Farming Matters: A farmer’s Christmas

A milking parlour
A milking parlour

Christmas on a farm is much like any other time of year, but with added tinsel.

The work still needs to be done and the animals still need to be fed, but of course there will be some festive touches to acknowledge this special time of year.

For some farmers, the lead up to Christmas is more exhausting than the day itself.

Farmers selling Christmas trees and turkeys for example.

My husband’s cousin, who farms near Tring, rears and sells turkeys for the Christmas table and for him this time of year is even more hectic.

He has to make sure the birds are finished at the right time and then he has all the killing, plucking and sales to organise.

For any livestock farmer there is little respite. My husband tries to organise everything so that there is as little work as possible to do on Christmas Day.

He does extra millings in the lead up to the day, but still he will be out there at least twice for several hours, feeding the animals and attending to their bedding.

He enjoys it, getting out into the fresh air and having some exercise prior to and after tucking into roast turkey with all the trimmings.

Dairy farmers, of which my brother-in-law is one, have even more work to contend with.

Milking a large dairy herd can take a very long time, and bearing in mind the cows are milked twice a day, that’s a huge chunk of time.

But farming is a lifestyle not a job and farming families are used to organising their Christmas Day around the needs of the animals.

And of course there is always the added advantage of enjoying delicious home grown food over the Christmas holidays .