My wee brother Martin and has Downs’ Syndrome but this doesn’t mean he gets wrapped up in cotton wool – he still comes out and helps on the croft!
I had quite a quiet day yesterday. Did boring stuff like catch up on housework but I had an important step to take in terms of the sheep. The first lambs are due 6 weeks tomorrow and feeding them starts in earnest now. They were scanned on Tuesday, so I now know which are empty & how many lambs are in the others. The twins and triplets are right beside my house, so I had to bring feeding troughs to them. This is when the tractor and buck rake came in handy!
These are the singles. They get less feed than the twins. I’ll be feeding the sheep every single day now, until lambing.
I mentioned before that I’ve ordered some pigs for later on this year. Today, I started getting things ready for them.
The last time I had pigs, we shared the 4 between 4 of us. Meaning cost and responsibility was also shared. This year, I’m going it alone. I plan on selling the meat later on in the year.
The container we previously used had been moved off my croft, up to the croft next door, as it belonged to my late neighbour ‘Perky’, and the last pigs were on his land. I spoke to his widow, Willina, last week about using the container, and she was happy for me to do so.
My pal Stumpy was up last week, helping unload my new harrows. I asked him then if he’d move the container. He gave me a call this afternoon, as we were both free, and got it moved.
Stumpy has just finished building a new house, and bought a telehandler to help him. This was the perfect tool to move the container.
Stumpy climbed on top to hook on the straps.
The telehandler had gone in my croft and lifted the container back over the fence.
We came down the croft, back to the pen I normally use for pigs.
We had a bit of bother getting the container in place, so I didn’t take any more photos. The pig pen has the remains of some old blackhouses, so the container is sitting within one of them. It’s angled as well, to allow water to run out of it.
I bumped into Cudaig, who I get my pigs from, and he thinks I’ll have them in June. I’ll get the pen pig ready over Easter and we’ll be good to go then!
Phew. That’s scanning done for the year, and it wasn’t too awful. Last year’s scanning & lambing was a total disaster; I ended up with about 35 lambs from almost 60 sheep put to the ram. So from last year’s 60%, I’m looking at around 120% this year – that is 12 lambs for every 10 sheep. I was hoping for 150%, but I suppose I should be satisfied with that.
I took the sheep out this morning, walking them out to the fank.
The sheep were penned and left until the scanner arrived. We all set up and held our collective breath
As you can see, the weather was actually quite nice. We had snow showers before and after, but it stayed nice and dry while we were out.
It wasn’t long before my sheep were going through.
I had to rush off as soon as we finished, so I haven’t been able to get definitive numbers, but I’m looking at two thirds of them having singles, a quarter twins, 3-4 empty and TWO sets of triplets. I was delighted with the triplets, to be honest, as the sheep should be able to raise them on her own. They’re some of the Roussin crosses I got last year. One Roussin with 3, one with 2 and one empty. The other triplet is a Suffolk-cross,from the same place.
I’ve left the sheep in the apportionment until I’m off on Thursday, so I’ll sort them on Thursday – can’t wait!