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February on the farm

21st February 2017

Twins? single? triplets? (…..quads?) scanning the ewes, first year at Cocking Hill!

We’ve been very busy this February. Grass is scarce and typically always a hard month for farming. There is some positive news though…we’ve scanned our ewes, and it went really well!

We scanned at an average of 183% (…the boys did their job!), with a great twinning rate and hardly any triplets of quads. For us, as we lamb everything outdoors, it is crucial that we don’t have two many triplets or quads, as we have to foster them onto the ewes with singles – and it just makes things a bit tricky.

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January on the farm…

1st January 2017

First things first; It has been FREEZING on the farm. Like, the kind of freezing where I have worried that my fingers may actually drop off! All sense of pride within the fashion stakes have gone out of the window and every morning Andy laughs and asks me ‘Come on then, how many layers have you got on today then?!’ ‘Six…usually the answer is six’.

Traditionally January would be a quieter time for most sheep farmers in the UK (if there is such a thing for farmers!). But for us, taking on Cocking Hill Farm the previous September has meant that we have a lot of ‘setting up’ to do.

As we are converting an old dairy farm to sheep and beef we have had the grand task of upgrading all of the fencing so that it is stock proof for the sheep and lambs (around 25,000 meters to be exact!).

I’ve gone from someone who takes absolutely no notice of fences around animals, to a woman obsessed with all the different types. At the moment we are having to use a mixture of three methods, one being ‘temporary’, this is poly wire that is electrified by batteries, popped up with plastic posts that stick into the field. We’ve been using this out of necessity – just to quickly fence around any fields that don’t have secure fencing. Its quick to put up (rolled out on the quad bike attached to a ‘Rappa’ trailer), BUT some of our savvier and more brazen mobs of sheep have been cheeky, and the moment they discover that part of the fence is down (perhaps a deer has pushed through for example), they’re out in a flash! Not great when you look up onto the Downs and you see hundreds of fluffy white things all wandering along the South Downs Way! The other down side is the constant, having to put up the fences and take them down again – it can get very dull, very quickly!

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