Spring has to be most people’s favourite time of year. There is so much happening, new life and a blast of colour after the dull greys and browns of winter.
Over the winter I have started a placement at Sculthorpe Moor, which has been a fantastic opportunity to learn some skills in environmental conservation which backs up the farming knowledge I have been gaining at Gressenhall. It is an absolutely beautiful site, and very diverse in its wildlife however it is a wetland site so over the winter months I have been wading through calf-deep peat water. It has been brilliant to have a few dry weeks and to see the site come to life from under the flood water!
As my traineeship began in May last year it has been fantastic to see the signs of Spring develop on the farm. I took part in catching some Marsh Daisy hens in order to incubate their eggs. These eggs hatched on Wednesday 2nd April and they are now cuddled together under a heat lamp in the back barn for the public to see. It takes 21 days to incubate chicken eggs and the average hatch rate is 50-75%. We put 13 eggs into the incubator and 12 hatched which was amazing! Once the chicks hatch they can stay in the incubator for 12 hours as they feed of the insides of the egg. This also allows the chicks to dry out, ensuring they do not become cold.
All 12 chicks are doing well and are available for everyone to come and see they throughout the Easter holidays.
Another amazing event was my first experience of lambing. Prior to our ewes giving birth I attended a lambing course which was extremely useful and a little concerning. I didn’t know that so many things could go wrong with a birth! This course was a day based at Gressenhall; a farm vet came and talked to us about possible malpresentations and diseases. The day ended with a practical activity to back up our newly gained knowledge.
The first ewe to birth delivered a strong healthy boy lamb. Following this we have had just under half our ewes give birth. The most recent was a new ewe who had never birthed before. She delivered twins; however required assistance from Richard, the farm manager. Both survived and are doing well now.
As you can see from the large use of excited adjectives, Spring is a great time of year on the farm, and out and about.
(And as much as Trojan does!)
Heritage Farming Apprentice