Lambing has started!

Yesterday, we had our first lambs!! Lambing this year has not had a smooth start, but it got off the mark with 2 almost healthy lambs.

After our great scanning, we knew it would be difficult to keep the numbers high, and this year just prior to the start of lambing, about 10 of our ewes carrying twins have suffered prolapses. Prolapses occur in the last weeks of pregnancy and will occur in at least 1 in 100 sheep typically, so having 10 in our flock of 700 breeding ewes is high, and I am sure we haven’t seen the last of them.

A prolapse occurs when the ewe pushes her vagina out of her vulva. This appeared as a smooth red mass and can vary in size from a tennis ball and a melon.

The ewe that has given birth had a prolapse. To help her get to full term, we clean her up and use a prolapse spoon to push her prolapse back in and then this is tied in place and she can function pretty much normally with this in. This has a good success rate but needs to be monitored to ensure the ewe does not have any infection.

This sheep is a texel cross and at scanning she was marked up as having twins. She had to have help in delivering the twins, and one died at birth. She then stays in the maternity ward in the shed until mother and lambs are healthy and feeding and are then let loose. Whilst in the shed, she delivered a third lamb, which was much smaller and must have been missed in the scan. She had not long delivered the third one here and is seen eating her afterbirth.

There are various reasons that will cause a sheep to prolapse, multiple lambs, well fed sheep, bulky feed and lack of exercise. This particular sheep was in pretty good condition, but the fact that she has 3 lambs will have added to this. This winter has been pretty mild and all the sheep are in good condition. Due to the prolapse, she most likely has delivered the sheep a bit prematurely and doesn’t have a good milk supply. We had to feed the lambs with sheep formula and hope that her milk comes in.

Today we had another 19 lambs, (of which 3 died) lambing officially starts on the 3rd April so we are having a few earlies.

Calving is going great guns as well just now, and I am sure they are enjoying this spell of better weather. We had to intervene as one of our cows got into a bit of difficulty. On the daily rounds, it appeared she was in labour but only one foot was seen coming out of her so Tom had to help her birth. Normally during labour, both feet emerge, followed by the head and the rest of the body.

The cow was very calm and knew she needed help as she stood for them and let Tom get his arm in to pull out the other leg and manoeuvre the head which was facing backwards and causing the problem. The calf was born healthy.

Tups and Highlanders

As the Corona Virus takes hold of us here and we are now pretty much put in lockdown, the concept of self isolating is not so bad at Glengorm.

Having closed all our tourist business off now, we get to enjoy the peace here at Glengorm. Whilst I am aware we can have too much of a good thing, it will be interesting to see how our animals benefit from a lack of humans roaming around.

Calving is well under way here, and we now have about 8 calves. Our younger mothers, the heifers are leading the way. The calf which I wrote about previously is doing well. Heifers are basically cows which have not yet have a calf, once they have had a calf they become a cow. The inexperience of heifers, when they are a first time mothers, can be an issue. The heifer when she has the calf, doesn’t always know what to do with it. Whether this is how to feed it or how to protect it. The one which I wrote about before, was hidden by its mother for nearly 3 days after being let out of the shed. The heifer appeared to have fed it, but we did worry that it may have died as we could not find it. It was eventually found safe and well.

Lambing starts here on the 3rd April. The sheep are all being moved about just now into the fields in by. This makes it easy for our farmers, Alexander and Ross to get around them all easier. They will get checked 3 times a day to make sure no one is getting in to trouble, and any sheep in need of help will get it.

The tups, at the moment are now confined to the shed. This is to keep them out of the way. Today they were clipped, this will help them not to overheat too much when the weather improves.

They look pretty skinny without their coats! They have a bit of an MOT when they are brought in and a few of the tups were also fitted with springs which helps their horns not grow too close to their faces.

Stay safe everyone.

New Windows

Glengorm Castle was built back in 1860, and we finally started a replacement window plan last year. We have decided to replace 10 windows every year, and this is the week for the new 10 to go in.

Unfortunately for us 3 of them don’t fit!!!!! So the week didn’t start too well. We are at present trying to get them altered to fit as in the light of the loss of business from the Corona virus ,we don’t really want to have to shell out for 3 new ones!!

Anyway, the week has got better and today the sun was shining when we came to get the 4 new ones for our special wee sitting room at the top of the tower. This room is a sitting room with 360 degree views and is part of and accessed through the Tower rooms apartment. The staircase is very steep and narrow, and this causes problems getting anything in and put of the room. Last year we changed the sofa and we had to cut up the old one and chuck it out the window. I then did an unprecedented thing for our castle and replaced it with one from Ikea which I could carry up myself and build in the room. It doesn’t look like the best piece of furniture for the room, but it does the job.

To get the new windows up there, we had the loan of a Manitou from our very lovely neighbours at the cheese farm.

The windows up there, are past their best. This causes leaks into the tower which travels down and causes damage. We are hoping the replacement of these will prevent some bad leaks which have appeared this year. The rain has been relentless this year and we are battling against the elements being so exposed. One of the windows had to be taken out in order to get all the others in to the building.

The windows are all case and sash and are being replaced with timber case and sash and we needed to send the weights for the pulleys up on a lift of their own too.

Frog spawn

Our land management at Glengorm includes several areas of set aside, which totals about 300 acres. Set aside is areas of land which are fenced off from farmed animals in order to encourage natural growth and habitats. We have been assisted with subsidies and grants to help do this but the real motivation for this is for conservation and biodiversity, and to encourage a natural habitat to attract native wildlife.

Out today on a blustery walk to the sea, we went through one which is set aside as a wetland. The area as suggested is very wet and boggy and is carpeted in rushes. At this time of the year it doesn’t look up to much but in the spring and summer its rich vegetation attracts a myriad of insects and birds. At the moment it is home to what seems to be an abundance of frog spawn.

not sure what finished off the poor wee frog!

It seems this year that there is much more spawn about then previous years. This may be helped by all the wet weather and rain we have been having this year, today has been the 4th dry day of the year!

Other set aside areas have been created for scrub and vegetation, coastal sea flowers, mosaic habitat, ground nesting birds and wader grazing.

On the estate we also have SSSI, this is a site of special scientific interest. This is the volcano, ‘Sairde Beinn, it is an area of conservation due to its geological interest.

Conservation to us at Glengorm is very important, encouraging biodiversity and native species, and the growth of ecosystems. Our Wildlife Project was set up to help us achieve this and to help make the wildlife here available to all.

All our set asides compliments our farming here at Glengorm. Our highland cattle and blackface sheep are as native as farmed animals can get and live outside year round and enjoy the hilly landscape here. They are allowed access to some of the set aside areas in the winter season as this in turn encourages the cycle of life which thrives there.

Frog spawn in a muddy puddle – not sure how long this will survive without rain