Well, our crazy weather patterns have not eased up as of yet! Temperatures in the high thirties and low forties for a week followed by a long weekend of snow falls and temperatures that plummeted down to Five degrees Centigrade all in November!
However we cannot moan as our country is in desperate need of precipitation so be it rain or snow we are thankful to the Lord Almighty. Rains have been recorded in most parts of South Africa including in some parts of the Western Cape which is desperate for rain! By most accounts planting has taken place to a greater or lesser degree in most parts of the summer grain planting areas but more rain is need for the majority of the grain areas to complete planting.
Our rainfall for the raining season 01/09/2017 to 31/08/2018 is as follows:-
September 2017 -- 21.0 mm
October 2017 -- 88.0 mm
November 2017 -- 101.0 mm
Total for 2017/18 to date 201.0 mm
RH Ranching’s Canis Africanis news:-
At the beginning of this month we sent our young bitch “Scooby Doo” up to Mr Gerhard Van Geest of Kroonstad in North West to join the young male “Jock” that he got from us earlier in the year. Gerhard runs a good Meatmaster flock (He is part of the G4 Meatmasters Group) and runs his flock very extensively. It is therefore imperative that he has really good Stock Guardian Dogs as some of his flocks are running about seven kilometres from his homestead.
Below are posts that Gerhard posted of Face Book re Jock and Scooby Doo -
RH Ranching’s Free Range Chickens:
A new development in our fledgling poultry operation is the addition of Muscovy Ducks (two Drakes and four ducks). I am thankful to my friends; Khehla Zondi (for the two drakes and one duck) and Sean Chubb (for the remaining three ducks) for getting me going with these birds. I last had Muscovy Ducks ten years ago when we were living on and operating from Little Spring Farm in Wartburg, it is good to have them again. Thanks guys!
I have added them to our operations as I feel that due to their foraging habit of eating different weeds and grasses as well as insects and especially beetles in their diet to those favoured by the chickens, they will help keep down these pests in and around the kraals, thus reducing the labour units required to keep the area in and around the kraals clean and free of weeds.
The flock is doing well and producing lots of high quality Free Range Eggs for us to use in the house, bless our staff and friends with as well as to set under the broody hens. Our young chicks are growing out well and it is very pleasing to see our young pullets coming into lay. As always; our flock is doing a sterling job of keeping down the fly population (both adult and larvae stages) in the kraals.
Our Broody hens and hens with chicks!
This month we sold our first batch of young pullets with a young cockerel to FC Rust of Heatonville up in Zululand. FC is running them in his goat kraals in order to help keep down the ticks (especially the Bont Ticks and Bont Legged Ticks, which cause tremendous abscess problems between the hooves of the goats as well as Heart Water) on his goats as well as the fly issues associated with kraaling goats at night in a hot, wet and humid Zululand.
Our young birds on the way to FC Rust
RH Ranching Mbuzi Stud and KZN IVG CLUB News:
Once again it has been a busy month in the Goat department of our lives. The RH Ranching Mbuzi Stud flock is doing well up in the Gauteng/Limpopo Bushveld along the banks of the Pienaar’s River after the spring rains and are looking nice and sleek with kids due at the end of December.
My wife Robyn and I accompanied by Caleb conducted two on farm consultations this month. The first was in the Boston area where we spent an afternoon, slept over and the next morning until lunch time with Rory and Sue Brighton of “THE BOSTON T PARTY” Boston in the KZN Midlands.
Before I get into the Nitti Gritty of our consultancy work with Rory and Sues flock, let me just say that if you are looking for accommodation in the KZN Midlands especially if you are off to see the snow, looking for a great rustic country wedding venue or just want a place to chill out,
“THE BOSTON T PARTY”
is definitely worth a visit! Visit their website at - www.bostontparty.co.za
Here we went through the Brighton’s management practices and flock health programs with them and helped them tweak things so as to get the most out of their flock of mixed commercial ewes. Then the following morning after a really good night’s rest we went through the Brighton’s flock and helped them select the right type of ewes upon which to build their flock and on good ram management practices. It was a rewarding and fun time that we all spent together even though it was lots of work.
