Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 7 February 2013 Contents Fiordland Advocate
7 February, 2013 | Page 11
Over the Boundary Fence
It was the 1st of May, a national holiday
here in Czech, so most people were out
at their cottages enjoying the 30-degree
temperature that was forecasted, (which
was about two months earlier than normal);
only the shearers were working hard.
So my day began at 5.45am preparing our
daughter Zofie to make the trip to Prague
to leave her at her Czech grandparents
for the day. The only advantage of the
holiday is that the roads were free of cars
and the crazy people that sometimes
drive them. Zofie was dropped off with her
grandparents, and I had another hour’s
drive to get to the first farm.
I arrived on time at 8.30am, found the
sheep waiting in the “barn” – well it wasn’t
quite a barn but an area that was 10m x 3m
with a bit of roof on it. A mixture of Suffolk/
East Friesian ewes awaited the shears.
After I found a beam to hang the machine
from we were set to blow. The first sheep
was finished and then I needed to trim the
feet. They were quite long as they spent the
winter on the soft straw and manure. This is
very typical here in Czech, with the majority
of the sheep kept inside and sometimes
allowed access to outside during the day.
Czech people find it hard that in New
Zealand have our horses outside all year
with no covers. They are used to all the
animals being shut inside for the winter,
but since I arrived here in Czech I am
seeing more and more animals being kept
People usually trim all their sheep’s feet
every six months, not just the lame ones but
all of them. So , with the first sheep shorn
and trimmed, this continued for one and-
a-half hours until I had finished the mob.
There were only 12 but the trimming takes
as long as the shearing.
I have a friend Ivo who is coming with me
sometimes; he is a young farmer in training.
He enjoys getting his hands dirty in the
“shearing sheds”, so is helping when we
have bigger mobs to shear and trim. All this
was happening while the temperature was
getting warmer and warmer. I was shearing
on the straw where the sheep were and the
farmer caught them in one half of the area
and manipulated them to where I was.
When I was finished, there was time for
a quick cold drink, a piece of cake and
then money exchanged, plus two jars of
honey and away to the next farmer. This
first farmer had arranged the whole day for
me, (so I didn’t charge him travel costs and
divided it amongst the rest of the farmers).
He took me around the corner to the next
farm, where three sheep waited. This I did
with the portable machine outside the pen,
so first I needed to catch them and run
them out the pen. This was a quick job,
then money exchanged and onto the next
Here were four sheep under a frame with
a tarpaulin cover – another job for the
Handypiece. The farmer caught the sheep,
lifted them over the sort of gate/wooden
thing that was keeping the rest from
escaping. He made it look awfully hard.
Last was Hugo the Texel ram. Then through
the town to the other side to a building yard
where eight sheep were living and waiting...
but more about these crazy animals and the
remainder of my road trip next time!
Shearing tales of a day on the road
Here is our daughter Zofie holding one of two lambs, the first born of the season. I didn’t have
space to keep the ewes and rams separate so lambing this year is going to be a surprise. This one
I had an idea about but she was lambed a week early. She is a Romanovka hogget but didn’t have
enough milk for both of them so we have a pet lamb running about with the dogs. They were born in
the snow, but we have just had a big thaw and the snow is gone.
PHOTO: John Barker
John Barker is a former Southlander who previously farmed at The Key with his
father Maurice. He moved to the Czech Republic in 2000 where he is now based
with his Czech wife Olina and their five-year-old bilingual daughter Zofie. John
teaches English twice a week, sells souvenir photo playing cards and last year
began shearing part-time. This is part three in his series on living – and shearing
– in the Czech Republic.
Feeding your puppy
Inadequate nutrition can have
serious consequences for
puppies. They require the
correct balance of minerals
and vitamins to support the
rapid growth of their bones
and muscles. In particular, the
calcium-phosphorous ratio must
be balanced in order for bone
growth to progress correctly. An
excess or a deficiency of calcium
can cause the leg bones to
become weak. This can result in
bent legs (see picture) and brittle
bones that are easily broken.
Feeding a diet consisting solely
of meat (calcium deficiency) or
supplementing puppy biscuits
with a calcium supplement such
as BoneGro (calcium excess)
may both result in this condition.
This can easily be avoided by
feeding your puppy a good
quality commercially available
puppy food which is specially
formulated to contain the correct
balance of minerals and vitamins
your puppy needs. Talk to your
vet about all of your pet nutritional
Elders can supply your NAIT
approved RFID tags
Come and see the team in Winton
for all your farming needs.
GOT YOUR EARS ON?
GOT YOUR EARS ON?
Links Archive Fiordland Advocate 31 January 2013 Fiordland Advocate 14 February 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page