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Life in the countryside

DECEMBER

Livestock

Male sheep or rams (tups) will be put out with upland sheep flocks. These rams can be dangerous and unpredictable.

Early lambing starts in some indoor flocks, especially with pedigree tup breeders, e.g. Suffolks. Most cattle, including calves for overwintering, will be indoors and being fed by now.

Watch out for farm vehicles taking livestock feed. Cattle can remain out of doors as long as the land is dry but they will be fed on a daily basis. Hay or silage will be taken out by tractor or the cattle may be fed in troughs.

Crops

Farm vehicles will be working on the land to prepare the ground for planting next year's crops. Some winter wheat drilling continues to take place. Swedes are harvested for winter feed for livestock, or in some cases, may be strip-grazed using an electric fence to sub-divide the field for sheep.

Management operations in forestry can take place at any time of the year but are generally planned to minimise environmental impacts. Felling and removal usually takes place in autumn and winter to avoid the bird-nesting season. New planting of trees takes place in autumn, winter and very early spring. Keep well way from forest machinery and be aware that there may be heavy timber lorries on the tracks you are using. Do not climb over timber stacks.

Conservation

Birds will be taking advantage of unharvested crops for winter feeding and shelter. Do not linger if you are disturbing birds.

Help to minimise disturbance by being alert to possible shooting on grouse moors (the grouse-shooting season continues until 10 December) and take account of advice on different routes. Wildfowl shooting takes place close to water during the autumn and winter usually around dawn and dusk. Avoid crossing land where a shoot is under way until it is safe to do so.



Last updated on Wednesday 17th December 2014 at 09:52 AM. Click here to comment on this page