Welcome to GLYNELWYN - a smallholding in South West Wales

Glynelwyn - News

2013

December

December was a busy month what with finishing Porkers, lambs and then Turkeys ready for Christmas dinners but all went well.

Due to the climate, the grass in the fields had continued to grow well into Autumn and into winter and so the commencement of using our winter forage has been less than the last few years, which is a bonus.

However, all good things come to an end and the weather changed early in December to rain, rain and more rain. Then high winds and more rain but not just here in Wales, across the whole country too.

We very sadly lost one of our goats right at the end of the year. Flora, who would have been a year old on 29th December became unwell a couple of weeks before Christmas. After 4 vet visits she was eventually put to sleep and the probable diagnosis was a growth between two stomachs and so nothing that anyone could have foreseen or could ultimately do anything about. A sad end to the year but that's Farming for you and we now look forward to new life coming into the world from February.

We wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year

 

November

We haven't had the dreadful snow that was forecast for the this month, so that's a relief. In fact, the sunsets this month have been truly stunning - so take a look at the photos page - they are worth viewing. In fact, the mild weather has meant the grass had continued to grow (great in the fields but a pain in the garden!) and the roses are still flowering and blooming.

 Tupping this year has been a very long, drawn out affair with a new Greyface Dartmoor tup appearing to be firing blanks despite having been a well proven ram with his previous owners. At the time of writing we have about 3 days to go before we find out if a course of antibiotics a few weeks ago has had any effect. We also very very sadly lost our lovely Zwartble tup - Archie at the beginning of November. He got into a bit of a fight with one of the Ryeland tups and who must have caught him on the head in just the wrong place which, without going into too much detail and after 3 days of nursing, resulted in him having to be put to sleep. A tragic loss but we're keeping our fingers crossed he has left his mark on his ladies and there will be some of his progeny in the Spring.

With December looming, its time to start getting Christmas baking started and so the Puddings have now been done and are maturing nicely. Trying to hand craft as many Christmas presents as possible this year which includes not only home make sweets, but also a lot of knitting and felting going on too.

The Norfolk Bronze turkeys are free-ranging and seem to enjoy flying up on to the shed roof!!! In fact this morning, they appeared in the garden!!!! Hmmmmm......not sure free-ranging to that extent was on the cards! Happy Turkeys and as a result, these are going to make wonderful Christmas Dinners for all concerned.

 

Mid August to October

October - and the weather still fabulous although at the time of writing, it has now turned cold, but beautiful sunny days. The rest of August and all of September were very boring really............AS IF, haha; mega busy as always but playing as well as working.

 We went to a few more shows with our sheep the highlight of which was Pembrokeshire County Show in mid August where our lovely homebred Greyface Dartmoor Ram 'Faithmead Ashwood' was placed 3rd out of about 8 in the Rare Breed class and which we were overjoyed about, to the extent that I burst in to tears I was soooo proud and pleased. Our fleeces did fantastically too and we got a Reserve Champion with our Zwartble Fleece in a turn out of about 15 fleeces.

We had two new Rams arrive for this year. 'Tuppy' a 4 year old Greface Dartmoor ram who came to us from a breeder in the north of wales and Avatar (aka Archie) a Zwartble ram lamb from a well known breeder in the Shropshire area. Both are currently 'working' well. We've also got our aged Ryeland Ram 'Hywel' who is now 7 covering just 3 ewes this year (his final year) and our homebred Ryeland Faithmead Shaun covering another 7 in the adjoining field. As well as these 4 boys, Ashwood has 4 girls to keep him occupied too. The tups were put in slightly later this year as having January lambs last year didn't prove to be a great success and we felt leaving it until late February and into March much better for ewes and lambs.

On the subject of sheep ....... again........ did I tell you about our latest acquisitions - two Gotland ewe lambs. These came from a breeder in Pembrokeshire but originate from Sweden. The Danish are enthusiastic breeders of this lovely sheep too and I'm learning a lot from their Fb page and their way of doing things over there. Very exciting and looking forward to increasing this little flock in due course.

The Christmas turkeys have arrived and are flying around outside and free -ranging sometimes even down in the lamb field! We also had some more Sasso meat birds which we 'finished' and made some incredible weights up to and including 8 lbs!! The most delicious chicken ever tasted :-)

On the piggy front: Heather and her litter of 7 piglets have now been weaned and the 3 gilts have gone off to their new home, 2 of whom will continue as breeding gilts. Bill the Middle White Boar from a nearby breeder is once again visiting our Mollie in the hopes of having some February piglets.

 

Mid August to June

Well, as always time has absolutely flown by and here we are will into August already (I'm sure it should really still be June ?!!??!?).

Anyway, lots happening and happened. From a wildlife point of view the Nuthatches in the bird box fledged successfully and the swallows were nesting, fledging, nesting again in absolute abundance and are now lining up on the telephone wires thinking about that long, long journey they have ahead of them very soon.

The sheep eventually got sheared which was a relief for us but an even bigger relief for the sheep!. The guys didn't arrive until well after 6pm and it was 9pm by the time they packed up and went off ............... no, not home .... to their next shearing job!!! They are amazing.

