Sunday, 31 January 2010
It's freezing outside again and the cold is catching my breath and pulling on my chest. I have done the usual morning rounds but will wait an hour or so before continuing with the hedge work. In the meantime a catch up on how the livestock are doing.
The ewes are a possible eight weeks from lambing, the time when I normally start to step feed, introducing them to a small amount of concentrate daily, increasing weekly until birth and then feeding in reverse after the lambs are born. However this year because of the freezing temperatures and lack of grass they have been having twice daily feeds for a while now, along with ad lib hay so I will be probably start increasing their feed in a couple of weeks time.
Freda the Shropshire/Jacob shearling is huge. She looks like a barrel, so hopefully twins. This will be her first year lambing so we will have to watch her carefully. Annie, the Zwartbles, is in her third year. Her first lambs were large twins, last year just one fairly small ram lamb. At first I thought she wasn't in lamb this year but she is changing shape. Her lopsided appearance when she lies down makes me think if she is, it again will be a single. As I was concerned about her weight and general appearance when she returned from my friends small holding, a single lamb would be for the best.
Fred the reject lamb of last year is continuing to do well, his future still undecided- either in the freezer for us or as a pet for someone else.
The hens are laying extremely well, the cold doesn't appear to have put them off. All the hens from last year's hatches are now laying. The Australorp's eggs are already a very good size. The breed is fast becoming my all time favourite.
The goose must start laying soon. Last year she started to lay the first week of February. However she doesn't look quite ready yet. Before she comes into lay her keel tends to drop, she finds a nest site and usually they are seen mating a couple of weeks before the first egg is laid.
Spring isn't too far away.