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Sheep in the garden, lameness and goslings...

Emma Heseltine - 07 May 2013

Beechnut is in the little paddocks. She was getting picked on by some of the other cattle at Aglionby so we brought her back for a little TLC. She is in calf and looks a little thin so a bit of grain just for her and a shed to sleep in won't hurt. We have put a couple of ewes that have no lambs with her to keep her company, but it seems they are not keen on the arrangement. When I go down to feed them the ewes are awol. I find them eventually looking sheepish (I’m sorry) amongst the daffodils in the garden, the garden is very neat and has a lovely well manicured lawn, shrubs and flower beds. It is not a place for sheep. I soon chase them out, they stand by the gate into the garden looking sad, it’s much more interesting in there…

The fields at Aglionby are going to get harrowed, but first we need to remove some of the hay that the cattle have not eaten. We get some rakes and start making piles. The cattle think this is a fantastic game and first come and watch us. Then they try tasting the hay we have raked, no still not tasty. Then they find the perfect use for the them, they are excellent mattresses. We spend as much time shooing the cattle from squishing and spreading our neat piles of hay as we do raking it up.

Kendal is lame. I thought she was hobbling a bit and realise she isn’t coming for dinner so go and investigate. She is pretty bad so I coax her into the shed and then into the crush with the promise of some grain. I manage to halter her and get a rope around her foot to see if something is stuck in it. There is nothing obvious so I decide to keep her in overnight and see what she is like tomorrow, maybe some rest in the cosy shed will help. The boss comes to see the next day and we can still see nothing wrong, but she is still lame. The vet is dispatched to have a look and give a verdict. Seems she has banged it somehow. The ankle is a bit swollen so she gets a dose of anti-inflammatory. We will keep an eye on her, and her foot.

This week we get our latest little additions to the farm, it gosling time. Susan goes to pick them up and we have prepared a home for them in the stable, directly under my flat. It’s a ring feeder with tarp wrapped around, lots of sawdust and two heat lamps. They are little yellow balls of fluff with a lovely squeak. Soon they will be bigger and louder, its amazing how quick they grow.

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.


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