Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Ewes’ new do’s

It’s a tough life for us ladies living on a smallholding, and the hard work and inclement weather can play havoc with a girl’s looks. I gave up glamour a long time ago, along with all hope of having the frugal, flushed and feminine look of Felicity Kendal, but my ladies still take a pride in their appearance. So, last weekend I called upon the services of the mobile hairdresser, aka Philip The Singing Shearer, to give them a brand new hair do.
The Singing Shearer
In no time at all Philip had the ladies trimmed and tidy and, although they did end up all having exactly the same hair style, being sheep they didn’t seem to mind. When Phil and his family had gone on their way to another Ryeland breeder in the next village, I gave the girls a pedicure and few squirts of Crovect to keep the flies at bay.
They seemed very pleased to be free from their thick, heavy coats and all pranced off to enjoy the sunshine while I cleaned up after them. It took the lambies a little while to adjust to their mums’ new appearance after their makeover, but they were soon suckling and wagging their tails with delight. 
Why is Mum naked?!!!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Chig-lees!

Those of you who enjoyed watching my early hatch of Blue chicks brooding in the kitchen might be interested to see how they have grown. They are fully feathered now and the little dark blue rooster has started to crow.
They are really friendly and sociable, as you might expect. This is, in part, due to their time indoors and also that two of them are Blossom’s chicks. Blossom, as you know, likes to get in on the action and her little son is a chip off the old block. Fortunately he lacks the confidence to be as cheeky as Blossom, but he does follow me around the place chattering and looking up at me hopefully with his head on one side. 
They still don’t have names yet but answer to the call of Chig-lees! Without fail!
They get on well with everyone - especially the cats. Polly and Toby spent so much time staring at them through the brooding box that they were in danger of the chicks thinking the cats were mum!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

In the shake of a lamb’s tail

"Will you stop trying to take pictures of our bottoms!"

Today’s exciting, if slightly gruesome lamb milestone was them losing their tails. I placed rubber rings around their tails when they were born to cut off the circulation and cause the lower part of the tail to drop off. Now, 3 weeks on, my little lambies are looking all grown up.
Some Highland breeds are left with tails intact to afford them some protection against harsh conditions, but lowland breeds like mine, who need less protection and suffer more from insects, have them removed to prevent flystrike.
I think their little bottoms look great with their tidy little tails, but I do miss the enthusiastic tail waggling which accompanied their meal times.
What do you think?
"Has anyone seen my tail?"
"Can you feel a draft?"
"I keep feeling like I've left something behind!"
"I was relying on my tail to take
attention away from my ears!"
"Oh no! My tail's gone too!"

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Dabbling with Ducks

At around this time every year, a pair of wild duck come to stay and brood their ducklings.

We have got used to their annual visit and provide them with a trough of water for washing and snoozing in and a supply of chicken feed. The chickens and the cats are all quite happy about this, but Joseph, the large fowl cockerel, is struggling to get used to them. He announces their arrival with his pterodactyl like call to warn everyone of ‘an aerial attack’! Unfortunately for Joseph, no one pays any attention to him and the ducks touch down and go about their business.

The female lays her eggs in the garden between the plants, and covers them carefully with moss and twigs whenever she leaves them to find food and preen.

She sets about a dozen eggs as a rule, and once they hatch she walks all the ducklings the quarter of a mile back to the lake that will be their home.

The little ducklings are so beautiful and even the chickens have to stop and stare at the cuddly, web footed caterpillar formation of ducks waddling across the orchard!

Impressive, huh?

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