Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Back to college ....

On Monday staff and volunteers boarded the pick up and made the short journey down to Kirkley Hall to learn about grazing and conservation. This was part of our Grazing Project part funded by HLF Peregrini Partnership. 

The idea behind the course was to give volunteers more information about grazing on the Reserve, grazing for conservation and also linking that to agriculture. Volunteers are essential on the Reserve and are often tasked with lookering stock on occasion.

The morning was spent in the classroom looking at the rational and theory behind using stock when managing nature Reserves. Rob from Kirkley Hall ran this session. We were then handed over to Andrew, a lecturer at the college for the more practical part of the course. Donning our wellies and waterproofs we headed to the lambing sheds to look at sheep husbandry. You can see volunteer Gill getting stuck in to turning a sheep and checking it's teeth under Andrew's experienced eye.

Cattle were next  and Andrew had some lovely Aberdeen angus to show us how to use a crush and check condition. This was followed by leading them out using halters and getting them used to being handled. We left by looking through the sheds and having a look at one of the college's bulls. We get local graziers animals on our sites and it was great to be able to link this with the workings of farms.

A few photos from the day are below.

Andrew explaining about the set up at Kirley Hall and what to look out for when lookering sheep

Jill gets stuck in turning and checking a sheep.
Volunteer Steve haltered and led cattle out of the crush. Andrew explained this method is used so that cattle get used to being handled and are quieter if they need to be worked.

Emma King from Teesmouth NNR checks the cattle for condition.

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