By the barn December 20
Posted: 1st Dec 2020
“They gave him of the corn land, that was of public right, As much as two strong oxen could plough from morn till night.” Chaucer
Under lockdown, along with everyone else, we are so lucky to live where we do! The beautiful English countryside, particularly here in Derbyshire, has never been so appreciated.
Whilst we welcome anyone exercising or just enjoying a ramble on our many footpaths, it is important that notice is taken of the countryside code- gates left as they are found, litter taken home, care taken when near livestock and not allowing dogs to roam too freely( disturbs and displaces wildlife) and please be aware you are walking through someone’s home and workplace.
December is a mixed month- short days, dark nights and cold, bleak, dreary weather and we are bringing in our remaining cattle, to pass the next few months indoors. Dairy cattle will be in already and cattle are quite happy to be dry, warm and well fed and watered. Just like us, they won’t move far if everything is to hand.
We let ours out into the yards whilst we scrape out and bed and some will jump and skip about, happy to stretch their legs, others have to be pushed out and lurk by the gate, ready to come in at any opportunity. We also take the chance to check water troughs and electrics when they’re out of the way . It’s a fallacy often promoted by single agenda groups, that farmers do not care about the welfare of their animals. Of course there are those who don’t ( as in society as a whole) but mostly, our livestock is treated fairly and sensitively and the UK ranks as one of the only four countries world wide reaching the highest grade for commitments to animal welfare.There is also a strong legal framework alongside assurance initiatives.
We have put the rams in with the ewe flock and they have been on fresh pasture to make sure they’ve had enough nutrition for their pregnancies.
Last years lambs have been sold in batches through the livestock market, but we still have quite a number left.
The question is do we sell all as quickly as possible, because, with brexit (& at the time of writing no trade deal with the EU( our largest customer) has been done and there is no ‘third country’ legislation in place either for imports/exports), or do we keep them and assume everything will be sorted ?
Luckily over a million people lobbied to make sure there was a trade and standards commission in place to scrutinise deals on the agriculture sectors behalf, showing consumers do care how their food is produced.
Our fields are full of wheeling crows and pigeons and field fares chatter as they swoop and settle then lift and swirl around to land again further along. The plaintive cry of a young buzzard as he flaps clumsily after his parents echoes eerily and sparrows argue as they feast on hedgerow fare of hips, haws and left over sloes.
Have a good Christmas, whatever .
Posted by: Angela