farming life 2

Our second half of this year’s farming life wasn’t just as easy as the start. Our sheep gave us a bit of work and worry with their feet. Even though we checked them well at shearing, culling everything dodgy and looking well after the rest, our ewes turned on us with quite a lot of lame feet after summer (around 20% of the flock).

We looked and asked around for solutions but, as with so many things, we got hundreds of different ways to – maybe – solve our problem. We first trimmed hooves and brushed every foot with a self-made paste made of tar, linseed oil and copper sulphate. The result was quite good with some nails that had totally fallen off fully regrowing in 1 month. The problem was still not completely solved yet in the flock so we eventually foot bathed the whole lot in a zinc sulphate solution. What a mission!!! We made a temporary pen in the gateway to the next paddock, held them in there and pushed them in lots of 7 or 8 at a time through this bath to let them soak for 10min before letting them out on fresh grass. Before the bath we checked/trimmed the hooves of the worst ones we had marked while doing the first treatment. When it was feasible again to bring them in a pen, we did this a second time. Unfortunately no one here is training for rugby so that we could find some enjoyment/benefit in shoving a pack of these heavy, stubborn animals into a small area where they absolutely refuse to go. The result being questionable and the practicality on our hilly farm being far from ideal, we haven’t signed up for a third exercise yet.

The beefies on the other hand are nice, healthy and friendly animals. We are stocked up to 13 heads now. Our first one ‘the big manitou’ is ready for the freezer, and as soon as we get the power sorted he will have to go :-/

After a very long period of rather dry weather we finally got our first big rain, and big it was! We got 165mm in 48hours. We were all worried with our driveway and all the earthworks that had been done… would it hold? Or be washed away? But it stood the test, and we had only minor damages to a steep clay bank, where we try to get some plants established behind the shed. Although I need to say, I spent about a day walking in full rain gear around our place to check the culverts and drains, made sure it wasn’t doing damage – all that water running down the hill was quite impressive! I had to dig some trenches with the spade in the slope above the drive to divert some surface water off.
But now at least our dams are (more than) full and the water tanks are almost full.

 

 

The whole mob of sheep ready for the foot bath
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7 at a time, soak them in for 10 min
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A hard job, to push den in the bath - but time in between to relax
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The first big rain - 165mm in 48h !
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Some temporary trenches had to be dug to divert the water off
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A big lake appeared next to our orchard
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... something we have to dig in drains next summer
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The animals love the newly filled pond
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'Manitou' is privileged to graze in the orchard
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curious ay
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