The Boston T Party Homestead Dam and Flock
Our next farm visit and consultancy work was to the home farm of Brett and Charlene Chubb of Mid Illovo. Here again we spent quite a bit of time with Brett, Charlene and their eldest son Cameron (Cameron owns CBC Polo – see our section RHR Mules and Polo Ponies in this News Letter for more info on CBC Polo) in their farm office going over their current management practices and at ways of improving these practices so as to maximise their efficiency and profitability. After a very scrumptious lunch out on the patio overlooking the rolling hills and deep bush clad valleys that KZN is known for; we headed out to see their facilities and the flock of commercial Boer Goats.
We spent some time looking at the kidding pens, the covered overnight kraals and the newly built handling facilities and offered advice on how to fine tune their facilities. We then went through the flock and made recommendations on what we felt could be improved on in the ewe flock and the rams. It was so rewarding to see how quickly Cameron picked on what Robyn and I were showing them, there is a Stockman in the making here!
The Chubb’s Flock and some of their facilities
RHR Mules and Polo Ponies:
A quick update on the mules and horse colts; that we gelded at the end of last month are all well and have healed up without any side effects. Even Bruno and Sorel have now calmed right down as their testosterone levels are decreasing.
This month of November is also the birthday month of many of the mules that we have bred over time and this month we celebrate the 6th birthday of RHR Solace aka Lizzy.
Happy birthday RHR Solace aka Lizzy
The two new ponies (Khaya and Almond) that we are busy schooling up for Polo are coming along really nicely and it is a blessing to work with them. They are quick to grasp each new step and have settled right down when it comes to stick work and being desensitised to unpredictable situations such as plastic packets etc “blowing” around their feet and heads.
We have been working on Ashleigh’s five ponies as well as a pony of Falcon’s called Pippa. They too are all going forward very nicely and giving us a lot of fun and enjoyment whilst we are busy schooling them up. In fact Falcon’s girlfriend Leani needed to make a video to music as one of her practical assignments in her film making studies that she is doing. She chose to use Falcon and Pippa along with Ashleigh and Lady Vee as her subjects in the project. Even if I say so myself the end result of her video is very pleasing.
Please see the Video on our Polo Page.
Once again this month for the fourteenth year in succession the Swartberg Stock Theft Prevention Association (SSPA) hosted their well-known and very well supported SSPA Fly Fishing Festival from the 9th of November through to the 12th of November 2017. The Festival is comprised of fifteen teams of five Fly-fishermen per team. As could be expected the evening meals were indicative of the warmth of the farmers hospitality being both tasty and filling. The Saturday evenings sheep on a spit most certainly did not disappoint the taste buds.
The Festivals whole function other than providing some of the best fishing in the country to discerning Fly-fisherman; (many of South Africa’s biggest Rainbow Trout have been caught over these festival) is to generate funds to fund the initiative of keeping stock theft as low as possible in the Swartberg Area. In years gone by the heavy stock theft carried out in cross border raids from Lesotho came close to forcing farmers and ranchers in the Swartberg area into bankruptcy.
I therefore want to thank all of the Fly Fisherman and the Sponsors for their much need and generous support in making this fund raising initiative so successful and such a blessing to the farmers of the Swartberg Area.
Well that is all for now, have a blessed month ahead and remember the only name that saves is the name of Jesus Christ!
Please do remember that you can contact us directly via email from this website by going to the “Contacts Page” and following the prompts or on these numbers- Hilton 072-372 9065 and Robyn 082-428 6641 we would love to hear from you!
Now my prayer for all of you is that the Lord Jesus Christ will become a reality in your lives and that He will become the Lord of your lives.
Hilton and Robyn Sanders.