Friday 19th January 2018

Planning ahead
The weather continues to challenge us although as this photo shows, the sun does make the odd valiant try… we may not have gold at the end of our rainbow but we do have geese!!! (Next best thing...)
We have been thinking a lot more about our 'new' lean-to building today and planning how best it could work. Our current thinking is that we will extend it to 'meet' the double field shelter in the 4-acre field and then give ourselves access both front and back, useful for both animals as well as hay/straw etc. IF we are to have another winter this wet, we want to be able to house the animals in the dry and off the wet fields a lot more than we have done this winter. The field shelters work really well for the sheep but having all six alpacas inside one feels a wee bit unspacious and of course next year Pluto and Mars will be much bigger. If we get the design right, the alpacas could have part of the new lean-to but then be given access to either the 3-acre or the 4-acre fields if the weather allows.
Relaxed at Home
The cows will still have their Cow Pad and accompanying shelter although we need to come up with a solution that allows the woodchip to drain a lot more freely than it is at the moment. The goats can have the main barn as now and of course we might actually have MORE if Jack's plans to keep a daughter for each of Pebbles and Onion goes to plan… (there is a slight caveat here in that they both need to actually give birth to at least one daughter, which is of course not a guarantee – last year Onion had THREE boys!).
And that just leaves the poultry. In the photo, the poultry paddock looks green and grassy which it is, all apart from the bit just outside their stable which is now very muddy in between all the grass (mud) mats and pallets! Unlike last year there are no current requirements to house our birds, although there is a legal requirement to operate strict bio-security measures on account of two recent outbreaks of Avian flu, one in Dorset and one in Warwickshire. The poultry are the one group of animals we DON'T want to house 24/7, they can cope with a bit of mud and their paddock is so big, there will always be grass and space for them.
All in all though, a nice, dry, cold winter would be VERY much appreciated next year, please!!