So part of this years plan was to try and get some veg in our freezer for winter. Although we are having a great year veg wise I haven’t managed to get much in the freezer yet. We haven’t bought salad or veg since late may. We have had a large crop of sugar snaps, salad, French beans, onions and broadbeans. The courgettes are starting now, the sweecorn looks like it will be good too. The potatoes and tomatoes so far have not been so great but we have a few coming now.
My prediction is self sufficiency in terms of veg is going to run from May to October. Hopefully we will have some leeks and squash for the deeper winter months. Really pleased with how the veg has gone this year.
Just a note that Flo had her kits overnight on Saturday the 23rd. Early count suggests she had 8, with one having died very quickly on account of it seeming to not have a head. No idea if it was born like that or whether something else happened. Smaller litter this time but the kits are significantly bigger.
And vita started sitting in earnest on Saturday too, fingers crossed she will actually see this clutch through, having had two failed attempts previously, all be them not her fault really. She’s on 10 or 11 eggs, but she may have added to that since then.
The month seems to be wizzing by. We Have been away for a week to Germany and had a lovely break, leaving my mum and Dad in charge of all the animals. Before we left one of our gosling became lame and had ended up just sitting on the grass. So we examined him, there were no obvious breaks and he kicked his legs when we picked him up, but didn’t want to put any weight on them.
We read up on various solutions. Firstly we seperated him from the rest of the flock in an area where they could still see him through the fence, but where he had some peace and quiet. We then gave him some ivermectin to ensure it wasn’t a parasite issue. We also made sure he had very clean and fresh water to ensure he could recover if it was an illness such as bocherlisum. After a week we began some physio. Every day we would pick him up and stand him on his feet for 10 mins, eventually we could take our hands away and he could stand on his own. We continued this for a few days and the fantastic news is that he is now up and walking again. We still don’t know what was wrong with him, but I think if a goose is eating and drinking and preening, and has no obvious breaks, don’t give up on them too soon.
This has taken a while to write up because it is gutting basically. We had a bit of a disaster on Saturday with Mr Darcy, our ram.
We’d had a lovely day pottering about on the plot in the sun doing bits and pieces before our friends Nic and Sarah came over for the evening. They had kindly agreed to come over a bit early to help us catch the sheep to trim their hooves, check them over generally and get rid of some of the dredded fleace that hadn’t yet fallen off them. We managed to catch one set of ewes and lambs and dealt with them all fine. Mr Darcy and another ewe were still evading us though so we tried catching them. They sailed over the fence to their paddock in the end and we managed to pen them in the goat area in some hurdles. Mr D was very good at being shorn and clipped before we lifted him back over the fence to rejoin his buddies in the main paddock. This was when it happened. He struggled half way over, got his leg caught in either the hurdle or the electric netting and to our horror broke one of his back legs. It was clear to see.
We managed to get hold of him immediately, before he had chance to run away and lay him down quietly with hurdles around him. Z and Nic stayed in the pen while I got on the ‘phone to the emergency vet. We were convinced it was broken and were prepared when the vet arrived around 45 minutes later for him to say that the kindest thing to do was to put him to sleep.
We are devestated about this, and feel very, very responsible. It has however highlighted to us that we can’t really go on with this pantomime every time we need to catch them to deal with their welfare. If we are honest, it was an accident waiting to happen. We are just thankful that between the moment it happened and the moment he was put out of suffering was relatively short.
As a result, we think that Soay’s aren’t the breed for us. They have been a great start to keeping sheep and we have learnt an immense amount from keeping them over the past year; lambing, abbatoirs, worming, processing fleece, DEFRA, hoof care, feeding etc. However, we feel that they are not best suited to our smallholding and our abilities and we will be taking the 4 ewes with their 3 lambs to the abbatoir this winter. We will look into breeds very carefully over the next few months as we want to continue keeping sheep but would like a breed that is easier for us to handle and may ultimately be able to have a closer relationship with, i.e. we can actually get closer than 2 metres from them. We thought the Soays would become tamer over time, but the fact is, they are a primitive breed who are naturally wary (or the strain we have are anyway) and no amount of bucket shaking or careful approaches seems to have made any difference. They have actually become more difficult to catch as they have learnt what we are trying to do.
Another learning point.
I’ve finally managed to wade through the 377 clips of the owls that we caught on the camera when we put it outside the nest hole that Paul and Daz found. I’ve tried to narrow them down a bit and sort them into catagories but I wouldn’t be offended if anyone watching these turns off halfway through…
First one is clips of the actual nest hole:
the next is clips of one owlet by itself, with a bit of practise flying and checking the camera out:
and then there were two:
getting crowded now:
feeding time, mmm enormous worms:
and a couple of clips of mum and or dad, not sure, check out the difference between the fluffy headed babies and the rather more stern plummage of the adults: