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.