Sunday, 17 April 2011

Emily Ist Vet student has finished

Emily the first vet student finished her 3 weeks yesterday, she spent much of her time at Princetown and seemed to love it there, she was a very capable girl and adapted well into the 'Cole Ciaos'
Emily and Ida have some time out on the ponies

Friday, 15 April 2011

Cattle away to grass

With the grass growing fast and spring really in the air cattle are getting restless in their winter quarters, any chance to escape is tried when a yard gate is opened.  Over the last 10 days younger cattle have been transported to various fields, being careful not to place to many together in case it should come wintery again and the grass stops growing, to many feet can make an awful mess in a field should it come wet again.
I wish that farmer would go away and leave us in peace
With young cattle gone the cows have more space for calving, as soon as a calf is born and suckled from mum, the pair are taken out of the shed and put into a field with good grass to encourage her to milk well.

Cleaning time again

Lucy, Janet and Harry (here for a week) clean out the pens yet again, there has been some rain therefore the pens get messy much quicker, wet and warm means fast breeding ground for disease.
New mums and babies watch as humans clean up
Hopefully this could be the last time for a thorough clean and disinfect as there are less than 40 sheep in the lambing shed left to lamb tonight 3 Whiteface Dartmoors and the rest Scotties. The Scottish Blackface ewes that live on the commons most of the year are lambing a pace in Chubb Tor fields, Mat and Janet go twice a day to check them (they do not like human interferance). Any problem mums are brought back to the lambing shed for assistance or forstering should they have had a stillborn lamb. This is the last bunch of ewes to lamb, the end is in sight  ''thank goodness'' we all echo. Everyone is very tired and tempers are short.

Another week and a bit flies by

Where to start, prehaps from the car fiascos or continuation of it, would you believe a forth car went into our hedge on the very same night and it was left beside the road for a few days. Look at it below windows smashed and back seat pinched, it was finally moved on Wednesday 13th , all the smashed glass was left on the moor for cattle, sheep and ponies to eat ''thank you thoughtful people''
This car won't go anywhere again I think

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Nearly a week and a lot has happened

The third car, as predicted, has this evening (9 pm ish) gone around the right hand bend or rather not gone around and looks rather crumpled beside our gateway, anyway hopefully thats the end of the incidents with vehicles for a while.
It has been really wet here today with thick Dartmoor mist, impossible to see the ewes and lambs in the fields until nearly driving over them on the quad bike. One or two lambs have met their maker because of the wet and cold, the little ones that were not so strong or lacked milk from mum. Foxy is still taking his share of lambs to, at both Greenwell and the Prison Farm, this is really frustrating, after we work hard to get them born and into the fields, also each one is a financial loss, next autumns income. The positive out of all the rain is the fields are really greening and trees are bursting into leaf.

Neil's wife Anna has had to have the vet today for a young horse that they think has got Colic, hopefully it will  be ok, Emily is to stay at Princetown tonight just in case they need help, leaving new arrival Janet, a vet student from Hong Kong to hold the fort here.
Janet letting a lamb feed from a un co-operative mum
I have been  to the Exeter Rural Payments Agency (RPA ) office this afternoon to try to sort out the last of our field maps with errors on before the latest 2011 Single Payments Scheme(SPS) forms can be completed. You never know we might even get paid for last years as well !  its only 4 months overdue. Wonderful efficiency in government departments these days, how much does it all cost? I wonder. As a Commoners Association  we have been trying to get Meavy commons registered and  mapped to allow entry into an environmental management scheme, this has been going on for at least 18 months if not more, one does tend to lose the plot !! Anyway I'd better stop there and just say the gentleman who I met with today was very helpful, lets hope the systems he has to work within will deliver.

Finally, just to say that the first calves were born on Sunday night 3 here and 3 at the Prison Farm, that bull must have been working overtime when he first met the cows and one of those wonderfully friendly heifers in the sheep shed calved on Monday night and is very proud of her new baby.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Vet student Emily is having a busy time

Emily feeding a Bluefaced Leicester lamb one of triplets whose mum died at Princetown
Emily arrived on Friday evening and has been kept busy since either here or at the Prison Farm, Princetown. Today she arrived back at around 8.30pm looking tired, yet having an enjoyable time, exploring the outreaches of the fields at Princetown, with Neil, to find a gap in the fencing where young sheep have been getting into a field with the inlamb ewes. She has ridden several miles on a quad and has a few bruises from sheep horns. Hye Ho, all good experience.
Lucy has been with Mat trying to empty the overflowing lambing pens again today, unfortunately they had to go to the fields in the rain, at least it will help make the grass grow.

Would you beleive it, last night a car went around the right hand corner to fast, up by the road cattle grid and almost jumped our wire fence, only breaking the top wooden rail and landing in our field, this is the second car in a week that has faultered there, whats the third ??

