March is a time of lambing and calving for the livestock side of the farm. At time of writing we have had about 50 calves including 4 sets of twins! All the calves are by a British Blue bull and most have Simmental mothers. Dad dehorns the calves when they are about 2 weeks old. He ties them up, injects them with an anaesthetic and then he takes the horn buds out with a hot gas iron. About 90% of our cattle would grow horns if we did not do this; the other 10% are naturally polled. We dehorn the cattle so that they are safer to work with and will not injure each other; if they have horns they also require more space at the manger. When the weather turns warmer and the grass starts to grow we will turn the cows and calves out on to the fresh spring grass. We will probably be able to do this in mid April. We have had about 80 of the 130 lambs due. Sheep average approximately 1.5 lambs per ewe. So far we have had 8 sets of triplets.
Curly, Swirly and Whirly Update
Unfortunately Curly the cow did not have enough milk to feed both Swirly and Whirly so Josie is now feeding Swirly on the bottle. While Curly is still looking after Whirly. If you are walking through the farm yard feel free to stroke Swirly, though you may get dribbled on!
On the Arable side the winter kill was not too bad and we did not have to re-drill any crops, although some are not as healthy as we were hoping. All the spring barley has been drilled during the recent dry weather. This year we are drilling a variety of malting barley which will probably be used to make lager. We are half way through drilling the sugar beet although the wet weather will slow that down. All the cereals and grassland have had their first application of fertiliser; Nitrogen, Phosphate or Potash depending of the soil and crop needs. More fertiliser will be spread when it warms up a bit.
David and I have recently hatched another group of quail they are currently 11 days old. The hatch I mentioned last month have just started laying.