Shepherds Diary: July

With their fleeces gone it is a lot easier to see the real body condition of the ewes.  Most of them are doing fine but there are a few wont be going to the ram again.

The lambs in comparison to their shorn mothers suddenly seem a lot fatter, and the rams look like thugs with crew cuts.  The grass (and thistles) has been growing at such a rate that the lambs are sometimes hard to spot when I’m out lookering, and the calves are hidden even more securely in the thickest tussocks, impossible to spot until you’re right next to them.  So I have got the topper out and will have to spend a few long and hot hours cutting back the seedheads.

The sheep have been getting on fine this month, but I did lose two fat hoggets to what looks like a dog attack.  They were in a paddock on their own and I found one dead and one severely injured with nasty wounds to their necks.  Unfortunately no one saw or heard anything so there’s not much I can do about it.  Perhaps unwisely I let my neighbours walk their dogs over my land, and most of the time it is no problem, sometimes it is even helpful if they phone me to report a cast ewe or a lamb stuck in brambles, but incidents like this make me want to reconsider my relaxed attitude.

I managed to get a week away in Cornwall, a very good break from the farm, the only problem was that we were staying in a holiday cottage on a smallholding!  Whilst the guests from the other cottages got very excited about feeding the goats and chickens, I must say I preferred sitting on the beach with a Cornish pasty and an ice-cream!