We have had a busy few weeks at the farm!
Having acquired our final group of ewes we plan to purchase, our flock is at full strength. Such numbers require that I move pasture frequently, especially with the dry summer we have had. Grass growth is stunted and we are moving the sheep off our land and onto land borrowed from neighbors.
Meanwhile, one of our Rhode Island Red hens took the depopulation of the flock from raccoon predation seriously enough that she decided to sit on a clutch of eggs. We were afraid that engaging in social media would jinx this, especially since RIRs are not well-known as broody hens, but she was a determined lady and now we have nine little chicks! I have never had a successful broody before, and we’ve been checking them like excited children would.
We’re ramping up to breeding season with a concerted effort to improve everyone’s nutrition and plans for a hoof-trimming day tomorrow. I’ll be going to bed early tonight to ready myself. The rams are banished to a distant patch up the road to keep them from hopping the fence to talk to the girls. Our plan is to put the BFLs in the barn feeding on hay, and the borders in the fields eating the last of the grasses as winter looms. We will keep them outdoors until the ground freezes (we can’t put the portable fenceposts into frozen ground- I know from experience!). More lambs are planned for March!
So the other major preparation for breeding season is cleaning out the barn. We’ve let the bedded pack dry and ferment as long as we could under cover, but now it needs to go out. We considered our manure pile placement very carefully, selecting a place far from drainage areas and where any runoff would be primarily absorbed by the soil before hitting waterways. Matt likes some good tractor work now and then, though this task is no easy feat.
Our skies are hazy with smoke from Western fires. Earlybird trees are starting their transition. We are also making final preparations for some fiber festivals coming up.