Friday 23 November 2018

Livestock review

With the fruit and vegetable plots bedded down under a generous layer of compost, fruit bushes pruned and mulched, and rows of remaining ‘winter crops’ tidied and to be harvested when needed, I’ll soon make a start on some regular maintenance tasks. Some stock fencing needs repairing, a field gatepost has to be replaced, the long boundary hedge of hawthorn and blackthorn will get its annual trim. The fruit trees will also need pruning. I’ll continue where I left off last winter doing some clearance in the southern woody boundary. In the process there’ll be wood for next winter. There’s also a couple of new projects on the holding l’ll be undertaking.

In the meantime here’s an overview of the livestock which governs much of my daily routine.

Our two Saddleback sows. I'm very much hoping
that the one on the left is pregnant having AI'd
her a few weeks ago. If so, she's due in February.

The Wiltshire Horn ewes are in with the ram.
When his work is done lambs should ensue
from mid-March through to mid-April.

We have meat chickens, meat ducks and turkeys
as short term residents which we grow on during 
the year. At this time we have turkeys still with us. 
These are Norfolk Blacks which we've had as day
 old poults  (twelve of them) back in May. Most of 
them have been been claimed for Christmas. 

We've got about 80 hens for eggs. They include
Ixworth, Cream Legbars, French Copper Marans
and some of mixed parentage. Most, however,
are ex-commercial hens which we acquire when
they are 72 weeks old but continue to provide a
steady supply of eggs. With the shorter daylight
hours egg laying is much reduced and demand 

outstrips supply. As soon as we are into the new 
year production will increase quite quickly as the 
days become gradually longer. They are 
remarkably light-sensitive.

With the colder conditions, the bees have hunkered
down for the winter. Hopefully, they will make it
though to next year. 

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