Sunday 26 September 2010

It's only September but it feels like winter!

Today has been another wet and horrible day and this afternoon we lit the wood burning stove in the front room. It seems strange because this time last year we had fires on the moors!
This morning we moved the ewes into the back field so they have access to the barn for some shelter, as well as some fresh grass. We've moved a hay rack and feed troughs into the gimmer lamb's field so that we can give them extra rations of barley straw and sugar beat shreds. The "fatties" are on hay and sheep coarse mix. We should be giving our tup Finn some extra feed, but he's summered well and if we are not careful he will be over weight.
The chickens are in my veg plot, scratching around for bugs and seeds. The Sussex cockerel went to a new home last week and at first my hens seemed a bit lost with him gone and for a couple of days we only got 2eggs. But they have settled down again and are back to laying 4 or 5 eggs a day.
Yesterday I was at a Craft Fair in Saltburn. It was cold as there was no heating on in the hall, not many people about and so I sold very little, but I did sell more than some of the other stall holders?
I will get some more photos uploaded to the blog, if and when the weather decides to be nice!!!!

Saturday 25 September 2010


Well we are now the proud owners of 2 Teeswater ewes! My friend Jayne and I went to look at 4 ewes owned by a local breeder. Whilst Tim and the breeder stood chatting Jayne and I walked through the girls. We agreed that we both liked ewe number 2 and 3, but would be happy with ewes 1 & 3. We decided that we would take all 4 ewes, but until they came out of the trailer we were not sure who would have which 2. Tim and the breeder showed their true "yellow streaks" by refusing to "referee" who would get which ewes!!!!! Anyway they are staying with the breeder to be mated to his tup. We could be lambing as early as February next year!!!!
We've also decided to change the focus of our flock breeding and breed Teeswaters and Mashams (you put a Teeswater tup to a Scottish Black Faced ewe to create a Masham). So to that end, yesterday we went to the Horned Ewe sale to buy some Scotties. But the few that were there were not very good or went through in too big a group. We only want 10!
Next Saturday is the horned lamb sale and I've noticed in the catalogue there are some Scottie gimmer lambs for sale. So we will go and maybe have a bid on them. It's not ideal but if it's the only way we can get some more Scotties, then that is what will have to do.
As a result of our change in breeding focus, at the Teeswater Show and Sale on the 7th October, will see us looking for a Teeswater tup and maybe a couple of ewes/lambs. It will greatly depend on prices as to whether we just get a tup, or a tup and some ewes.
On Wednesday we are sending 15 of our lambs to the "Store lamb sale". We don't think they will make the 40kg mark by December, so sending them to the store sale means we won't have to carry them through the winter hoping they gain enough weight to make it viable to send them to the "fat market", especially as we are now starting to give the sheep some sort of supplemental feed. Hopefully we will get a good price for them!!!! Fingers crossed.

Sunday 12 September 2010

Cat on a hot tin roof......

Not exactly more a Resident Vandal and hubby on a hot tin roof!!
The Resident Vandal arrived on Monday to help Tim finally roof the lambing barn, but when he arrive the weather was so awful, it looked like the roof would never get finished.
On Monday and Tuesday they finished off some fencing and re-hung some gates around the lambing barn, so that it was all "sheep safe" and finally on Wednesday morning the wind had subsided so they were able to crack on with the roof. It took them 2 days to get all of the 17' & 18' panels in place and securely fastened down.
I had to do an emergency run to York for some more roof fixings on the Wednesday as they were not sure they would have enough to finish the job!
Friday the weather turned again (wind and rain) and thankfully there was just a bit of finishing off to do before the end caps could go on. But the weather has not been kind to us, so Tim and possible me will put them on this coming week.
On Saturday we decided to put the newly roofed barn to use and give the ewes a quick weigh, pedicure and dental check. Most of the ewes are O.K, but one or two are down on their weights and a couple have lost more teeth than is good for them, so we will have to replace them in our breeding program, sooner rather than later. We'll have them in again at the end of the month just to check that they are all putting weight on now that we have put them onto some more fresh grass.
The "fatties" (aka the fat lambs) also went through the scales and anything over 25kgs was given a yellow dot on their back, the ones under 25kgs will be going to the lamb stores market at the end of the month, along with the 7 ewe lambs were are not keeping for breeding.
We've decided that we're not carrying any more lambs than is absolutely necessary through the winter this year. The reaming "fatties" will be gone before Christmas.
On Wednesday we're going to look at some Teeswater ewes with a friend. It will be interesting to see how many we buy! We need at least 6 additional breeding ewes this year to bring us up to our ideal breeding flock of 30 ewes. The Horned Breeding Ewe sale is also on at the end of this month. We will be going to see what is available and hopefully we might be able to get some more Scottish Black Faced ewes like we did last year.
It's a busy time of the year for breeding ewes.