Sheep showing has also started and we ventured off to Bancffosfelen Show with our little clan of Greyface Dartmoors and a Zwartble Ram Lamb (Applejack). We came home with a few rosettes which was a nice start to the season. Our next show was Tivyside at Newcastle Emlyn. Another lovely day weatherwise but up against BIG competition in the size and shape of some huge sheep, but a good event and we had a lovely time talking to the general public about our sheep. The next one was a very, very wet Cardigan show and we didn't fair too well at this one although did manage a 2nd in the group of 3. Lastly so far, we have been to Lampeter Show which is a very good quite large show and again the weather was absolutely fantastic. Again the competition in the size and shape of Hampshire Downs as well as Suffolks left our little sheep somewhat unnoticed by the judges but once again the general public made us feel heaps better as the Darts were definitely very popular with them.

The weather in July was soooo fantastic (we actually had a summer) that haymaking happened early and we made probably the best 'meadow' hay ever. The goats absolutely adore it as it is full of gorgeous wildflowers and such like and smells so sweet. At the time of writing, we still have a 5 acre field of haylage to cut and get baled before winter!!!!

We have some new additions to the menagerie in the shape of a litter of Berkshire Piglets born to Heather very early hours of Friday morning the 9th Aug. And an addition surprise 2 days later was 4 little ducklings hatched out by one of our ducks in the peace and quiet of her house and they suddenly appeared today (11th Aug) in the afternoon when she brought them out for their first 'airing'.

 

May

Spring finally sprung and the sun came out for a while during the month albeit, the nippy Northly wind persisted. Due to the cold climate the grass still failed to grow and the sheep were still eating masses of haylage. However, by the second half of the month, the grass DID decide it was time to start growing. Better late than never. The Swallows have arrived and are gathering in numbers. We seem to end up with hundreds although probably not QUITE that many.

The latest batch of Sasso meat chicks arrived and at the same time, we had 14 Light Sussex chicks hatch out in the incubator, so lots of chicks around. On the subject of babies, Spotty the Gloucester Old Spot Sow farrowed early in the month and a new batch of baby spotties was running around causing the usual havoc .... and amusement.

The 'littlest lamb' Thumbelina decided life was definately worth living and started to put on weight and graze happily outside, although she continues to put herself to bed in an empty goat pen every evening along with her little buddy Tom. A new addition was added to this little group in the shape of 'Hope' a Black Bluefaced Leicester ewe lamb .............. and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on her fleece for spinning at a later date.

 

April/Early May

April seemed to fly past and with a mixture of all winter, spring and summer all in a short space of time. We finally were able to move all the ewes and lambs up to their summer pasture where the grass had really started to show through and was the perfect height for all that goodness to be in the tips of the grass. Fortunately the weather has been pretty kind to them since they've been up there. We still have one ewe and her twin lambs back here as they were the last born and considerably smaller than the bulk of the flock, however they should join their pals in the next day or two.

We also have here Thumbelina, a tiddly little Ryeland lamb who was struggling and subsequently removed from Mum at 6 weeks. The story and updates about her are on our Facebook page (click the link on home page) and she has attracted quite a fan club, but its hardly surprising as she is such an adorable but determined little thing. With her now is Tom who is one of the Zwartexmoors and he started to go downhill just before we moved them to their summer grazing and so to be on the safe side, we whipped him in too. He's picking up well and follows Thumb around where ever she goes. Also in that particular 'Creche' at the moment is 'Hope'. 'Hope' is a very new addition to the sheep family and is a Black Blue Face Leicester ewe Lamb. She had a twin who should have come with her but sadly had an accident on the morning we were due to collect them which resulted in her demise. 'Hope' therefore was pretty traumatised by the time we got her home. She'd been weaned, lost her twin sister, put into a trailer and released in a little paddock she'd never seen before and it took time and patience that evening to be able to catch her up and put her in the creche pen with the other two. However, here we are a couple of days later and she's beginning to settle down, has made friends with the other two but is still very suspicious of humans......Time will heal her fears though and we'll keep you posted.

Weyhey - two gorgeous female kids were produced by Hebe and both are staying here to join our herd. We also rather suddenly had the opportunity of buying a new male kid from a very old and well established Herd in Yorkshire. A friend was there collecting a couple of kids for himself and rang me to tell me that this kid was "exactly the type you like"!!!! I had as long as it took him to have a cup of tea to make up my mind and that's without even seeing him. I trust my friends judgement when it comes to goats as he's a fanatical goat keeper and 'shower' and so said Yes. Poplartime Kadiz has now made himself very much at home here and is one of the most spectacular colours I've ever seen (go to photos page to see him). We now have a new blood line to test out on the herd and next Spring is going to be even more interesting than normal.

During April the first Swallow appeared and subsequently was followed by quite a few others. We usually have about a hundred here and they are fabulous to watch especially in the summer evenings when they swoop low to the ground catching the insects. The downside is the amount of bird poo under all the nests...in the shed...in the barn...in the stables...in the workshops....in the feed room...everywhere.

