m tempted to bolus them with minerals after hearing such good reviews on twitter and from fellow farmers. A bolus is a ‘mineral pellet’ that’s inserted into the rumen which allows for a slow release of minerals over time helping the animal thrive.
At this point in the year for me it’s pretty much a case of letting the lambs grow and fatten and making sure the ewes put on enough condition for tupping time. With plenty of good grass in front of them this is definitely happening, I have some awfully greedy sheep!
So for now that’s it, next month I’ll be prepping the flock for tupping time and hopefully some lambs will be fat enough to send off to the abattoir and I can deliver some more delicious Rare Breed Meat to my customers!