The cattle can clearly smell the grass growing and know spring is almost here. This morning they are running about in their open sided sheds kicking their heels in the bright, warm sunshine. Tomorrow we will weigh them and calculate their daily liveweight gain over the winter and for the oldest beef animals estimate their time of dispatch. Our wonderfully patient beef customers are getting a little restless and I promised them an update on when their beef boxes will be ready.
In the meantime I have just weighed and selected another eight lambs to send this week and this afternoon we will be checking on the progress of the fattening pigs, however I am sure they will be a few weeks off yet. Our fattening lambs are almost gone for another year and come mid April we will be delivering the new crop.
Progress on the arable front is good too with the drilling almost done and the fertiliser application on the wheat making good progress.
In the meantime the hired boar has arrived and is firmly in quarantine. This is not our first experience of hiring boars and we are frequently dismayed to find that some rare breed pigs are apparently kept in indifferent conditions. We are not sure he is even fit for the purpose he came for. Personally this morning I think he still looks poor, and we are debating whether to even try him or just send him back. He was dosed with Dectomax, an anti parasite injection, before we even took him off the trailer as he has arrived with what looks to us rather like both mange and worms, still his appetite is good and that is always a good thing with pigs. Pigs who are not eating is usually a sign of something terminal. Keeping these rare breeds going is not at all easy but we are determined to get it right and make a really good job of it, I just wish every other rare breed pig keeper tried to do the same.
In the meantime we’ve found a boar of the same line as our sterile one and can fetch him very soon. This will be good because we really prefer to have a closed herd, which makes us much less vulnerable to outbreaks of parasites and disease. It also means we are totally responsible for the pigs’ management and we prefer to do that too.
I have bad news and good news: First the bad news – I clearly spoke too soon on the drilling front as the very clever little box of ‘chips’ which calculates the correct seed rate has gone on the blink and is causing MAJOR problems for Jethro. The original seed drill was so much simpler.
Now the good news is I just walked past the hired boar’s box and he is shouting for his tea already.