Having had trouble finding sheep shearers for our small flock, we decided to do it ourselves. But, first, we thought some training might be a good idea.
So we signed up for the sheep shearing course run by the British Wool Marketing Board at Fernhill Farm.
We turned up on a freezing cold, wet May morning and shivered gently in a large barn full of sheep and other trainees. These ranged from young farmers with hundreds of sheep to older farmers with a smaller number of sheep and us.
It turned out to be two of the most physically demanding days I can remember. But also highly rewarding.
The key was to learn the moves so that the sheep is both comfortable and in the right position. Get it wrong and the sheep was off in a flash. And weighing in at around 80Kg, these sheep were pretty strong.
But we worked hard and managed to shear a few sheep, albeit with some help from the instructors. We plan to do another course and get our Blue Seal.
In the mean time, as soon as our shearing kit arrives, our 3 ladies will be shorn.
We are expanding our flock from 3 to 11 this week with 8 new arrivals. There will be some reunions as the incoming flock are the ones our three orginated from. So they will be reunited with their mothers.
We can’t wait and look forward to having them.
We have commisioned some new stock proof fencing in our orchard so that will give us extra pasture. It will be interesting when we come to try and move them. The training has begun.
We were pondering hatching some of our eggs this year and looked into incubators, but were put off by the price. So we did some research and set up a nice little hen house with a nest and some golf balls.
Until last week when we returned from a short holiday to find a broody hen in the main hen house. But, no eggs under her. We tried moving her to the special broody quarters but she wasn’t having that and went straight back. The other hens started to lay in the broody quarters (as little miss broody was quite aggressive if anyone went near her).
So we risked life and limb and placed some eggs under her. We thought 7 would do it.
Only now the other hens have gone back to laying in the main house and little miss broody is nabbing these eggs to.
No eggs for us for a bit!
But will be great to have some baby chickens, they are expected mid June.