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Shane & Emma's Smallholding



February update

Well, we’re in the middle of February right now and experiencing some of the warmest weather since dinosaurs roamed the earth…Ok ok a slight exaggeration! But nice all the same.

If you read last months update you’ll know that we received a new member to our family, a little son called Finley, well what can I say…cue stock phrase FAN…BLOODY…TASTIC, our world has changed in so many little ways, ways in which we were not expecting…I mean the tension of two days without a poohie nappy and the relief when it arrives…I wasn’t expecting that!

Anyway I could go on all day about our delightful son but I am in danger of becoming one of those Dads that can’t stop talking about how great everything is (I totally get that now!) So here are a couple of pictures of Finley…and I’ll move on to the Smallholding. 

I have been asked a lot about how Willow has coped with the new arrival, after all she has been our little “baby” for the last three years. You’ll be pleased to know that after a brief period where her nose was seriously put out of joint she has settled in nicely.

Willow has also been performing “dog/scared of dogs child” diplomatic services, this is Aston who had a bad experience with a dog and subsequently a little nervous around them…the picture is after a few hours playing together.

Now then lets move onto the smallholding…starting with the cows, here are Mary, Elsa and Dee Dee, both Mary and Elsa are getting boisterous…I think this is a good sign that they are preggers! Something to do with the hormone changes I guess.

We have decided that although a heifer (female that has not had a calf...breeding stock) Dee Dee is to be fattened up for year end (Nov) ready for beef...ideally we would have like a boy for meat but we are lucky to have all girls.

Our piggies are looking fine, Rodders and Cassandra have been cohabiting for the last couple of months and should provide us with a nice litter of Large Black/GOS crosses…which as you all know by now makes for some of the best tasting pork.

We are thinking of revising our piggy layout, currently we have two breeding boars and unfortunately that’s one to many…We are trying to find a nice home for Delboy so he can continue with the lifestyle he has become accustom to…Then we think we might increase our girls and let Rodders “run” with them all…lucky fella!

We do not have any lambs at present…but we have decided not to re-stock with Wensleydale lambs, we found that although a very attractive breed the meat was not as good as the Southdown.

This year we plan on sampling something different as rare breed spring lambs are getting far too expensive just for meat production…and some of the carcass don’t quite make the mark ready for November, so we thought that we would try cross lambs…no not angry sheep but two breeds crossed with each other, those of you who attended the “fun Day” we organised for our smallholding club Fenland Goatkeepers & Smallholders Club would have tasted a spit roast lamb that was a Suffolk cross and delicious, so we thought we would try Suffolk crosses to begin with.

You will be able to track our progress within these pages, and of course those of you who are interested in partaking in the delights of home reared lambs please send the obligatory e-mail.

We have found the chicken raising to be super, they taste delicious.

The only problem is the time taken to prepare them…hand plucking takes an age (about 30 minute a bird), and to have somebody prepare them cost too much (3 per bird) so we have decided that although we will continue to raise meat chickens we will not be producing them for distribution sorry…it’s not all bad though I will continue to tell you how great they taste so we can share the pleasure!

We are going to arrange some chicken courses for our smallholding club on how to dispatch, and prepare a chicken for the table, if you are interested in this let me know and I’ll include you onto one of the courses…Then you’ll still be able to enjoy our lovely chicken.

Well that’s it for this update…Take care of yourselves and well catch up next time.

All the best Shane, Emma Finny D and or course Willow.

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