Smallholder & Garden Festival By The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society May 2010

I have just found out that the Smallholder and Garden Festival held by The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society will be held on the 15th & 16th May 2010 at Royal Welsh Showground, Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, Powys, LD2 3SY.

It sounds like it’s an ideal event for all those dreaming of the good life.

“The event is geared for the smallholder and the gardener and everything you want to know about how to make a start on a small country living can be found there, including experts to answer all your questions. There is even a property road show where you can find just the place to buy or rent to become a smallholder.”

2010 Attractions at this event include:

  • Black Mountains Falconry Display.
  • Scurry driving competition.
  • Blacksmithing and farriery competition.
  • Programme of demonstrations organised by the Welsh Farriers and Blacksmiths Association.
  • Ferrets 2000 – ferret racing.
  • See the third Folk Dance Festival.
  • Meirion Owen’s Quack Pack – duck herding demonstrations.
  • Rockwood Dog Display Team deliver an exhibition full of daring stunts and clever routines.
  • Swansea and District Beekeepers’ Society.
  • Titan the Robot show!
  • A new Spring Poultry Show is also being introduced at the Festival.

Buy Smallholder 2010 Tickets Online

Take advantage of the discount available by buying Smallholder 2010 tickets online and avoid the queuing on the gate!

Adult One Day Ticket Advanced online £ 9.00 On the gate £ 10.00
Child One Day Ticket (5-16 yrs) – Children Under 5 – FREE Advanced online £ 5.00 On the gate £ 5.00
Weekend Caravanning & Camping Advanced online£ 35.00 On the gate £ 35.00
Family 1 day ticket (2 adults and up to 4 children) Advanced online£ 25.00 On the gate £ 25.00

Hubby and I have pencilled in going to the event – let me know if you are attending.

LAMMA 2010

LAMMA 2010 is the 29th Annual Exhibition of the Lincolnshire Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Association.

The event will be held at the Newark showground on 20th & 21st January 2010.

There will be over 500 trade stands showing products and services from companies from all over the world.

There will be a wide range of productson show from farming and rural industries.

The event has free admission and free parking.

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Feral Cats Rehomed To Act As Pest Control

I have always known that cats can be used for pest control especially on farms. We have five semi feral cats (I say semi feral as they live outside, but they are my pet cats as they have names, are feed pet food and can be petted) who keep the the rat and mice population down on our farm and this week I have been going over to feed the 10-12 cats on our neighbours farm that are also semi feral and help to keep vermin under control.

I have just been reading an article on the BBC news website about how feral cats are to be pest controllers.

The article describes how the cats protection charity in Bournmouth are rounding up feral cats in the hope of re-homing them on farms as pest controllers. The cats are caught, given medical treatment and neutered, before being sent out to farmers. The charity feels that the cats won’t be tame enough to become household pets so their perfect environment is stables, farms or garden centres.

I think this is an excellent idea to rehome the feral cats on farms to act as pest control as this helps the farm with any vermin problems and also gives the cats the chance to be well looked after.

Let me know what you think about this.

National Steak Week In UK

National Steak Week will run from October 12th to October 18th and will basically try to encourage everyone to eat more steak.

The British restaurant Beefeater is celebrating it’s 35th birthday this October and to celebrate 35 years of chargrilling they are launching National Steak Week so that the nation can indulge in their love for steak.

The week will be a celebration of all things steak, from the juiciest rumps, to the tenderest sirloins and the meatiest T- Bones and with a choice of 12 sauces, such as peppercorn, béarnaise and Argentine speciality ‘Chimi Churi’ there is something to suit all meat eating tastes!

Beefeater are also running a promotion giving anyone who is 35 during National Steak Week the chance to get a free meal. So if you are are celebrating your 35th birthday between 12th-18th October or just want want to celebrate all things steak then why not check out Beefeaters.

RSPCA BBQ Source Campaign

This Summer the RSPCA launched the BBQ Source campaign, which focused on making people aware of issues surrounding animal welfare, especially when shopping for meat for the barbecue. The campaign offers help and advice to welfare-conscious consumers who don’t want to forget the ‘source’ of their meat when cooking on the BBQ.

