Since the last notes were written we have had 2 hatches of quail with about 60 of 100 hatching each time. Out of our most recent hatch all have survived and at the time of writing they are about a week old. We have had a problem with hard balls of mud forming on the feet of the young quail, which if left untreated can lead to the toe falling off. We think this is happening because the chick crumbs we are feeding them are different from usual and we think that they are getting damp and then sticking to the feet. We have set 100 more eggs in the incubator for a live bird order.
We have had about 160 lambs born so far and have about 20 to go. Lambing, as expected has been fast and furious and we have all been helping out at this busy time. Unfortunately there are losses with unviable or stillborn lambs or frustratingly the ewe lying on her lamb. Due to the mild weather the older lambs will be turned out to grass with their mothers soon. Because of the high number of triplets and the fact that the ewes can only feed 2 lambs (they only have 2 teats!) Josie is rearing 5 bottle lambs at the moment. We aim to adopt surplus lambs onto ewes who have singles or who lose their lambs.
Calving has been going very well, with about 40 born so far. They are mainly British Blue cross Simmental with the occasional pure British Blue. Calves are dehorned using anaesthetic and a gas iron at about 2 weeks old. We will not be vaccinating the cattle for Bluetongue this year because the threat is substantially lower as there is no bluetongue in the UK at all due to the vaccination last year.
Compound fertiliser consisting of Nitrate, Phosphate and Potash has been spread on most of the grassland to promote growth in the warm spring weather. It has also been applied to all the cereal crops.
All sugar beet and fodder beet have been drilled along with spring beans and barley, this has all been completed quickly and easily because of the dry weather. In an ideal world as soon as all the drilling is complete there would be a spell of warm wet weather to help the seeds germinate and grow. Unfortunately we are unable to control the weather so we will just have to hope! We have drilled one field with barley and then under-sowed with grass. The idea is that the barley is harvested in the summer and by the next spring the grass is ready for grazing and the barley stubble has decomposed.