After seeing Jan s entry on the forum yesterday I…

October 16, 2007 in webcams by MrFarmer

After seeing Jan’s entry on the forum yesterday, I spoke to Peter, the Manager of the Lock of the Lowe’s about the Grey Squirrel that she saw. He told me that they do get the odd Grey Squirrel from time to time. They are not there for very long. The theory being is that the Pine Martin may kill them. The Grey Squirrel is not as fast or maybe agile as the Red Squirrel and are easier prey for the Pine Martin. I also mentioned that the webcams or the IR lamps were not working at night. Peter has been on Holiday for over a week and had not known. As long as there are no major problems they will on on of a night soon.

Continuing on from Sheep castration on last night Diary. It is common practice for Dairy and Beef Farmers that do not have Sheep, to let their grass in the Winter months for Sheep keep. Cattle are normally housed in the Winter months as they will poach soft Winter ground, It is also easier to manage them in the Winter when housed. Sheep being a lot lighter will do very little damage to the land, and will eat the grass that the cattle don’t eat, and of course their droppings fertilize the land. Sheep are very good for land management. They wont be allowed on the land any later than the end of March, very soon after that the grass start growing, the new grass being wanted for the cattle.

Three years ago we advertised our land for Sheep keep, as we do not have very good fencing for Sheep we offered it free of charge, it would then allow for any electric fencing that needed doing. The going rate would be about 30p per Sheep per week. After speaking to a number of Farmers, we decided to let the grass to a Farmer with a hundred Ewes, not in Lamb from about ten miles away. Our conditions were that I wanted him to visit to check on the Sheep daily, that would be normal anyway. The experience started wrong from the first day. The first lot of nine Sheep arrived tightly packed into the back of a pickup truck, without the Farmer having put any electric fencing up. They have never broken out and wont stray he tried to assure me. Of course I didn’t believe him, The Sheep were a mixture of cross breeds that looked in poor condition and had obviously not been on decent grass for a fair while. I shouldn’t have thought that his Sheep would have wanted to stray far from the decent grass that we had at Denbury for a day or so, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt as long as he did it.

Over the following week the rest of the Sheep arrived tightly packed in the pickup truck. Up to then none had disappeared even with out the fencing. These Sheep must have been waiting for all of their mates to arrive, for as soon as they had, the very next morning they were all gone. I tried his land line and mobile phones, both were not answered, so I left a message. As the Farmer had not contacted me or come to find his Sheep I had no alternative but to look my self. It didn’t take long to find them, they were in the wood, after a lot of running about I got them back into the field. Next morning they were gone again. The Farmer had not been to Denbury or had he phoned me. I wasn’t going to be running after Sheep again. That afternoon the Farmer arrived at the farm house door. I have got electric fencing he assured me and help to find the Sheep. The help was his aged fragile Mother, who was hardly able to walk, let alone chase after Sheep, the fencing was hardly enough to fence to fence in twelve Sheep let alone a hundred.

Next morning even after fencing, I had a call from a neighbour, the Sheep were on his farm. I made sure that afternoon that he got the fencing up and working. As the fencing posts had not been secured, Deer had knocked the fencing down the next day. I cant imagine where he learnt Sheep keeping from. Eventually the fencing was sorted out, but the agreement that he would come and check his Sheep every day, never happened.

One day when on looking in the Sheep field I saw a black object. On closer inspection it turned out to be a dead Lamb. The Ewes were not meant to be in Lamb. The Farmer assured me that the Ewes had not been running with any Rams. Over the coming days more of the Ewes Lambed. The Farmer had left his Ram Lambs that had not been castrated with their Mothers for to long. What possessed me to have my own Sheep again after that experience, I will never know.