RSPCA BBQ Source Campaign

RSPCA BBQ Source Campaign

As part of the campaign, a survey was conducted and found that 72% of respondent’s buying decisions were price dependent. Many consumers’ view higher welfare meat to be expensive, but the RSPCA’s shopping guide also includes tips on how to shop on a budget. To help show the importance of buying higher welfare meat the RSPCA has developed a shopping guide which provides useful reference guides to food labelling, recipes as well as addressing the key issues surrounding animal welfare, such as growth rates and living conditions of the animals.

“With around 93%  of the population eating meat, we know that people’s buying habits can have a very direct influence on how farm animals reared for meat are raised. That is why we feel it is so important that as many people as possible are informed about and encouraged to choose meat raised to higher welfare standards,” said Mel Andrews, campaign manager for the RSPCA.

“If more people go out of their way to choose or ask for welfare-friendly food such as RSPCA Freedom Food labelled products, more of the 900 plus million animals reared for food each year in the UK will be raised under higher welfare standards,” she added.

“Price can sometimes be seen as a barrier when buying higher welfare meat, and this is where the RSPCA’s online shopping guide can come in handy,” adds Andrews. ” You can still save money when buying higher welfare meat by preparing the food yourself, getting the portions right and using up leftovers for another meal the next day.”

According to the government funded ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign which sets out to encourage shoppers to make the most of the food they buy, and waste less of it, in the UK we throw away the equivalent of 33 million chickens and 3 million pigs per year. This is a waste of money and animals’ lives.

The  ‘BBQ Source’ RSPCA campaign website provides:

  • lots of barbecue-related hints and tips,
  • a shopping guide with information on what labels to look out for when choosing higher welfare,
  • price comparisons,
  • ideas on how to use leftovers,
  • a portion calendar to help cut down on food waste,
  • information on the key welfare issues affecting farm animals.

Next time you are planning a BBQ, checkout the ‘BBQ Source’ RSPCA campaign website.

British Cheese Week – 26th September – 4th October 2009

I have just heard that it is British Cheese Week next week, from Saturday 26th September til 4th October 2009.

The week involves a nationwide campaign to promote British cheese with the Great British Cheese Festival and the British Cheese Awards Dinner taking place in Cardiff.

Events will be taking place across the country.

Support British Cheese next week and let us know how you celebrated British Cheese Week.

RSPCA Campaign – Quash The Squash

I received an email on behalf of the RSPCA about raising awareness of an urgent campaign to protect the welfare of UK meat chickens.

Quash The Squash RSPCA Chicken Campaign 2009

Quash The Squash RSPCA Chicken Campaign 2009

Right now, the government is considering new EU legislation that may increase the number of chickens allowed in rearing sheds. Even at current minimum standards, each bird is given less space than a sheet of A4. It’s hard to walk or even flap their wings. But this legislation would allow yet more birds to be squashed in, cutting that space by almost a quarter.

The RSPCA desperately need your help to urge Jim Fitzpatrick, Minister for Animal Welfare, to make the right choice for UK chickens and quash the squash, by sending an email via the RSPCA campaign website. Mr Fitzpatrick’s decision is imminent and the RSPCA want 15,000 letters to be sent before he makes his decision.

For this campaign the RSPCA have also created a short film called Irritating Chicken to highlight the plight of broiler (meat) chickens if EU legislation on living conditions is brought into force in the UK. The purpose of the stunt was to invade people’s personal space and make them feel what is like being squashed into a chicken shed.

Show your support for broiler chickens today.

People’s Choice Supermarket Award – RSPCA Good Business Awards 2009

I received an email on behalf of the RSPCA about encouraging supermarkets to do more for animal welfare.

For the first time ever, the RSPCA Good Business Awards is open to the public through the People’s Choice Supermarket award which means that people can vote for the supermarket they think is doing the most for animal welfare.

The RSPCA has short-listed three stores that have achieved the highest welfare standards in the past year, and now  the RSPCA would like the public to pick a winner.

Three supermarkets have made it through to the shortlist:

  • Marks & Spencer,
  • Sainsbury’s and
  • the Co-operative.
  • Further information on each of the stores achievements is available at RSPCA Peoples Choice.

    By casting a vote you will be encouraging all supermarkets to follow suit and raise their standards. So a vote for your favourite is really a vote on behalf of farm animals everywhere (they’ve not quite got the hang of online voting yet!)

