• Posted on: 10 January 2024
  • By: ibuchanan

I've mentioned a couple of times how busy its been.

In fact, it's been too busy, past the point of enjoying it. Past the point of "It'll ease up."

We've been talking about it for the last couple of weeks and I agree I need to change some things.

I'm always keen to implement a change that improves how I work, but this isn't about stream-lining, I need to cut back the workload.

So, two big decisions are to get rid of the geese, and reduce the sheep.

The geese are a folly. They need attention and care, the feed costs never stop. We don't do anything with them, and this year the flock expanded because we actually had a successful breeding season. I worked out they take up 7 hours of my time each week. A working day!

My wife pointed out all the work I have been doing in the goose paddock to rehabilitate the dredging pit is being sabotaged by the geese. Its true…they cropped all the new grass I planted until it died. They pull out any unguarded new trees. They ate all the pond weeds I put in the lake. I've just accepted that's how it is, but with no geese I could progress that faster. We'd also attract more native birds without the chaos and noise the geese create.

So I am in the process of finding a new home for them. I posted a listing in a couple of groups on Facebook, offering them for free to a good home. I will deliver them, so I can see where they are moving to. No pond or water and I can drive back home with them.

Most the people who have contacted me are good. A couple less so. One bloke tripped my alarms, and when I checked his profile he is a self-employed poultry broker. "Free to good home" doesn't mean "windfall you can sell to an abbatoir"….!

The sheep could be so much simpler. We don't need lambs every year. We don't need so many sheep. If we don't need lambs, I don't need a ram, I don't need a separate, secure ram's paddock that needs manual cartage of water over summer. I don't need to bottle-feed bloody lambs round the clock for three weeks! It’s a huge reduction in effort and workload. It's so obvious, and I am puzzled as to why I couldn’t see this myself.

The previous owner ran 12 sheep. We've had up to 70. We are going to trend down!

Before I can sell them I need to tidy them up. There's ear-tags to do, some whethers to create, a couple need a haircut despite being Dorpers, and everyone needs their feet checked and manicured. That in itself is a lot of work that I currently am struggling to get to.

But that is where we are going.

Before Christmas I was overcommitted on markets. I've dropped two, and am now only intending to attend the two local ones near us.

And I am on the lookout for someone who can come in and help. I started a conversation with a bloke who was looking for varied and casual farm work. The conversation petered out over Christmas, but I need to kick-start that again. And if not him, find someone else.