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!!)