News from the Farm - update 21 April

Most the lambs are doing well and we only have a handful of ewes left to have lambs now. It has been a really straightforward season and (‘touch wood’) there haven't been any major problems. The next job is to get the flocks together and then trim their feet, and give their yearly booster against various illnesses. As it’s so warm the grass is not growing so we are feeding lots of hay plus turnips and sugar beet; very soon they will start eating the mustard we grew on the main hill. This week we have hand seeded all of the sheep paddocks with grass and clover and now need some rain to help it all soak into the ground and get growing.

The pigs are all doing well and are basking out in the warm weather. One of them made a bid for escape last week and decided she wanted to eat the sheep food. She walked through her fence and then got a bit perplexed as what to do next. We got her back in and the electric fence is now back on and working. The goat kids are being really naughty and now regularly walk out of their fenced area and try and head back in before anyone sees them. Their mum gets really annoyed with them and calls them and then tells them off when they go back to her.

The donkeys Seamus and Bill are full of the joys of spring, as is Chico the alpaca! They are gallivanting around the paddocks and I am having to do their feet every couple of weeks as they are growing really quickly now. They seem to have developed a sort of chase game and are eating anything and everything they can get near to. All of the small animals are well; the rabbits and guinea pigs are eating lots of vegetables, as are the chickens. All of the birds are outside in a brand new run which has a net roof so the jackdaws cannot get at the food. Outside of the run we have dug up a vegetable area and will soon have lots of seeds going in.

One thing that has really changed is the wildlife around the College. The birds and other animals are getting braver and braver; there was a pair of woodpeckers near the Farm yesterday morning, and butterflies are filling the sky. The partridge are starting to pair up for breeding and I saw three roe deer in the Ladywell valley at dusk last night, which is something I haven’t seen for many years.

In addition to all this, with the help of my children we have planted over 900 trees in the valley, and we are pleased that most seem to be growing and doing ok.

Farmer Jon Hutcheon