    Voting closes on September 11th, and the winner will be announced in October, so get voting today by going to RSPCA Peoples Choice.

What To Do When Walking In A Field With Cattle

The recent tragic event of the vet who was killed by a herd of cows whilst walking her dogs and the injuries sustained by David Blunkett as he walked his dog, highlight the need for a greater awareness of what to do when walking in a field of cattle especially when you have a dog.

I was listening to the Radio 4 Farming Today podcast the other day and they advised that if you encounter cattle whilst walking:

  • try to walk near to a hedge or fence so that you can get close into the hedge if need be.
  • don’t run as the cattle are likely to start running as well and they can run fast.
  • stay calm so as not to spook the animals.
  • stay quiet.
  • keep any dogs on a lead so you can control the dogs.

However, lets just clarify the situation when walking with a dog.    It is sensible to keep the dog on the lead whilst walking through the field, as the herd may be dispersed across the field and you can keep the dog under control and away from the cows.  The problem occurs if a cow sees the dog and reacts to the threat of the dog.  One of the first signs that a cow is becoming agitated is that it will lift its head up and look alert.  It may then start to nod its head.  Nodding of the head is a sign of aggression and it is advisable to slowly retreat from the cow, watching it all the time.  It is recommended to release your dog from its lead if there is a danger of the cow attacking.  The cow is most likely to feel threatened by the dog (rather than you) so releasing the dog will separate you from the dog.  Most dogs can run much faster than a cow and you can try to distance yourself from the dog.  If a cow starts to nod its head and come towards you then it is likely to be already in very close proximity to you (probably less than 10 metres) and so you will not have much time to take action (probably less than 2 seconds ).

People  often feel in danger from a herd of cows when walking across a field and the cows start to follow them.  The faster the person walks/runs, the faster the cattle will chase behind.  Attacks tend to be from a single cow that has become aggressive and not from a whole herd of cows.  If a whole group are trotting behind you then it is likely to be inquisitiveness.  In this situation the only danger is if one of the animals inadvertantly kicks as they pass by or gets over excited as they trot up to you.  Just turn around, jump up in the air, wave your arms in a star-jump style and shout at the herd.  This will stop them from running towards you and temporarily disperse the group of cattle.  Then slowly walk towards the closest hedge or boundary feature where you can safely get out of the way.

I mentioned that cows can kick.  In fact they can kick very hard, but it is usually only when they are frisking and frollocking about and are excited.  They kick with their rear legs and kick out sideways, up to a height of about 1.8 metres.  They tend to kick as they run past a person and sort of twist their bodies around.  If you imagine a cow running past you and then pivoting on their front legs and kicking out sideways then you will realise that they can kick out some distance (2-3 metres).  So if one runs past you, try and keep a good distance away from it.

We keep cattle on our farm and as I have not been brought up with close access to cattle, although I think they are beautiful creatures and on the hole docile and placid animals, I am still wary of them as they are such big creatures and all animals including humans, can behave unpredictably.

If I have to go into any of our fields with cattle in, then I always make sure I know where the cattle are and where I can get out of the field if I need to. As I move about the field I make sure that I always have one eye on the herd’s location  so that I can keep a check of their movements and behaviour.

It is always a good idea to check if the cattle are grazing with a bull and to be aware of where the bull is. If a cow is in season and the bull wants to mate with the cow then the bull and possibly other cows will be trying to mount each other and cattle leaping up into the air can be an added danger that you need to be vigilant of.

It is usually cows with new born calves that are aggressive/protective. The cows instinct is to protect the  calf at all costs and an unknown human and a dog are seen as a threat to the calf. Even when the calves are growing and are more than a week old, it is important not to get in between the cow and a calf as the cow will still be protective towards her calf and doesn’t like to be separated from the calf.

The North York Moors National Park has a leaflet giving advice about walking with dogs on the North York Moors which you may find useful.

Walking With Dogs On The North Yorkshire Moors

In light of the recent tragic news of the dog walker killed by cows and David Blunkett’s recent accident when met with a herd of cattle, I would like to let dog owners who are planning on visiting the North York Moors know that there is a leaflet published by the North York Moors National Park giving guidance and advice about walking your dog on the North York Moors.

You can click on this link to download the pdf: Walking With Dogs In The North York Moors National Park.

Keep safe when walking with your dog in the countryside.