With one cow calved – Babi with Eban, the other three cows kept us anxiously waiting for a week. Then everything happened at once! Our other mature cow, Rosi, calved with little trouble and has a fine heifer calf – Ysbryd. In contrast, the first heifer to calve had a rough time; we had to get her into the cattle crush and pull the calf; this was at 2 am in the morning! Cika and Ffynon bonded immediately and haven’t looked back. The next heifer, Donna, did all the right things, but couldn’t manage to push her calf (Rhos) without help. They have all recovered from their ordeals and the four calves have quickly formed a crèche and play games of tag. Rosi tends to keep a watchful eye over them all.
The wet summer has prevented us getting in enough hay or haylage, and we have had to resort to silage, wrapped in plastic . The big black bags resemble giant humbugs, lying out in the fields glinting in the sun. They have their place, but the fields have been horribly scalped, and the bales are hard to move and prone to splitting or being pecked by birds. We hope that next year is ‘third time lucky’ for people like us who prefer old-fashioned small-baled hay.
Last year we were sending off batches of a dozen lambs at a time, throughout late summer. As we sold the breeding flock and the freezer is empty, we took three of our remaining sheep – one lamb and two yearlings – to be killed and butchered privately. It took most of the day to collect the boxes of meat and package them up for the freezer; we sorted the livers, extracted the kidneys from their fat, and cooked the hearts! This part of keeping animals can be hard to take and we understand why so many people like their meat to be as anonymous as possible! But you can’t beat the taste and satisfaction!