Dan and I went up to Melton Mowbray for the annual Rare Breed Survival Trust Show and Sale. We hoped to buy a few more Portland shearling ewes to add to the flock. We arrived home…with two Hebridean Sheep!
Hebridean Sheep are the ultimate conservation grazer. They thrive on tough grass, weeds, etc. The breed is used around the UK on many conservation programs. They will suit our woodlands perfectly. And although Dan is calling them HIS sheep, I will look after them, as per norm. I wasn’t so keen at first, but they are certainly growing on me. They are curious sheep, very bright and alert and such a contrast in colour to my creamy white Portlands. And they rather suit the farm, with my other Scottish livestock, the Highland cattle.
If that was not enough of a surprise, we woke up on Sunday morning to find a NEW calf! Whoops, only five months later than the other calves. She was born to Karen, my elderly cow, who was actually destined for burgers and sausages in just a couple of weeks. I did not think Karen was in calf. Clearly I was mistaken. She has always had bull calves and this was no exception. This little boy is pretty and very white, with a pinkish nose and lovely dark eyes.
He hadn’t been long in this world when we spotted him and saw we needed to get get cow and calf moved to another field. The steers were being overly inquisitive and began batting him around a bit. I was able to coax Karen and her calf onto the bridleway and we walked them all the way down to the field with the handling pen. The two settled in quickly but the bull calf was not sucking. He tried and tried but as mum’s teat were hanging very low he couldn’t latch on. So later that afternoon we got Karen into the crush and shoved him on. It took a little while, some struggling (the calf) and swearing (me). But it worked and he actually fell asleep as he sucked. Full belly and happy calf.
That is enough surprises for now.
Jo Stover has daily adventures on her small farm, together with her Highland cattle and Portland sheep, bees, a few hens, dogs, and some two-legged family and friends.