Christine Ryder: 'Chris has put his back out which leaves me caking sheep everyday'


We have decided to bite the bullet and go for a high health scheme for the cattle. Some of the cows we had were non-pedigree and did not really warrant all the testing, so we entered them at Craven cattle marts’ Saturday sale.


We took 12 females and a stock bull which we cannot use this summer due to some of his heifers coming through. Some photos were posted on the website and I put them onto Facebook and Twitter, which generated a lot of interest. Trade was brisk, we got them all away, and all in all we were very pleased.


Now all the females on-farm are full pedigree and if we pass the tests we will be able to take our home-bred bull to the society sale at Castle Douglas in autumn.


This last week we have cleaned out all the sheds, pressured-washed and disinfected and generally started getting ready for lambing time. The triplets have all come inside and are settling in well. Last winter, as well as ad lib hay and silage we fed some of the ewes on fodder beet. They did so well on it that this winter we have been feeding it to them all. It takes them a day or so to contemplate what it is, but once they get a taste they really like it.


The last week or so has been a bit tricky in that Chris managed to put his back out which has left me having to cake the sheep everyday. I have not fed the sheep since last lambing time, so I surprised myself by being able to run with a bag, tipping it out into a line for the sheep to eat. I cannot breathe by the time the bag is empty though.


So far I have not managed to get the quad bike stuck, or run any sheep over, although they have just about knocked me to the ground on a few occasions. The biggest difficulty is finding a dry patch of ground to feed them on, so now, with only seven days to go until the official due date for lambs to appear, I hope Chris makes a speedy recovery.


Luckily, I have a few days without bed and breakfast guests which makes a big difference, but I have a lot of bookings for March and April, so it is going to be a testing time for me and the animals.

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