Liley Hall Farm
31st December - We got the last of the cows in just before Christmas - they are the 15 heifers that are due to calve next spring with the cows. We quickly get into a routine of bedding up and feeding and this year both the straw and the silage are nice and so the sheds are quite pleasant to be in. The weather has been awful so not much land work or walling has been done however a lot of office and paperwork was completed instead.
5th December - Steve is on schedule to cross Siberia next February / March and while he is away I will have the calving to do. I'm going to ask Edinburgh Veterinary University if there are any students that need work experience while he is away. We usually have a student for 2 weeks every year and it would be a great to have help around at that time.
3rd Dec - Once again Tango has come into season and I took her to meet with a prospective suitor. She found him to her liking and so hopefully in 9 weeks we will have puppies !
We have got all cows but the 13 in-calf heifers inside. The weather has turned quite horrid in the last few weeks and we are going to bring the final group in before Christmas. Running with them is a bullock that is ready for the freezer (except he is too big for one freezer and we'll have to buy another!). When we get them in we'll have to organise for him to go to Spenborough Abattoir instead.
1st December - I finished Wall 3 of probably 5 at my friends house. Work in progress .....
30th November - we had a visit from a FWAG advisor who was not so positive about the HLS scheme and said it was very difficult to get on it and that they hardly ever accepted Capital Works (i.e rebuilding walls and hedges). We have tried to put as much land as possible into the scheme but its probably not enough. She recommended getting another advisor out from Natural England to confirm. This is not what we wanted to hear but if the scheme is not for us we will just have to start up doing contract dry stone walling to subsidise the farm.
23rd November - the haulier was supposed to come yesterday and collect the calves however because he was so late he didn't come. Overnight one of the steers managed to get his feet caught in a gate and suffocated while struggling. This was very disappointing and after talking it over with the buyer we decided to split the costs. Its an awful thing to happen after we have reared it for 9 months. The local hunt kennels at least will collect it for free.
18th Nov - The Blue Tongue restrictions have meant that we cannot move the calves to Skipton. We advertised them instead in the Farmers Guardian in batches of 10 and 20. They have now all been sold which is nice although 51 are still on the farm and the weather is due to turn wet and windy.
We had the 1st visit from English Nature which went well and we were recommended to put an application in for HLS. Now we are contacting surveyors as we have to have a professional Farm Environment Record done.
We have brought all the cows and calves home - 40 are in the sheds while some cannot come in until the calves have gone to their new owners the week after next. The Sept born calf is doing well but had to be turned out so that we could bring the others in. She is on a 10 acre field with her mother and a "friend".
I am doing some walling for friends in their garden and will put pictures on when it is finished.
28th Sept - We managed to move some stock in-between the two outbreaks of Foot and Mouth and so for the time being our cattle are ok where they are. Mid October is when we usually take the 8/9 month old calves off their mothers and sell them in Skipton Market so we are anxiously watching the news and awaiting the lifting of restrictions. We do not have enough housing for all the cows as well as their calves.
Last week we had a surprise calf from a cow that wasn't supposed to be pregnant. She calved out in the field but we had to move her and the calf indoors because it was too cold and wet outside. The calf has since recovered and is doing well. The only explanation is that when we first bought Adam and put him in with the cows last winter that she came into season then and he served her.
We have just finished the walling for the year that we had to complete by end September. It has been the normal rush and because I have just had an operation we haven't managed to put the toppings on it yet but have deemed it "finished for now". We had a veterinary student staying with us from Edinburgh University and for most of the time Nima was here we were walling. Next year is our last year on the current scheme and we are looking to go on HLS in order to carry on working and improving the land at Briar Knowle and Moretop Farm, Kirkheaton.
20th July - As everyone knows it has been a very wet summer up to now and this has created a lot of problems for farmers. We eventually got our silage in all apart from one field which is in the valley and is very wet. If we tried to drive on it we would simply sink into the ground. The cows do not like it at all and especially the little calves suffer from being cold and wet all the time.
This week we have caught the Angus Bull on the second attempt and taken him back to York - last week he knocked me flying after I got in his way. That gave me a scare. We have also caught Nero and taken him back to Holmfirth and moved Adam from Briar Knowle onto Liley as this is where the late calvers are and so they will only just be coming into season (about 8 weeks after calving).
The vet came and castrated 9 young male calves and we dehorned (disbudded) 2 calves as well. One cow had to stay in because she had a mouth infection which we treated with a course of antibiotics. Another cow we cannot get pregnant and so unfortunately she had to go to Skipton to be sold. Because she has not had a calf to feed she was quite fat and weighed 830kg we got £700 for her which is very good.
In between rain and cattle work we have been walling and have just today finished Muckins - see pictures of before and after below.
10th June 2007 - All the cows have calves barring one - due anytime now. There are 22 cows and calves on Fawcetts land with an Aberdeen Angus bull, 17 cows and heifer calves on Briar Knowle land (with our new bull Adam) and the 30 remainding cows and calves at Liley on 21 acre with a great bull called Nero. There are also 20 young cows (heifers) on 21 acre so Nero is working hard.
9th February 2007 - We have had 8 live calves and unfortunately 1 premature dead one so far. Most of the cows are due next week and so we check them frequently as its very hard to tell when they are going to calve. We tag the calves with the official tags but also with a tag that shows their mother's number - its red tags for girls and yellow tags for boys !!
The weather has been great for the last two weeks and we have also got all our muck spread and started walling again. It is a nice change to be outside in the dry for once !
12th January 2006 - sorry about the lack of update. We had to bring all the cattle that were outdoors inside very quickly as the weather turned very wet in early December. Since then they have been very well behaved (barring the weekly poo in the water trough - which means we have to bail all the water out and clean it out).
We have pregnancy tested all of them and there were 7 not in calf who we sold in Skipton. Not a nice job but its not profitable to keep animals who cannot produce calves. Luckily most of my favourites were pregnant. There are 10 cows due this weekend (13th/14th) with a further 60 being due on the 8th February. I will endeavour to get some photos to put on the website.
If anyone would like to visit once we have a few calves to look at then please ring us on 01924 493095.