Well it is certainly time I updated the blog.
I can hardly believe it is so long since I last wrote on here but family illness, and the all consuming world of running large farming business in the 21st Century have somehow dramatically eaten up a good few weeks without me realising.
I had a lovely few days away, unfortunately cut short by a family emergency. Since then it has been very very busy.
Yesterday, one of the gilts had her piglets, 12 were born alive, one was a runt and died leaving 11, then in the night a strong one climbed up a mini mountain of straw rucked up by the gilt and sadly fell into the water bucket. So now there are 10 and they are now doing well but are not out of the woods yet as they are so tiny and she is so large and does rather plop down in a heap every so often. They are learning to run under the heat lamp, which is behind bars, to keep them safe. It is really amusing to watch as the mother starts to get restless and tries to get up. This causes a procession of squeaky piglets, each no longer than a pencil, to turn away from their mother and start to walk in single file unsteadily to the safety of the creche. A second gilt is due to farrow at the end of the week.
It is currently very busy on the livestock side of the farm: the rams will be turned out with the ewes this week so that we lamb mid-April when the grass is good. The first batch of cattle has come into the yards and are already tucking into our home grown silage. Soon we will wean some of this year’s older calves and they will join the other young-stock in the shed.
Jethro is doing lots of calculations to work out the total stock numbers and the total feed stocks to ensure we have enough fodder to last right through to mid April. As an arable farm we are able to easily supplement the hay and silage we feed to the cattle with home grown rolled barley and straw. However, Jethro does this scientifically and weighs the animals regularly. Our beef is slow matured so we are only looking for continuous growth and gradual weight gain in the winter so the animals are ready to grow on well with next year’s grass.