What a summer we’ve had! In fact we’ve had an interesting time since coming back from our holiday at Easter. Here’s a shortened account of events since then.
In April we set about digging out our goat house. After 18 months the straw was almost 3 feet deep and took some time digging out by hand. 2 of the goats gave birth – 4 kids in total. Willow, our first time Mum had triplets. The first she gave birth to in a water bucket!! Our Ewes also gave birth to 3 lambs between them.
In May we hatched out our Italian Quails, some more Lincolnshire Buff Chickens and bought 20 chickens to start setting up our egg run. At this point we had decided that we needed to move away from rearing goats in favour of poultry and ducks. We love the goats but with limited pasture and time we needed to change some things. They were consistently escaping from their electric fenced area in the adjoining field where they are able to graze and so we had to take it down and replace it with a much better quality fence. We finally finished it and apart from 2 escapes during the first day they stayed in.
In June we were given over 600 strawberry plants and so we set about preparing beds and planting them up. Unfortunately one of our Ewes got ill and was unable to raise her two lambs. We had to move them into our goat house and hand rear them, a very time consuming and expensive activity. In preparation for more chickens and ducks we designed and started to install a permanent fence around the bottom area of our land. It has been designed with 7 separate pens to house our birds, keeping them safe from the foxes around us. However, just as we were starting a fox got into one set of our chickens and killed 2. This spurred us on to work hard on the new area, but sadly the fox attacked again in a separate area and killed 25 chickens in one go. As can be imagined the scene wasn’t a pretty one and the remaining chickens had to stay locked in their houses when we weren’t on the land. Since then we have worked hard on the new area fitting over 2 1/2 miles of fencing wire. It’s taken us until September to finish it, but we’ve finally made it.
With all our time invested in sorting out the fence we have had to neglect other areas of the land and so our veg beds have suffered. We’re now beginning to deal with the weeds sorting them out ready for next year.
In addition to all this work we have continued to sell at local farmers markets – 18 in total over the summer and these are set to increase over the next few months.
Last week some of our goat herd moved to Dartington Dairy to join their goat herd. We have been talking for a while about working together to promote and sell some of their goat product at the farmers markets we attend. This should work well for both of us and gives us a regular, seasonal, supply of goat meat as well as the opportunity to sell their Goat Milk Ice Cream and in the future milk, cream and yoghurt.