Guest blog from sheep farmer Sadie Darke looking forward to April
Now that the Beast from the East has subsided and the snow has melted we are looking forward to better and drier weather for April. Soggy fields and soggy sheep have had a rough time of it and the snow did not help with not being able to get around as normal, roads filled with snow and frozen pipes in the sheds. Not often is there snow in South Devon like there has been over the last month and whilst it’s nice to see for an hour or so after two, three, four days of constant battling it becomes a tad tiring!
Lambing here at Coleridge is coming to an end with just a handful left to lamb. Most ewes and lambs are now out on grass or kale.
With regards to the Devon and Cornwall longwool flocks, they have been out throughout the weather and whilst they are not looking their best the lambs continue to grow away well.
It is also the time of year where the ram hoggs (last years lambs) have their annual haircut. Whilst this seems early the rams are shown out of their wool at the big shows and so by shearing them now this allows a little time for them to regrow a little wool for the shows. Matt would normally do this job but he has only recently come out of cast from a broken wrist courtesy of one of our heifers in the dairy so this year the job fell to Devon County Show President Edward. Dusting off his years of shearing experience, four hoggs were shorn in no time at all.
The hoggs have and will remain inside for the time being due to the weather but when they are first shorn they are kept in a small pen for a time so they don’t fight one another, after shearing they forget what each other smells like so can often fight which we don’t want so keeping them like this enables them to remember each other before going into a bigger pen where they are now. Here’s hoping for drier and warmer weather soon so they can get out onto grass and things can finally look towards spring!
Sadie Darke is married to Matt, one of Edward Darke's grandsons, and lives on the family farm in South Devon.