January…a month that instills fear into even the most positive of people. It’s always a tough one isn’t it, the post Christmas slump where you’ve over indulged and feel you need to change every aspect of your life to try to be a better person as the new year begins(!).
Farming wise, for us, January is always a bit of a tricky one. Grass is scarce and its usually pretty wet, and my god this January has it rained! We’ve had lots more rain than last year and we’ve been struggling a bit even in our driest of fields. Our routine at the moment is usually to drop a couple of grass silage bales into each of the fields, along with a line of fodder beet dumped out of a trailer, all ready for the sheep to move in and chomp away. In the run up to scanning nutrition is a bit of a balance. On the one hand, we need to ensure that the ewes are getting plenty of grub to support their lambs, but on the other hand we don’t want them getting too ‘fat’ as this can cause problems down the line with prolapses (if you don’t know what a prolapse is, please google with caution…as they aren’t for the faint hearted).
We have popped last years lambs down at the Nyetimber Vinyards down the road from us. Its a really nice system, whereby each year, the lambs act as natural lawnmowers for the vineyards whilst naturally fertilising the soil – and we get some lovely grazing whilst grass is scarce on the farm. Everyone wins!
Thoughts are already turning to lambing in April, and we are scanning all of our ewes next week (eeeeek wish us luck and cross all of your fingers and toes for us please!). As most of you know, we lamb later than the indoor lambers as we wait for the weather to turn a bit more, therefore allowing us to lamb everything outside with minimal intervention. People always ask me if I think outdoor lambing is easier – truth is, I’ve never worked within an indoor lambing system – so I just couldn’t say really. I suppose you just have to have the right animal for the job, and the NZ Romneys are a hardy breed who are also very maternal – ie they’ll be fine to lamb outdoors and then once their lamb is born they are very good mothers. Its lovely to see them on a morning check around, with two lambs tucked up after feeding – all on their own without us having intervened.
So that’s our January. Its done. Over. Finito. Thank GOODESS. We’re now into February, which is a short month, then we’ll be sliding into March and it’ll be spring before we know it!
I’ll keep these monthly updates up at the end of each month – apart from anything else, its nice for me to read them and look back! I hope you enjoy them – and if you are interested in any other blog themes – please do let me know!