2017 Shearing

Shearing 2017

This has been shearing week here at Rosedean Ryelands. Our shearer, Alistair, came on Thursday. We bought the sheep home on Thursday morning and penned them up – it’s safer if their rumens are empty at shearing as a full rumen can put pressure on the heart and lungs as the shearing takes place.

We had a ewe collapse once due to this  – fortunately, she OK – but we’ve always given them a chance to empty their rumens before shearing since then.

One ewe had a tick on her face and two had some fly eggs in their fleeces so shearing was timely. All the sheep were treated with Crovect, to kill lice, ticks and protect against flies after shearing and before they were turned out again.

We can’t treat before shearing, because the chemicals are pretty noxious, so it’s always an anxious couple of weeks until the fleeces are off.

The seventeen fleeces are now bagged and ready to go off to the Natural Fibre Company for processing into our 2017 Vintage Yarn.

New grazing

Sheep at Ravensby

We’ve been fortunate to be offered the use of 19 acres of grass locally, so today we moved the 15 ewes up there – as well as doing some running fencing repairs.

The sheep are astounded at the amount of grass.

We’re planning to move the tup and wether there next weekend to let the grass at Barry Mill come away.

Annual vaccinations, Teddy & Urquhart

Urquhart & Teddy

The fourteen ewe hoggs and Niamh got their annual booster vaccination against tetanus and other clostridial diseases this week. As well as protecting the ewes, the vaccine also allows lambs to acquire passive immunity through the colostrum.

We had a late night text from the miller at Barry Mill to say Teddy was hopping lame – so that was our first port of call the following morning – when Teddy (and Urquhart) came hurtling up the field, sound as a bell.

I can only think that he’d had a stone or similar trapped in his hoof and it had dislodged itself overnight. So glad he was OK.

Ewe lambs winter makeover

The ewes got their January dose of flukicide this week. Normally we do this after they have been scanned at the end of January – but no lambing means no scanning, so we did it on Saturday.

We also trimmed back the wool form their eyes; the one drawback with Coloured Ryelands is that the thickness of the fleece can render them “wool blind” especially in unshorn hoggs.

Wool-blind Ryeland lamb
Wool-blind Ryeland lamb

Ours can now see again.

Ewe lambs January 2017
Ewe lambs at Astwood

They’re looking really well.

In other news Urquhart the new tup and Teddy the wether have bonded and are best mates.

Urquhart and Teddy
Urquhart and Teddy

Calling all knitting groups

As Urquhart’s quarantine period comes to and end, he’s had a dose of Zolvix wormer and a dose of closantel flukicide – his breeder weighed him at 108kg, when he was sold to us.

We attended the special Christmas Farmers’ Market in Forfar on the 22nd; sold a couple of sheepskins and some yarn – but most exciting was the approaches by a few knitting groups interested in visiting and seeing the sheep.

We’re now actively planning to have the classroom refurbished in the new year. If you’re involved in a knitting group in or around Angus (or further afield) we’d love to host a visit for you – we can offer a tour including the sheep, provide refreshments and a lovely light space for a knit-and-natter. Probably at no cost (tbc!).

If that sounds like something you or your group would be interested in please contact us.

Urquhart / Farmers’ Market

Urquhart has settled in very well – he’s pretty canny. Feeling a bit sorry for the two boys stuck in a fairly small pen, I gave them a swede each. I suppose they’ll work out what to do with them eventually.

We had a good day at Forfar Farmers’ Market, selling two sheepskins and a nice bit of yarn. And we meet such nice people. Dan took his knitting, to show how the yarn knits up.

Next market is a special Christmas one on 22nd December from 2pm until 8pm.

Cockairney Urquhart

Our new tup, Cockairney Urquhart, has arrived. He was born in 2014 and has worked this year and last, but only had four ewes this year and three the year before.

He’s now in isolation, with Teddy for company, for three weeks. He’ll be wormed, fluked and his feet cleaned and disinfected. He comes form a reputable breeder but we’d rather be safe than sorry.

He’s a handsome chap – weighs a mighty 108kg – and we’ll look forward to seeing his lambs in due course.

Sheepskins / New Tup

We received our 2016 sheepskins back from Skyeskyns this week; we’re pretty pleased with them and will be taking some of them to Forfar Farmers Market next month

It was the Scottish Ryeland Group lunch this week, so it was good to catch up with other breeders. And I managed to buy a tup – he’s called Urquhart and we’ll be getting him home this week sometime.

Forfar Farmers’ Market / Random Acts of Kindness / Ginger Twist

Stand at Angus Farmers' Market

Had a lovely morning at Forfar Farmers’ market. John and Linda came along, so that I could get a cuppa and then the necessary break.

Lots of nice folk, sold a good bit of yarn and caught up with a few folk that I know from Festival and various other things.

Three really nice things happened, though.

  1. Two ladies came back to show me what they had knitted with our yarn.
    Rosedean Ryelands Customer Projects
    Rosedean Ryelands Customer Projects

    One lady had knitted two lovely hats with the 2016 Light yarn and another lady had knitted mittens with the 2016 Dark, with a 2016 Light double cuff.

  2. Now, while we were admiring the second lady’s mittens, a third lady came over to look at the yarn and asked if the mittens were warm. We all said they were – especially with the double cuff. Lady No3 explained that she suffered from Raynaud’s so really felt the cold, but that she couldn’t knit. I suggested that she might be able to get a friend to knit some for her and that was that.
  3. About 15 minutes later, Mitten Lady and Lady No3 came back to buy yarn; Mitten Lady had gone after Lady No3 and offered to knit mittens for her, so they came back, bought yarn, swapped addresses, hugged each other and headed off.

Wasn’t that just so lovely?

We’ve sold some yarn to a shop in Edinburgh “Ginger Twist” in London Road – very pleased and thanks to Louise Scollay at Knit British for suggesting us to Jess.

Kind of wondering if I should just move to a fleece flock. Will be doing some sums. Although I think I would miss lambing.