The lovely warm spell has enabled the whole farming world to make hay while the sun shines! This is a great and welcome benefit – last year many people scraped together a bit of hay in the few dry days in September and there was a serious shortage of hay and straw over the winter as people were forced to use bedding for feed. Here is the view across my fields towards the neighbours on a lovely warm evening this week.
I have to say my Gotlands sit comfortably in the barn on whatever type of straw and just eat around themselves – it’s probably the nearest a sheep gets to sitting in the bath with a large bar of chocolate or glass of champagne!
However, due to low rainfall, some of the grass has not grown a great deal, and due to the horrible cold wet late winter I could not get the contractor into the field to spread my muck heap, so my stash of small bales is small – only 22 from the top field this year compared to over 100 last year. But I hope the goodness will be a bit better as last year’s was late (not liked by sheep) and long (i.e. full of water). However, the lovely Mike Kent who comes to cut the hay and has a great baling machine, which makes the small bales which small shepherds can handle, also cut some in the next field which is surplus to requirements … so the picture shows both my hay and the neighbouring hay which I have been able to purchase at contractor rates. Given the flock reduction plan, and no in-lamb ewes to feed this winter, the 50+ bales should be OK …
Here it is! All neatly stacked on pallets and away from the walls to allow air circulation (and rats, unfortunately – occasionally found desiccated at the end of the winter due to the efforts of Russell my neighbour to protect his pheasant and partridge rearing business with Warfarin). The barn has a wonderful smell at present … of hay! (Not dead rats!!)