Farmer Richard Thomas: one man and his dogs

PUBLISHED: 00:32 29 February 2012 | UPDATED: 21:08 20 February 2013

Farmer Richard Thomas: one man and his dogs

Farmer Richard Thomas: one man and his dogs

Richard Thomas farms with his father at Risbury Court in Herefordshire

I am standing in an orchard, not far from home waiting for the pheasant drive to begin. It is a cold and crisp, yet bright winters day and I notice the frost-covered cobwebs on the apple tree branches catching the sunlight. The slight breeze blows the cobwebs and they glisten as they catch the sun. Sitting to my left is my spaniel. Shes not as obedient as some gun dogs so I have her on a lead in case she gets too excited and runs off into the wood. I dont shoot very often but when I do she will retrieve and seems to have a very good sense of smell, working in the bushes to flush the pheasants.


Her sense of smell and hearing is so good she found and caught four
moles last summer.


My other dog is my collie, now 18 months old. He is quite good and I would not manage without him. While my spaniel has the summer off, my collie works nearly every day. Hes cheaper to run than my quad bike and is faster too. For some reason he wont work while I drive the quad bike, so moving sheep is a job done on foot on our farm. Its just as well I like walking. Most of the time he works to voice commands, but Im trying to get him to work to the whistle. Like any dog training it is all about time and I am getting there, with the occasional bit of assistance from friends with better trained dogs.


Like many farmers, my dogs are with me almost every day. I think it is one of the best things about being a livestock farmer. I get to have a dog and they are not only wonderful company, they are also one of the best work mates you can get.


Our ewes are due on the first of the month, so by second week of March we should have plenty of lambs running around the fields. The ewes scanned better than last year, back to our normal 1.75 lambs per ewe. According to our sheep scanner, the picture is mixed across the county. I think the dry summer and autumn has affected the conception rate this time. My ewe lambs also scanned well, around the one lamb per ewe that I had hoped for. While my ewes have been shorn to be housed, I wont shear the ewe lambs, leaving them until the more usual month of June. I will shear their bellies and around the tail to help with lambing. That way I can see what is going on when they come close to lambing and the lambs can easily find the teats. The ewe lambs are due in April but we have had our first couple of calves already and the grass is starting to grow. Spring is just around the corner.



Richard Thomas farms with his father at Risbury Court in Herefordshire

I am standing in an orchard, not far from home waiting for the pheasant drive to begin. It is a cold and crisp, yet bright winters day and I notice the frost-covered cobwebs on the apple tree branches catching the sunlight. The slight breeze blows the cobwebs and they glisten as they catch the sun. Sitting to my left is my spaniel. Shes not as obedient as some gun dogs so I have her on a lead in case she gets too excited and runs off into the wood. I dont shoot very often but when I do she will retrieve and seems to have a very good sense of smell, working in the bushes to flush the pheasants.


Her sense of smell and hearing is so good she found and caught four
moles last summer.


My other dog is my collie, now 18 months old. He is quite good and I would not manage without him. While my spaniel has the summer off, my collie works nearly every day. Hes cheaper to run than my quad bike and is faster too. For some reason he wont work while I drive the quad bike, so moving sheep is a job done on foot on our farm. Its just as well I like walking. Most of the time he works to voice commands, but Im trying to get him to work to the whistle. Like any dog training it is all about time and I am getting there, with the occasional bit of assistance from friends with better trained dogs.


Like many farmers, my dogs are with me almost every day. I think it is one of the best things about being a livestock farmer. I get to have a dog and they are not only wonderful company, they are also one of the best work mates you can get.


Our ewes are due on the first of the month, so by second week of March we should have plenty of lambs running around the fields. The ewes scanned better than last year, back to our normal 1.75 lambs per ewe. According to our sheep scanner, the picture is mixed across the county. I think the dry summer and autumn has affected the conception rate this time. My ewe lambs also scanned well, around the one lamb per ewe that I had hoped for. While my ewes have been shorn to be housed, I wont shear the ewe lambs, leaving them until the more usual month of June. I will shear their bellies and around the tail to help with lambing. That way I can see what is going on when they come close to lambing and the lambs can easily find the teats. The ewe lambs are due in April but we have had our first couple of calves already and the grass is starting to grow. Spring is just around the corner.



Richard Thomas farms with his father at Risbury Court in Herefordshire

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