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Chickens in the wrong place, Lamma and weaning... : Soil Association : Blogs

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Chickens in the wrong place, Lamma and weaning...

Emma Heseltine - 20 January 2013

I’m clipping the lambs in the lambing shed, they are going to the abattoir tomorrow and they must be clean and dry so I’m trimming their bellies and tails. I hear a clucking a lot closer than it should be. There’s a chicken got shut in the lambing shed. If anyone leaves the she’s door open the chickens go piling in and take up residence in the hay, very comfy. Trouble is they sometimes stay in too long and the door gets shut with them in.

I give up on my clipping (much to the lambs relief, they don’t like the noise of the electric clippers and have been fighting me every step of the way) and go get the chicken. She is keen to get out I think as it doesn’t take me much to catch her. I put her back in the chicken run and resume my clipping. Yet again the clucking far too close, I do a double take. Didn’t I just put you back? It’s another chicken, obviously two friends had decided to hang out in the shed. Down tools again and grab chicken to put back in the run, this one is less impressed and claws my wrist for my trouble. Thanks chicken, now back to dodging the well aimed kicks of my upturned lambs. Its going to be a day where I get beaten up by the stock, I can just tell.

This week I’m going on a little trip to Newark to the Lamma show. It’s a big machinery show where all the best and most interesting new equipment will be on display. There are quite a lot of thing which I don’t think I would ever need but would quite like to have a go on and I think my favourite is the ‘robocrop’ inter-row and inter-plant weeder. It basically swirls around the rows of vegetables with disks that dig up the weeds. Its computer guided and looks horribly complicated but is pretty spectacular and would cost a small fortune I’m sure. I manage not to buy anything silly and come away with a massive pile of pens and leaflets.

There are still a lot of cattle at Aglionby and we are waiting to get two cows and calves off the land to wean the calves. The weather has been against us but the middle of the week it gets cold enough and the ground freezes, finally we can get into the field to get them out. At this time of year its fairly easy to convince the cattle to go where you want. They are being fed so all we need do is tempt them with some hay. Beechnut and Kay plus Hazel and Kimberly are soon in the pen and ready to be loaded and taken to Wallacefield. Once weaned the calves will go in a field with all the other little ‘K’ calves and the two cows will go off for a little rest before they have their next calves. I’m looking forward to the first calves arriving, Cypress is due at the beginning February and then it’ll be lambs…

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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