First week back on the farm

The animals and staff were both glad to welcome students back to the farm this week, the animals because they get more treats and the staff as they get more help with all the jobs that need doing every day! Middle 2 and Lower 5 had their first visits to the farm this week and the evening groups have also been over most nights. Daniel, Tye and Matthew from Middle 2 worked particularly well with Lemar from Middle 4 on Wednesday and they were all very helpful with the sheep. Well done, boys!

Over the holidays we purchased some more North Ronaldsay sheep. Gina, Gwen, Florrie and Freda have settled in but are still getting used to having visitors so are still a bit shy. Florrie and Freda are due to have lambs in April, something to look forward to! 

However the sheep flock have behaved like mini-hooligans this week and a couple of them managed to squeeze out of the field onto the lane one morning. The fence has been fortified so they are allowed back out with the horses now. Iris managed to get a pine cone stuck in her foot too, so she has been used to show students how to catch and turn over a sheep this week as we check her over! She has bruised her sole and is limping a bit but it's getting better every day.

The rare British Landrace pigs are both starting to look pregnant so it won't be long now before our piglets arrive. Hammy the boar will be off to Warwickshire some time next week to meet his new girlfriends before coming back to us in the summer. 

The chickens are a bit fed up with being stuck in their runs, but it's essential that we keep them in to avoid them catching avian flu. There have been a couple of 'backyard flocks' that have been infected with the virus in different parts of the country so it could happen to anyone. However, as our houses and runs have solid roofs, and the mesh in the runs is small enough to keep wild birds out (even though the robin tries to get in every morning), our hens are still able to spend most of the daylight hours outside in the fresh air in the protection of their runs. They aren't laying very well still but they seem happy enough, as they get fresh veg hung up for them to peck at, clean straw to dig around in, and an afternoon treat of corn. They will have to stay in their runs until the 28th February but we all have to play our part in protecting the national poultry flock from the disease.