Winter time at Paley - what's happening on the farm

Winter of 2019/2020

Enjoy an insight into our day-to-day life at Paley Farm during the winter

Winter is well and truly here, and it has been a very wet one so far. The ewes are working their way through our reserved grass stocks rather quickly, as they are trampling a lot of it in. As we rotationally graze throughout the year, our time with the sheep is currently spent building and dismantling electric fences for our girls so they can have a fresh bite every three days.

Paley farm sheep

Looking ahead to lambing season

Our rams were separated from the ewes on Christmas Eve - hopefully after being busy for five weeks! Now they can rest up for another eleven months! Ed, our local sheep contractor, will pregnancy-scan our ewes at the beginning of February. This is an exciting time as we find out how many spring lambs we will be expecting.

The last batch of lambs will be off for our meat boxes next week, which marks the end of our fat lambs for this year. In the autumn, we increased our flock by 200 ewes to enable us to have lamb available for our meat boxes all year round as of next summer.

Paley farm sheepdogs

A new recruit for the farm

My old, faithful collie, Pip, is approaching double figures this year and seems to be finding farm life rather tiring, so we brought in some help in the shape of younger blood - much to Pip’s disapproval. Jess has been on the farm for a month now and, after a timid start, she is flourishing. Her boundless energy and love of rounding up anything that moves (children included) has made her a pleasure to be around and we are hopeful that she will develop into a great sheepdog. The loyalty of a collie is something that I find very infectious - long may it continue.


Ponds, birds and Great Crested Newts

We have recently restored eight ponds across the farm in order to create habitats for Great Crested Newts. Selectively clearing trees, allowing light to reach the water surface, has not only improved the odds for the ponds to become a breeding site for this protected species, but it has also opened them up for the mallard, teal, herons and moorhens that regularly visit, which has been enjoyable to see. Our first breeding survey for GCNs will be in the spring, so fingers crossed for then.


The elusive kingfisher

Our extensive network of waterways on the home farm makes a fantastic habitat for a wide range of wildlife. It appears that I am the unfortunate one who has not seen our shy, resident kingfisher who lives along a stretch of the river. Not one to feel left out, I am hatching a plan to catch some photos of it with the help of a trail camera so, if all goes to plan, there will be photos to follow!