I have been busy in the office ringing Rural Payments Agency (RPA) chasing government money owed to us, and finding we are to lose some payment this year for land in another 'wonderful' new scheme called Uplands Transitional Payment (UTP). Government seems to be trying to save money by just altering and delaying thus putting payments forward into another finacial year. What would our supplies say if we told them "we will pay in the next finacial year"  Ha ha, I think not. Anyway don't get me going on this to much I could go on all night about RPA issues,  bye for now

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Mat finds more ewes to fill lambing shed

As I thought yesterday, Mat decided to bring in the Scotty ewes carrying singles this afternoon and it is a chock a block again, we will have to keep a tight eye tonight to not get mis-mothering. This is the last of the older Scottish Blackface or Swaledale ewes that have been put to the Bluefaced Leicester Ram (which creates the popular commercial Mule lamb) 
Bluefaced Leceister ewe and newborn finding her first feed
Unfortunately Bluefaced Leicesters are not considered attractive sheep by us, they are kept and pedigreed to enable us to breed Rams for our own use and for sale(hopefully). They are what we call a 'soft' sheep, likes the best of feed, has a fine wool, thus, thin coat and big ears, so feels the cold. Our other son Neil has these ewes at the Prison Farm, Princetown to lamb, it is their first winter up there and are feeling the difference in temperature living at an higher altitude, these BL's  have been living in his lambing shed for some time to keep them happy.
Note the ear tags the ewe has in her ears, 2 are the DEFRA legal requirement tags and the 2 light green ones are the pedigree tags. As of Jan 2011 all sheep have to have a tag with an electronic chip, enabling them to be traced easier by officials, we will see!!
Enough, it is the end of the month and the VAT return needed to be completed before Emily and I visit the lambing shed again

Monday, 28 March 2011

 Final cuddle for this little Whiteface Dartmoor lamb on Friday
Now its back to 'proper' Lambing Live at Greenwell Farm but will keep you posted.
Off to the lambing shed over and out at 12.40 am Tuesday 29th Mar

What a weekend

Hello again folks, it has been busy to say the least, Friday saw the final group of visitors and a Scotty ewe proformed to order delivering a set of twins captured below
The first Bristol University Vet student for lambing experience (Emily) arrived at 6pm just in time for the tour and properly wondered what a mad farm she had been placed with.
After the visitors had eaten all the tasty swiss roll I had made earlier in the day with 2 very large goose eggs Dave had brought to work with him, guests made comments like "we would like to come again next year please" they were then encouraged to go home.
About to collapse in a heap in a comfy chair with a glass of red wine(from Penmoor Nursery School) we thought we should take one last look around the sheep shed before an early night, but, oh no, the Scottish Blackface ewes due to start official on Saturday had decided to make an early kick off with a few sets of triplets. It was beyond midnight before I finished for bed, no time for blogging or the red wine. Arn went to bed and got out at 4am to find a few more doubles and another triplets born. By the time it was 8am there were no more spare pens to fill, mums and babies were put in the corridors(sound familiar to any hospitals you know). When Mat arrived to the farm he loaded the 'Tibby Bus' a few times and emptied the Nursery pens and transported ewes and lambs to the fields, this at least made room for every ewe and lamb to have a pen and we could get everyone feed and then finally ourselves. The weekend just flew by at a pace.
This morning with full staff on duty and Emily we could catch up with ourselves and clean out and disinfect the individual pens again. The lambing shed is now looking quite empty or will Mathew find some more mums to be to fill it again!!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

and a stoke for you to

sorry got it wrong before its only 7 incalf heifers and they are pedigree South Devons

Last pic for today at now midnight or gone. It's time for me to visit the sheep shed for the last time before bed and I am ready for it. Last day tomorrow for visitors, Mats voice is going and I'm exhausted from just taking the phone calls booking a place to come along

The cows are popular today

This evening the kids also seemed very interest in the 12 heavily pregnant young cows in one corner of the sheep shed, maybe they thought they were missing out and had better be more friendly to all the visitors but this maybe one step to far!!

Ewes and lambs are off in the 'tibby bus'

After getting everyone feed its time to move some mums and babies out to the pasture. These loaded in the quad bike trailer (Tibby lamb bus) are fit, healthy and 3 days old, no more room for you here, so off to Lovaton with you to a field next to Mathew and Gemmas house
Left Arnold my husaband looks on in amazement where have all these children come from
At last snack time for the kids a picnic in the field

Even have help to feed the cattle !!

Here we have feed the cake to one pen great stuff at this speed we could be here all day!!

