Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The New gates are in place.

Here they are - the nice new gates. They are finally in place and I have to say, the hens are flummoxed. One of my new pullets, together with Goldie - her mother - managed to squeeze through when the gate was open for a minute. When I went down the yard to photograph them both hens were standing by the gate trying to work out how to get back again! As you can see in the photograph, Tess looks a bit puzzled too.

I am sorry I can't put 'before' gates on as a contrast - I simply have not got a photograph of them and they are by now in that great scrap yard in the sky. But take it from me that these gates are a vast improvement. Apart from anything else, they are more my size and I can open them with ease. Give my hens a couple of days and they will have worked out how to get through/over so that they can eat under the bird table.

The rain has stopped today. There is a strong South West wind blowing and the rooks are swooping low over the fields as they race along. The jackdaws are sitting in the ash trees and making quite a racket and when I went to my friend's house for coffee this morning, the starlings in the tree near to her house were making the most amazing noise. I always say that a ladies' coffee morning is like a tree full of starlings - well here was a tree full of starlings that sounded just like a ladies' coffee morning.

On the way back from our walk after lunch I came across this red admiral sunning itself on our garden wall - soaking up the last bit of warm sunshine I suspect.
I must say it is good to see the sun again after several very miserable days. Going to Tesco this morning, the Vale of York was bathed in Autumn sunshine - makes a change from not being able to see it at all.

To those who asked whether or not the teaser tup got any little titbits before he was taken out - I doubt it because as soon as the first one or two ewes come into season he is taken out and replaced by the Blue Faced Leicester. And until the ewe is in season she is not receptive to mating, and I suspect she would tell him to clear off.

There has also been some discussion - Rosemary on Miss Cellany brought it up - on whether or not it was 'kind' to keep cows indoors all the year round, rather than putting them out to grass in the Summer. This happens a lot in some areas and is beginning to happen up here, as she pointed out after her recent visit. I asked the farmer about this last evening, and this is what he said.

It is impossible these days to make a living from a small dairy herd, so as the small dairy farms go out of business, the farms are incorporated into larger units.
This means that some of the dairy herd have three or four hundred cows in them and while it would be ideal for them to be out in the grass (their natural habitat), if there is wet weather that number of cows soon make the whole field churned up and the grass quite uneatable. Therefore the cows are kept in loose housing with open sides, and often a large fold yard where they can be outside if they choose (but not on grass). The grass is cut and fed to them. It all sounds not quite so kind, but it is a fact that on these farms many of the cows choose to stay inside rather than go out anyway. So you will have to come to your own conclusions - but I hope this helps.


Gerry Snape said...

Rooks, jackdaws and crows...what an exciting day for the opening or is that closing of the "gates"!
Well done on getting them up!

Heather said...

Most birds seem not to like windy weather but the corvids still manage to get around and enjoy their antics on a windy day. The new gates are splendid and on enlarging your photo I could see why Tess was puzzled. No doubt she and the hens will find a way through.
The arrangements for keeping cattle indoors over the winter,
seem very humane and after all it is in every farmer's interest to keep his herd healthy and happy.

Pondside said...

The gates look all bright and shiny! Something like this, and its new ease of opening can make such a difference in everyday life.

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

Lovely capture of the butterfly. More rain to come for us down here - a Met Office yellow rain warning now in place for tonight

Reader Wil said...

Thank you for this post about your farm and for walking around with us. I can hear the rooks, the starlings being noisy and your hens cackling behind the gates.
Interesting to know that not all cows go outside in the grass like the Dutch cows. We have so much grassland that cows are kept outside until November.

Carolyn H said...

Ah, but it is so easy to flummox hens. Nothing so major as a new gate need be used. Mine were flummoxed by a new water container. They were certain it was Dangerous.

H said...

You've had better weather than us today. It was raining here this morning; that fine mizzle which gets right under your skin even when it doesn't look as if it's doing anything much at all!

The new gates look very smart and it's good that they're so much easier to manage.

Bovey Belle said...

What a good explanation your husband came, about the cattle management. Our next door farmer brings his in on 1st December. Never a day early, or a day late. Regardless of the weather . . . He has a big barn which is bedded down with sand, which apparently the cattle adore.

Smart gates btw, and the hens will soon work out what's what!

Glad to help with the reddleman.

John Gray said...

new gates AND outbuildings...
I would kill for outbuildings.... sigh

angryparsnip said...

Beautiful gates.
Is there netting or chicken wire that keeps them from stepping over the bars ?

cheers, parsnip

angryparsnip said...

opps !
I should have read the comments, like I usually do, first. yes there is some wire mesh.... must remember to click on photos !

cheers, parsnip

Totalfeckineejit said...

Lovely Gates! And a lovely 'post' too as always!

As for our weather, you wouldn't put a gate out in it, let alone a cow!

Jenn Jilks said...

Love it. I'm glad another person doesn't remember the before photos, too!

Cloudia said...

So enjoy the seasons you show us. Your word images do touch me and make me know (or think I do) and smile.

Thank you for bringing us along. The farmer sounds a sensible and intelligent chap!

Warm Aloha from Honolulu;

Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

ChrisJ said...

I love hearing about all the ins and outs of farming. Most animals prefer to be warm, dry and clean I think -- except perhaps pigs and hippos. Well, maybe that's an overstatement. Maybe it's me that likes to see them that way.

MorningAJ said...

Lovely red admiral. Almost matches the gates!

Dave King said...

Believe it or not, it's ages since I saw a red admiral. It was more than worth while coming to your blog, just for the reassurance that they are still around.

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

The orange gates look great! And I'm sure the chickies have already figured out a way over it :) It's interesting hearing the farmer's perspective on keeping cattle indoors as well. It does seem a bit cruel to not allow them out to pastures but it's not the farmer's fault really. It's the average supermarket shopper's demand for milk and beef that does it. If people on a larger scale decided to cut down on how much meat, eggs and dairy they ate then animals around the world would have happier lives. We'd probably be healthier as people as well!

Crafty Green Poet said...

The gates look very smart.

If the cows are still being fed grass and they can be in the open air, then it sounds fine, I just start to worry when they're locked in darkness and feed all kinds of weird things

Pomona said...

It's nice to have new gates - I spend my life pinching my fingers in gates, or muttering because the hinges have dropped, and they need some complicated shifting to open!

Pomona x

Mary said...

I think your spanking new gates are going to save your shoulders big time Pat. Way to go!!

Interesting about the cows - I can imagine the state of the fields with huge herds. Of course personally I'd just enjoy a few dairy cows in my back garden to provide Devonshire Cream for my scones, ha! ha! Well a gal can dream can't she?

Hugs - Mary