The perils of feeding sheep and John William may have found a new career path at the farm on the M62

New tups have been arriving this past week, Texels, Beltex and even a couple of Suffolk boys have appeared on the scene.

New tups and the perils of sheep feeding for the residents of Stott Hall Farm this week.

The two new Blue Faced Leicester tup lambs will soon be meeting the girls and hopefully, if all goes to plan they’ll do their job! Now that we’ve brought the ewes home, I think the majority of the residents of Farnley Tyas will breathe a sigh of relief. They are now safe to walk through a field without being mobbed by my rather eager Leicester ewes.

Unfortunately, once you start feeding them, any bag rustling can lead to a stampede. It doesn’t matter what shape of bag, handbag, carrier bag or dog poo bag. A bag is a bag to them, which means only one thing: corn. As their hysteria for hard ration increases, any human being passing through their field is at risk.

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A friendly greeting, glance in their direction or worse still, eye contact, could be disastrous as the hungry mob descend at speed, all thoughts of maintaining any social distancing out of the window. John-William, of course, had insisted he be the bearer of the corn. We’d had a brief discussion that involved me saying “absolutely no way” and him saying “I think I know how to feed sheep mum”.

So I’d stood back and allowed him to learn a valuable lesson, which is, mum is usually right. Needless to say he didn’t last long. They came charging and bleating for their feed, eyes fixed on the prize.

The little chap stood his ground and despite me yelling at him to just throw the damn corn, he clung on boldly to the bucket until he was surrounded. His little blond head bobbed around as he was buffeted from side to side before finally the bucket was forced from his grip and he disappeared from sight amongst the woolly backs.

On hands and knees he managed to claw his way out of the baying mob, with everything bar his pride still intact. Little was said as we walked back to the car but needless to say, he had no desire to feed them again.

Thankfully a friend of ours, whose house overlooks the field, was all too happy to take on the task of feeding the Leicester ewes. Paul urged caution and strongly advised him to just throw the corn over the gate. There were reports that he’d gone in with them and was frequently seen with a sheep standing on its hind legs, feet on the poor chap’s shoulders, demanding its feed.

We awaited the inevitable phone call telling us to feed our own... sheep, but it never came. He did a sterling job and was in fine spirits when we went to collect them!

The use of CIDRs (Controlled Internal Drug Release) on our ewes is a first for us. The progesterone insert should hopefully bring them into estrus at the same time. Always desperate to help, John-William was adamant that he insert some. After watching me, he took the applicator and proceeded as carefully and precisely as any expert would.

Perhaps we have a future vet in the making!

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Thank you

James Mitchinson