Wednesday, 17 February 2010


Meet Eudora -

She's the newest addition to the flock. Another orphan ewe which our farmer friend gave me to start my flock. Six of us were sat around his kitchen table til midnight last night talking about worming programs, rotational grazing, and country life in general. And we just happened to bring along a lovely single friend of ours to meet him. They have sheep in common, which is a promising start to any relationship. She even helped me give the lambs their bottles before she went home. That's a good friend.

Eudora, Pearl, and Ivy (with a milk mustache)

Eudora settled right in. I think she was glad of the company. They're living in the back kennel - dubbed the 'lamb-a-rama' - until the weather warms up and dries out.

It's not quite spring but already the babies are arriving. Mike had a phone call from Lady S this morning. She found 3 duck eggs from her pair of runner ducks and asked if we would hatch them for her. Duck eggs are tricky as they require higher humidity to hatch than chicken eggs. But I'll fire up our small incubator tonight and get it up to temperature, and give the duck eggs a go for her.

The new shooting year started yesterday. We are catching up pheasant hens to lay the eggs that will grow into poults and be put to wood for this coming season. At dusk I can see the lights from Land Rovers and ATVs on the top of hill, all belonging to gamekeepers checking their traps on dark. No bird gets left inside overnight where they would be vulnerable to a fox. 

And we're waiting for Dulcie to come into season. There's enough of us on the shoot who would like a young pup to bring on. She's going to be paired up with another working dog on the shoot and we're hoping for a litter of Dulcie pups by early summer. The lambs will have grown up and moved out onto grass, and I can prepare the kennel for Dulcie and her pups. Once the pups are whelped and weaned, there will probably be just enough time to run some more meat chicks through there.

It's amazing what you can do with a small kennel, a wire run, and a heat lamp.


Paula said...

The lambs are of course, adorable. Great picture.

When you say you are starting a herd, are these going to be the mamas of the herd? Are you raising a herd for wool or meat?

Paula said...

...and what are those things on their ears?

Poppy Cottage said...

Ha Ha!! Yep, your new baby looks SO lovely.

Yep it was a good evening.

Love from your single friend who loves her dog inside, on her bed if possible, wears her wellys inside, up the stairs to the loo, leaving mud all over the floor, loves to knit and play with yarn (you know the stuff that is made from that stuff that grows on the back of a sheep) Ha Ha!!

Jennifer Montero said...

Paula - That's 'lamb bling'! Actually it's an ear tag for 'traceability', required by the government. For each sheep you have to fill out forms in triplicate, and link the tag number with your farm number (called a 'holding' number or CPH) and send it to the Ministry for Agriculture (now DEFRA). It's a bit Orwellian but manageable.

Yes, they'll be the mamas, though not for another 18 months or so. They're primarily meat but the fleece is OK. I'm still trying to purchase some Gotland ewes but it's proving difficult as they're a rare breed in the UK and good, surplus stock is scarce.

Jennifer Montero said...

Colette - We were asked for your number last night...I think he's flexible about the dog thing ;-) Perhaps you could teach him to knit...

Paula said...

Oh! this is exciting! a budding romance?

The US wants to chip all the farm animals for the same reason, which is being protested hotly because it will be too prohibitively costly for the small outfits. Which is really a pisser, you know? It's the big outfits that can afford it, and it's the big outfits that are the problem!

I wonder what would happen to US agriculture if the government got completely out of the picture- no more subsidies, no more regulation, and just let the criminal and civil courts take over when something goes wrong. Raw milk could be sold, local agriculture might boom again. It's a heady idea.

But I digress. Good luck with your herd! and finding the rare sheep.