As Winter approaches

As winter approaches it’s time to reflect on the summer at Church Farm. This year was busy and is likely to be our most successful to date. We are taking bookings for 2018 and the caravan site is nearly a third booked, and some days in September are full. The cottages are also proving popular with early bookings for 2018. The caravan site is open this Christmas and New Year and pitches are still available.

The flock of hens which had free range over our site have been rehomed at Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Frettenham. The hens have settled in to their new home, where they are well cared for and are under the protection of a cockerel! The decision was made mainly because of my asthma allergies, which were aggravated by the daily cleaning of the hutches.

The resident Barn Owls successfully fledged a pair of owlets again this year. Their comings and goings, from the cart shed, were witnessed by many guests in July as the adults fed and later lured the young from the owl box. The banks around the paddocks provide habitat for small rodents and are left until late summer, before being scythed in the traditional way. The Barn Owls are territorial with a feeding range of approximately a square mile and the banks provide prey in close proximity.

The flock of Hampshire Down still totals 13, with 4 rams and 9 ewes. We did not lamb this year. Without fresh blood and an additional ram we have missed the window for lambs in the coming year, although we hope to lamb in the following year. Unfortunately Sheila, one of the older ewes suffered a fly strike in late August. However, tell-tell black smudge marks on the shoulder were recognised as such, and we were able to treat her before the maggots penetrated the flesh. She is making a complete recovery; the effects of the strike are depicted below.