The three T's, escapology and the last hay...

Emma Heseltine - 19 August 2012

Whilst I was baling hay at the weekend the rest of the gang were weaning the lambs at Wallacefield. Today we are going to check through the ewes to see if they are all okay, if there are any mutton in the flock. It’s a sheep MOT, the three T’s; teeth, toes and teats. We need to make sure none have bad udders; they need to be able to feed their lambs. They must have all their teeth, or at least most of them as if they can feed themselves properly then they can’t produce enough milk to feed their lambs. Lastly they must have good feet otherwise they can’t get to the grass to feed themselves in order to produce milk to feed their lambs. It’s all linked.

Most of our girls are doing great although they are not at all keen on the checking process. We are also checking the lambing record from this year to see if there are any that had major problems. We had one who delivered three dead lambs, she got to go. We end up with four that wont be staying with us another season. It isn’t fair to keep them if they will be completely worn out by another year, a lazy few months retirement then mutton time.

Having weaned the lambs and separated them from the ewes by several fields our latest problem is one lamb who doesn’t think that he should be with the lambs. He has jumped two fences and is in with the five mutton ewes and Chester the pony. We get them into the shed and send the ewes back to their field. The lamb jumps out of the pen and goes charging off down to the ewes in Spring field. So we get those ewes in the shed and shut our little trouble maker in the end pen then send the ewes back to spring field.

We decide to load him into the quad trailer and transport him back to railway field where he belongs. Of course he has other ideas and squeezes under the gate and out into the area by the barn. I’ve had enough of this and dive on the lamb as it tries to nip passed me round the back of some troughs. Right, that’s it not moving now. I plonk it on its bum in the trailer and hold on tight to it as Susan drives us to the field, it still tries to escape. In the field we turf it out and it complains vociferously. Three days later it is still in the field it’s supposed to be in, victory!

The last of the hay is in the barn and we are completing the hay wall. There is a little pile of busted bales which we re-bale, a very dusty job. The barn is now looking very respectable. I think that’s the end of the hay, now harvest looms on the horizon. 

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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