Monday, 17 August 2009
At this time of the year we are up to our limit with the number of livestock we can comfortably accommodate on an acre of land.
The lambs aren't quite ready to go but are eating as much as their mothers. This year with only two, rather than four lambs and the wet summer, we have had plenty of grass, albeit of low quality, so have avoided having to supplement with hay. I have just started to feed a handful of concentrates morning and evening, but this is more to get them used to being handled and bucket trained.
The pigs are also close but not yet ready to go and this year are taking up two areas of land.
The chicks are at a similar stage, not quite ready, needing a couple more months of growth.
The turkey poults are in the Fowl's run, so it is now out of bounds to the geese but the sheep are still able to graze it at night when the turkeys are housed.
One area of land that isn't put to its full use is the orchard. It is difficult to fence securely, so most of the time is only grazed by the geese, with the sheep having supervised access only, mostly at weekends.
In a couple months time, certainly by Christmas, the situation will be the opposite and we will be left with only a few poultry.
The pigs and lambs will have gone to slaughter, the ewes will be at a friends smallholding to run with the ram and any of this years chicks we aren't keeping will be in the freezer.
So we will only have the geese, whose future is still undecided and the growers we have selected to start our breeding flock with and maybe a couple of the turkeys.
It is a time when we reseed the pig areas, rest the grazing areas, hedge and sort out fencing and scrub out the housing. All ready to start again in the New Year.