Every group is different

Today was an early start with Penmoor Nursery at 9.30am therefore the kids had to help give the ewes their breakfast this pic is me showing them what sheep cake is (its made of grain like barley and wheat and other goodies ground to a rough flour then mixed with molasses or such and pressed to stay in the shape of a role about the size of a Rowntrees Rollo)

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

This evenings tour and a big boy lamb to finish

In tonights group we had all ages from in a push chair to grannies, Marigold from the village has a cuddle

Just as everyone was about to leave this ewe started to lamb so many waited and waited very patiently for a hour after which Mat and Lucy just gave her a liitle help and a gentle tug on the lambs legs and out the rather large boy came

Afternoon Tour from Plymouth

This afternoon there was another group of teenagers from Plymouth who had a tour with Mathew
in the photo below they are being shown the different types of lamb the one with the whiter face is a pedigree Blueface Leicester and the other is a high bred called a Mule

Last night after finishing 'blogging' I returned to the lambing shed to find a ewe had had a dead lamb, she just needed a little help, this morning her lambs coat was removed and placed on Daves rejected lamb and placed with this new mum in the hope the ewe would bond, but no she did not like 'Little Dave' either.

Lambing shed been really quite today giving time to clean out old straw and disinfect the individual bonding pens, this is done regularly to keep infection at bay the same as a hospital. This afternoon a researcher came from Wadebridge a research institute in Surrey to find some ticks on the open moorland to investigate if they were carrying a disease called Louping Ill, a nasty infection which effects the nervous system of animals and kills them, Here we lost 25 young breeding sheep (called hogs or 2 tooths) in 2 days a couple of years ago.
ticks collected(the black spots)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Orphan Tommy has a new mum

Sadly this morning one of Dave's 3 ewes had a dead single and  yesterday his ewe that had a lovely double rejected one in the field, so she is back in the shed and in the lambing stocks for a day or so to encourrage her to bond with both her lambs again. The up side is, that Tommy the lamb rejected yesterday by his own mum, now has a new mum that loves him to bits with his new coat on borrowed from her own lamb!!

Dave by the way is our Dartmoor Moorskills trainee who has just completed his training and started to work for us full time. Daves dad has a field and allowed Dave to have 3 sheep to eat the grass. These are lambing at Greenwell as it is easier to keep an eye on them. Third time lucky maybe.

Daves ewe in the adopter pens(stocks) with 2 other naughty mums looking for simpathy from tonight visitors

Monday, 21 March 2011

Busy day

Have been told this blog is 'live' (I'm showing my skills knowledge here) so will share our day on the farm
Had a double and triplets born all together overnight not sure who belongs to who anyway mums seem happy with the lambs they have been given this morning. 
Had a youth training group vist this afternoon from Plymouth for Mathew to show around the lambing shed, they loved it and a set of twins was born on que for them. This evening the Brownies came from Tavistock their ewe delivered her babies about 2 miniutes before they arrived. They decided to call an ophan lamb Tommy and another lamb Emily after the little girl whos birthday it was, we all sang her happy birthday. It is Mathews birthday tomorrow and the Browies sang to him as well.
Have had several lambs born today and now its time to check the ewes again and give the orphan Tommy his last feed and another lamb a top up as mum is not to keen on him. Hopefully an earlish night tonight as there is an early start in the morning. 5 finished cattle are off to the abbatior in the morning they have been sold to our local  farmer group called  Dartmoor Farmers Ltd.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Today lambing activities

This morning Lucy our shepherd helped to lamb a ewe it was thought the lamb was dead as its head had swoollen but its heart was still beating so with some encouragement we managed to get it to breath and it is fine now.

The first mums and babies were taken from the lambing shed nursery pens and put into the field on a lovely sunny morning, long may it last it makes our work so much easier at this time of year

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

11.45pm off to the lambing shed

After an evening catching up in the office  the lambing shed needs checking for new babies before I go to bed
and there are a couple of tiny lambs that need a little help with feeding from mum.

A Welcome and a Catch Up...

Welcome to our new blog 'Greenwell Farm Lambing Live'
Join us on our Dartmoor farm as we welcome this seasons lambs into the world, following the ups and downs of a busy lambing shed. 

Things have been busy for the last couple of months; the cycle began in October when the ewes went to ram, they were then scanned in January to see how many lambs the expectant mums were carrying...

Ewes being scanned by ultrasound
In February with a few cold months still ahead we started to give extra feed to the ewes so they could maintain their body weight as well as supporting the growth of the little ones, with March then seeing the ewes bought in from field and housed in our sheep shed ready for the births to begin...

Expectant mothers- some of our Whiteface Dartmoor ewes

So with the maternity unit ready and the first few lambs already born, we welcome you to follow our progress as the farming year moves from winter to spring, and lambs start to play in the sunshine...