Autumn at the Farm!
Autumn is such an important time of year in the farming calendar. We get to celebrate the gathering of the harvest and give thanks for everything we have achieved this last year on the farm at our very special Harvest Festival event on 30th Sept/1st Oct. We have a Harvest service at 1pm where we bless the animals and sing the traditional Harvest Hymns, make scarecrows and corn dollies and remember the animals we have said goodbye to this year such as Blossom, Nancy and Molly.
As well as reflection we are also really busy looking forward as this is the time of year we get our breeding animals pregnant again for next Spring and that takes some organisation and timing! Plus we are busy looking after the Pumpkin Patch and nurturing all our lovely pumpkins so you can book to come and pick them between 21st-29th October… see website for details.
It’s all quiet on the horse and donkey front at this time of year. They are all still living outside although the donkeys will come in overnight once the weather gets colder as they’re not as waterproof as the horses! They all had the farrier last week to trim their feet. They get this done every couple of months to make sure their hooves aren’t overgrown which could affect the way they walk.
Skye has been weaned and Susie’s litter of 11 are growing like weeds. They will soon be ready to come away from her too. Luna is due on 27th September ready for our Harvest Festival. Then Bonnie should have her piglets ready for October half term. We were so sad to say goodbye to Molly, our legendary Middle White. She had a long and happy life here on the farm and we will miss her so much. With a personality to match her appetite and a snore louder than a steam train she was a real favourite with both staff and visitors.
This years lambs have all fattened and gone to supply the Housekeepers Store and Restaurant here at Tatton. The replacement ewe lambs have been chosen and joined the main flock. The rams will be getting health checks ready for tupping (mating) season. They will go in with the ewes around the 5th November for a 1st April lambing next year, just in time for Easter! The ewes are having a little break after rearing this years lambs and enjoying the abundance of grass we have had the back end of this summer.
We have hired a Hereford bull to run with the Red Poll cattle this year. He is here for 6 weeks and then we will get the cows PD’d (pregnancy diagnosed). Gracie our young Guernsey cow has been AI’d (artificially inseminated) with sexed Guernsey semen as we really want her to have a little heifer calf next year. Her best mate Hetty will hopefully be calving for the first time with her too in 2024.
The goats are still going out to the field every morning although that will stop as the weather gets worse as they are really wimpy in bad weather! Elliot is back to full health and we are hoping to get Honey and Emily in kid for next year.
The hatchery is now closed and the last batch of chicks are busy growing their adult feathers which will keep them warm over the colder months. It’s really important we don’t hatch any chicks too late in the year as they really do struggle when the nights drop colder. We are dreading any avian flu restrictions which seem to be an annual occurrence over winter these days. At the minute the poultry have all the freedom they need and are busy stealing sandwiches and getting everywhere they shouldn’t be, including our brewroom!
We are open everyday except Mondays from March 25th through until the end of October. Please check the website for details.
Newsletter compiled by the Farm Team.
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