Saturday, April 25, 2015
We had too many sheep. Even though we missed a year of breeding when we had no ram the numbers have risen. We have been 'donated' a number of coloured sheep and a poddy wether the owners couldn't face culling. So when some friends wanted 'easy' sheep to eat their grass they jumped at the chance of some Wiltshire Horns. No shearing and crutching is a definite bonus if you only have small numbers of sheep and only want some lamb or mutton to eat now and then.
The eight chosen sheep on their way to pastures new
They decided on eight - two pregnant ewes, two lambs and four older sheep. Our sheep yard easily as enough of the older sheep come when a feed bucket is waved at them. One of the leaders of the flock is a ewe called Bridget who was recognisable by the fact that her horns are behind her ears. We decided to send her to be the 'boss' of this new flock. The others sort of chose themselves by being the first in the yards.
When we sell any sheep we have to fill in an NVD or National Vendor Declaration. This is part of having a PIC or Property Identification Code which shows which farms sheep have come from. The PIC system includes an audit that aims to improve the chances that meat entering the food chain is safe and the animals humanely treated. Despite only selling one small group of sheep Opportunity Farm was audited last year. An advisor came and assessed whether our practices matched the guidelines and that we were recording when we drenched or applied medications or chemicals and how safe the farm was from prior contaminations etc. It was a friendly visit and assisted us in knowing how and what to record.
Paperwork completed and cash in hand our sheep departed for the new home and we have eight less mouths to feed over winter.