It’s a little surprising to me but I’ve found that the last blog update was last posted way back at the start of June and we’re already well on the way into July! There are a number of reasons for the infrequent blog updates of late but mostly it’s been because there has been so many other things happening.
At the start of June we were still busy trying to organise the collection or delivery of weaners as we sold all the piglets from our first ever litters this spring. In the end we sold them in 3 lots with the largest being a batch of 6 weaners that went off to Bill Quay Community Farm in Gateshead.
As might be expected, there were plenty of lessons learned when trying to load up the weaners. Our only previous experience of loading pigs here had been much larger and more tame fully grown pigs that were heading to slaughter and were happy to follow a feed bucket.
It was a lot quieter around here once the piglets had gone but I did miss them a bit if I’m honest. On the bright side, their departure did mean fewer trips to the local feed store now that we only have 2 sows to feed.
The main task at the moment is halter training the two calves which will be essential when it comes to handling them for vet visits or, dare I say it, when they eventually head off to the abattoir at about 30 months old.
Progress with this has been good with the older calf (Oscar) already happy enough to have the halter on and to be tied up for a short period.
The focus now is to get the other, younger calf (Elvis) comfortable with the halter because in the next week or two we will need to get the vet in to castrate him. This could not be done when he was younger because he was a little under-developed but on the bright side he was born polled (without horns) so we didn’t need to do any disbudding at all.
Obviously we need to make sure that we can restrain all the cattle properly for everyone’s safety but particularly Elvis during the impending “procedure”. The purchase of a few proper cattle hurdles (10ft wide by 5ft high) has helped this work greatly and luckily the calves can’t normally shift these… unless the mood takes them and they can get a run-up!
After a final burst of energy (and finances) the self-catering holiday let in our barn conversion opened to the first paying guests in the middle of June. Since that point the bookings have flooded in and at this point the barn is almost fully booked right through into September which is encouraging.
Our guests have come from a range of countries including Australia, America and Belgium as well as the UK and each group is different so it’s turning into a fascinating way to experience the outside world.
It remains to be seen how much interest there will be through the winter months but with some glowing reviews from all guests so far I have high hopes for more bookings to come in the future.