Saturday, 31 December 2011

What's happening on the farm?

Tupping has finished and the sheep, hopefully, should all be in lamb (we will know for definate when they are scanned next year) so now they can go away for their winter holidays!  We call it 'wintering away'.  About two thirds of our flock spend the winter on lowland farms all over the north east and during the last few days Chris has been transporting them by trailor or lorry to farms around Durham City, Stockton, Darlington and Sedgefield.  Generally speaking the sheep do better when they are 'wintered away' as the weather is nowhere near as harsh as up here in the hills.  Also land is more productive in lowland areas so there is much more grazing for the sheep.  The sheep that stay at home live on the fell and rely on Chris, Ray and Andrew to feed them every day and in severe weather twice a day however the Swaledale are a hardy upland breed and can cope with the harshest of conditions.  So why do we send so many away?  Pry House Farm, like many farms in the upper dale, is in a conservation area.  In order to protect the heather moors we are required to reduce our stocking levels during the winter.

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