A friend very kindly gave me 14 Light Sussex hatching eggs and surprise, surprise, they all hatched.  Brilliant.   On the same day I got a phone call to say that our Sasso meat chicks were ready for collection, so we built a huge brooder area into which went 104 day old chicks !!!

 

March

The entire month seemed to be taken up with just waiting for lambs! However, eventually they did all arrive .... phew. We now have 42 lambs of various shapes, sizes and colours bouncing around both outside in the sunshine (albeit it, cold) and in the shed with its adjoining little creche paddock. Four Ryeland ewe lambs have already been booked, so I must get my skates on and take a very close look at what we've got there and decide what, if any, we will keep to join the flocks. One very handsome pure bred Zwartble tup lamb is probably the star so far. Beautiful markings and a good strong lamb that arrived looking as if he was about 3 weeks old at birth!! My ever favourite Greyface Dartmoors have produced a nice healthy number of ewe lambs and I need to select just TWO to keep on ..... its so, so tempting to keep them all ..... plus there is one tup lamb that right from birth I decided was a worthy potential future tup.

On the pig side, Oliver, the Berkshire boar, is home again following a visit to some nearby sows and he is currently holed up with Heather again. Having had such a hard winter, with so much wet weather, we decided to consolidate the pigs by selling the Gloucester Old Spots and concentrating more on the Berkshires and our one Middle White sow, Mollie. Thus, our lovely "Wesley" has now gone on to a new home in Shropshire and we miss having him around the place as he is such a character and despite his size, would act like a playful piglet at times. Pru, one of the GOS sows is also off to North Wales later in April once her current litter is weaned. That just leave Spotty who is due to farrow around the end of April and once her litter is weaned at the end of June, she will be found a new home too.

We have just one more goat due to kid at the time of writing. Hebe is due around the 8th April and fingers crossed for some female kids. The two gorgeous boys that Tutti produced in early March have since been disbudded and castrated and are currently looking for a 'pet' home. Flora the female who was born just after Christmas is looking stunning and will definately be staying to join her herd.

Despite this apparently being the wrong time of year for it, we have been experiencing some incredible Starling Murmurations - there are photos on the photos page, so do take a look as we've had some lucky shots. The downside to this is that they pinch ALL the lamb creep feed from the feeder outside, so 'Bird Scarer' is on the shopping list for later this week.

The cold but sunny days over the past couple of weeks has meant the morning 'rounds' of feeding up, watering and re-bedding and checking livestock has resulted in us being more than ready for our breakfasts once those jobs are done. As a result, it seems the home produced and cured bacon, the home produced and home made sausages and the free-range eggs are taking a battering ..... along with fried bread, and fried mushrooms, we seem to set ourselves up for the rest of the day with this hearty 'brunch'.

 

February

At the time of writing we have had 3 glorious days of blue skies and sunshine and hopefully a bit more to come. This follows on from torrential rain, which was preceeded by a week of thick snow where we were cut off for a good 5 days. Thankfully we had plenty of animal feed and of course our freezer is constantly full of our own home reared meat.

This first half of February has been busy with births once again. Mollie our gorgeous Middle White farrowed and has 9 fat little piglets feasting on all her milk. Then 5 days later Pru, one of our Gloucester Old Spots farrowed 12 little bundles of spots, and, fortunately, she's a sow with the full 14 working teats so everyone gets to feed at the same time - perfect. Wesley, our Gloucester Old Spot boar has come home following a longer than usual stint at his last place of 'work' and its nice to have him back for a while and enjoy having him about the place again.

Other 'births' include the first few ewes lambing (and they are all now tucked up in the big shed for safety). Lots of photos on the photos page of course. Also, don't forget to check out our Facebook page (click the link on the Home page) as the up to the minute news is always posted on there as and when it happens. 'LIKE' the page and you'll see the latest as soon as posted.

We're now waiting for the next couple of Goats to kid. Jeni and Tutti are due next and keeping fingers crossed for some interesting colours and hopefully some female kids. Last year produced rather more male kids than we would have liked but we were very lucky to find homes for all the castrated ones and a stud home for the one that we decided was just too good not to go on as a breeding buck.

Currently the hens are just beginning to lay the odd egg or two but they've all been on complete stike for a couple of months now due to the weather and the short daylight hours. One of the ducks too has just started to lay again and so thankfully we are getting enough to keep us going even if we can't supply any customers at the moment.

 

January

January - Here we are mid January and we finally have SNOW ! Not the freezing kind, just lovely soft stuff ....... which looks wonderful and changes the face of the landscape so dramatically, it could be another world.

On the 15th 'Bluebell' one of the Greyface Dartmoor ewes gave birth to twins, a ram and a ewe lamb both of which are very happy and healthy and safely snuggled up in one of the field shelters with a couple of 'mates' for company. The bulk of the flock aren't due to start until early February and as we still have a considerable amount of tidying to do in the big shed, another couple of weeks is very useful.