The latest addition to our family of animals at Landmeterskop, a heifer-calf, normally hangs out with a flock of lambs and our chickens in the paddock nearest to the farmhouse. When the lambs were brought in to the craal to be weighed, “madam” came along. The workers couldn’t separate her from the lambs, as she simply stayed in the middle of the flock. Eventually Louis managed to get a lead around her neck, and she obediently followed him back to the paddock.
Valerie also recently had to fetch new Leghorn chickens as most of our laying hens are a little over two years old and will now start to lay less eggs. The first 2 years of a hen’s life is her most productive. By the time she’s 5 years old she will only lay half as frequently as she did during her first 2 years. While Louis and Luca were “unloading” the new chicks and making sure that they had food and water and were settling in, Jack and Jesse, kept a close watch!
As it had always been Gill and Ken Lister’s (actually Dad Ken’s), wish to own a domesticated teacup pig, they in January 2014 purchased “Percy the Pig”. He was only two months old and a real little squealer, measuring less than a ruler in length. They fed him on Pronutro and yoghurt. He was a real cute little boy. They loved him dearly and he quickly became part of the Lister Clan of six cats, two dogs, four chickens and a parrot.
After around six months it became apparent that Percy was not a teacup pig. The breeder told them that fully grown, he should be the size of a Jack Russell Terrier. After further investigation, it came out that he is actually classified as a mini pig, so his eventual size would be more than double that of a teacup pig.
So they had no choice but to move Percy outside and he lived in their backyard with the other animals. In the mornings and evenings he joined his human family in the house for a few hours, and the rest of the day he spent outside. He became a real mischievous boy when indoors. He would chew the wooden floors and 6-year-old Chrissy’s dolls! Eventually he became a little too destructive to be allowed indoors.
On reaching puberty, this young piggy was all ready and set for action! With no other female his size or kind around, to everyone’s chagrin, the pug, Bella, became the object of his amorous displays! A serious decision had to to be made, and when Percy became a little short-tempered too, castration became inevitable.
After a year and a few months, his human parents knew that it was not fair on him to be kept in the backyard alone and isolated from the close human contact he was used to during weekdays. The family agreed that it would be best for Percy if he could find a new home with companions somewhere on a farm where the owners would love him and take good care of him.
Theunis and Valerie of Landmeterskop farm near Stanford came to the rescue in offering Percy a forever home with their other pigs. On Saturday, 20 June 2015, Ken, Gill and Chrissy brought Percy to his new home and family, a real “piggy heaven” where he had his own house prepared for him with fresh straw and food. And after meeting the rest of the pig-family, the chickens, the alpacas – Angelo, Lily and Roweno – he was happy to start roaming and inspecting the lush green field… And although they had to say goodbye to Percy for now, the Listers left with peace in their hearts, knowing that this is not farewell, as they were invited to come visit Percy as often as they can.
Percy and family arriving on Landmeterskop:
And while her dad took Percy to his new home, Chrissy and mom had time to feed the lambs:
The pregnant widow, Mrs Potts, was the first one to come and say, “Hi!” to Percy… A little bit grumpy herself, after the untimely demise of her husband, Mr Potts, due to his aggression towards humans, she soon let the young man know that he should keep a safe distance for the time being!
Then it was time to meet Mr Kolbroek who at first was lying, fast asleep, in the reeds in a furrow. But, oh my! When he caught sniff of the young Percy he couldn’t get up quickly enough to greet the stranger! No-one has ever seen Mr Kolbroek move his big, fat body as fast as he did on Saturday trying to get to Percy!
While Percy were introduced to the rest of the pigs, Chrissy had time to feed the alpacas. Here she is with Lily.
Then Percy was shown his new “house” with fresh straw bed, his own beloved blanket which he had long ago “privatised” from where it was drying on the line, and some food in his trough! His family left him, happy and content in the good care of the Landmeterskop team. And with an open invitation to come visit Percy as often as they can, his human family also left with peace in their hearts, knowing that they had done the right thing…
Six hundred lambs, all ± 3 months old, from the last lambing season, were weighed this past week to determine whether they were heavy enough to be weaned and sold. Their average weight was 30,5kg. The minimum weaning-weight is 25kg. The lambs were colour-coded and sorted into different groups according to their weight:
GREEN – under 28kg
BLACK – 29 to 32kg
BLUE – 33 to 37kg
RED – above 38kg.
The blue and red group are ready to be sold.
The green and black group will be moved onto forage and grain-based diets until they are ready to be sold.
And then we have to get ready for the next lambing season in September!
We now have a youtube.com channel where we shall post short videos on the farm and its activities from time to time, for you to enjoy.
Now you can see Angelo, Lily and Rowena in real life, and also some of our “hanslammers” (pet lambkins).:
We recently scanned our ewes for pregnancies, and 412 of them are bearing!
Look at them! Those with the red mark on their faces are bearing either twin or multiple foetuses; those without a mark are bearing singles, and the dry ewes are marked with green.
Pregnancy scanning is a great management tool to improve profits for meat and wool enterprises, particularly those running higher stocking rates and when paddock feed is in short supply. The rams had been sent in with the ewes on the 15th November last year, and were taken out on 31 January this year.
The commercial availability of ultrasound scanning for pregnancy in ewes has been a major development for the sheep industry. It enables farmers to know the pregnancy status of their ewes about two months before they are expected to start lambing. Information on the pregnancy status of ewes enables farmers to:
• Identify and manage ewes separately according to pregnancy status
• Identify and potentially cull dry ewes from flock
• Identify early and late conceived single bearing ewes
• Calculate lamb losses between scanning and marking
We expect our new babies to be born from the middle of April 2014!
Ten days ago it started raining, and it rained for three days, almost non-stop. In 48 hours we received 170mm rain, almost half our annual average! On Landmeterskop we had to quickly dug furrows above the dams to get some of the runoff water away from our already full dams.
In spite of the bad weather, our guests still had a good time – relaxing and resting, and fortunately for the children there was the thrill of helping with the milking of the goats and the feeding of the lambs!
The entrance to Landmeterskop Farm.
And on Sunday, with many of the roads closed due to heavy flooding, we had to try and find a road which would be safe for our guests to use, as they had to get back for work Monday morning. And with a little precautionary help from Theunis (as you can see in the photo), they all made it home, safely.