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Christine Ryder, North Yorkshire: It's all lambing and B&B's

The run up to lambing as started and both the farm and B&B are beginning to get busier

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It's the big question: Do your priorities lie in sheep or B&B guests?! #InYourField

It has been a pleasure to be working outside with Chris this week. It has been glorious weather – cold and frosty, but lovely sunny days.

 

Maybe spring is around the corner. It has been good to see and hear the curlews and a couple of barn owls.

 

Not long now before we start lambing and it is all systems go to get the sheds ready. We have already housed the triplets, but we still need to get pens built and water troughs installed.

 

We have injected sheep with Heptavac P, but it is always a predicament when to do them. Ideally, it should be six weeks before lambing, but it is not easy when the weather is wild and wet for handling sheep.

 

Hoggs were scanned a couple of weeks ago. It would be ideal if they all just had one lamb, but there are more twins than singles and some triplets. As we only turn hoggs out with one lamb, the pet lamb pen could be a bit full – thank goodness for the automatic milk feeder.

 

It is an amazing gadget once lambs get used to it, and is something we would not be without. It is plumbed into the mains water and electricity, with a milk powder hopper, and mixes milk on demand, so it is always fresh and at the right temperature.

 

Lambs over the past three years have done well on it. We wean at 13kg and, by then, they are taking concentrates, water and hay well. Sometimes, we wonder if it is worth the expense of the machine and milk powder at £2,000/tonne, but what can you do?

 

We went to a Belted Galloway Cattle Society meeting and the guest was a vet talking about bovine viral diarrhoea. It is not a disease which has been in our minds, but having listened to an interesting talk, we realise it is something we are going to have to take seriously.

 

If we want to sell any pedigree animals, we are going to have to start blood testing and vaccinating, probably starting this spring, following tissue testing calves annually at birth.

 

Guests for the B&B are trickling back now and bookings for summer are coming in nicely. It is difficult at lambing time to combine the two, and I am always torn as to what the priority is – guests or sheep. It seems either way I am making food, cleaning out beds and remaking them.

Christine Ryder, North Yorkshire

  • Christine Ryder and husband Chris farm 242 hectares (600 acres) at Blubberhouses, in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty. They are tenants on their home farm and also run a B&B. Stock includes Swaledale and Mule flocks, as well as a herd of Belted Galloways. The farm also hosts educational access visits.
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