Friday, 25 March 2011

More Hill Radnor lambs

We had this pair yesterday, two of the tiniest lambs I have seen.
I'll be interested to see how they get on, I've heard that they can be born small but develop well despite this.

Nicky put them in the shed last night thinking they were too small to survive the night and tried to give them a supplementary feed too boost them. But they were having none of it and mum who is a first timer was getting a bit stressed so she left them too it.
In the morning all three were in the middle of the field looking fine.
We are bracing ourselves for a rush of lambs this weekend and next week, typically with our busiest week of the month with the monthly Moseley Farmers Market on Saturday.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Lambing has started

The first lambs of the season and the first pure bred Hill Radnors born on the farm. These particular lambs were bred by Juliet from Ystrad Organics two healthy boys.One of which depending on how they develop may become my stock tup in a couple of years.
I got way too excited by these new arrivals as they mark the new flock and a change over from the more commercial Lleyns to rare breed Hill Radnors. This will give more options with local outlets. She lambed unaided and the lambs were up and moving around before we got in to check them. All we had to do was dip the cord in iodine and leave them to it.
The Radnor lambs are born with a thick covering almost felt like which would protect them against almost any weather.
Although the mother is very defensive the lambs are very trusting and are quite unpeturbed by being picked up and handled.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Millie has continued with her training, now just over 2 years old she is driving well, flanks are OK but could be wider and her fetch is acceptable but she needs to keep a back off the sheep more. Seen below I stopped her on the drive to avoid the helter skelter run and chase you get with the dog trying to catch the sheep and the sheep running faster to keep in front. She will (hopefully) get to understand that she can control the sheep from a distance.

Millie has got to the stage when she can help me with the sheep on a regular basis, you can see her here 'walking the troughs.' When we start feeding the ewes before lambing they become less repectful of the shepherd and can be a problem trying to get to the trough before I've finished putting the feed in. Millie keeps the sheep back until I've finished putting out the feed.

Forced Rhubarb

For the fisrt time we tried forced rhubarb under the propagation bench.
We had some success but had too many thin shoots which don't sell so well. Next year we will pot up the roots after lifting and giving the right amout of frost this will allow us to water more effectively so providing better growth rates.
The roots will be divided and grown on for pot sales in the autumn.

Propagation season

The seed sowing season is going full rate now, onions are done lettuce shallots and leeks are being completed. We increased the capacity of the propagation bench and have surrounded the whole thing with white polythene. The result is that we can grow on 20% more trays with the same number of lights. We aim to maintain a temperature of about 15 to 20 C and use only incidental heat from the lamps. These burn 20hrs per day.

These onions are sown 3 to a cell which gives us the right size of bulb for our customers, and being from seed we can store them through to April.