Limps, Skye's problem and snow...

Emma Heseltine - 13 January 2013

One or two of our ewes are limping. We get them in to have a look see what the problem is. One of them has a bit of an ulcer on her toe and needs a bit of TLC. I give her a pedicure and clean out the foot with salt water and goop it up with some foot paste. She is going to stay in the pen tonight to keep her feet out of the mud. She is not impressed. There are a couple of others who get a foot trim too. Our sheep are big and not the easiest to tip, especially if they’re are not in the mood. The older girls are used to the drill and don’t fight too much but I’m a little dismayed that one of last years shearlings needs some attention. She had bad feet at lambing and gave me an almighty head-butt when I tipped her to sort her feet out. I do not want a repeat performance so am ultra careful and quick, she’s on her bum before she knows what’s happening. Now, no kicking!

Skye doesn’t understand what Peanut’s problem is. She looks like a sheep, smells like a sheep, eats like a sheep but when he tries to round her up she either stays still or tries to hide behind me or Susan. Why wont she be gathered like the others? Why is she not afraid? Peanut is perfectly clear on the situation, she isn’t a sheep so needn’t behave like one.

We have got the creep feeder down at Tarraby now but it look like the calves haven’t quite got the hang of it yet. We have taken Acorn and little Kate down to join the others so there is now three calves to feed there. I have put some crushed barley in the feeder and some hay in the rack inside. Day two and the hay and barley have not been touched. We put some barley in a bucket in the feeder on the floor to tempt them in. Day three and the barley in the bucket has gone and it looks like someone has had a go at the barley in the trough. Hay still not touched. It seems like it might take a while to teach these calves.

The snow comes on Sunday, small but persistent flakes. I’m feeding at Aglionby and the girls are keen as ever to get their dinner. The large semi-permanent pond in the field has frozen over and we go stamp in it to break the ice. I’m kind of hoping it stays cold for a few days as the area around the pen where the big bales of haylage are has been trampled into a swamp. This makes it quite difficult to get out with the barrow full of haylage, it’s certainly a workout. Speed is of the essence as well when it comes to Hayley who is likely to jab you out of the way in her enthusiasm to get to dinner. Sticky sticky mud is not something which aids speedy movement. C’mon frost!

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.

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