Diary

August 2008RSS feed

Out to play

Friday 8 August, 2008

by Rosemary at 2:31pm in Poultry 0 comments Add your own

Our six Copper Black Marans, at 17 weeks or so, are pretty big so I decided yesterday to let them out to free range. Normally, I would keep them seperate until they come into lay, but I want to move Chip and the young Black Rocks into the smallark, so they can learn to use the ladders; I can then move the broody and her chick into the batchelor pad and give them more room.

I simply took the end off the run yesterday and waited. The first to emerge was the golden pullet, then the three cockerels then the two black pullets. The uber-confident cockerels weren't so bold once they were out in the world. I've been keeping an eye on them - all six stick together and away from the other hens. One of the old RIR whacked one of the cockerels this morning - he's not as macho as he thinks!

How it all started!

Sunday 24 August, 2008

by Rosemary at 8:32am in Anything goes 2 comments Add your own

I was looking for a photograph to put on the forums - nothing too scary, you understand, when I came across an album of photographs of me (and my family) when I was VERY young. Some of them made me think - "so THAT'S how it all started."

Rosemary with lamb

I'm not from a farming background; both my parents worked in the local textile mills. Both liked the outdoors though - my Dad golfed and fished and we did a lot of walking. Almost every weekend, we'd go off somewhere in the bus (we didn't have a car), with a picnic, and walk for miles. I can't smell Heinz Tomato or Oxtail soup without it all flooding back, because in the winter, Mum would fill a flask of hot soup to take. I don't remember going very far in the bus but we got to the Wild West often and the African jungle occasionally!

Pigs and Snak-a-ball

Monday 25 August, 2008

by Dan at 11:52am in Pigs 3 comments Add your own

When we first got pigs we soon discovered that feeding time was over very quickly. Rosemary had the great idea of using a horse toy, a Snak-a-ball, to keep them interested after their trough was empty, and to give them some exercise. We've always introduced new pigs to the ball since then, and as you can see from the video they love it:


Pigs with Snak-a-ball from asmallholder on Vimeo.

"Make a noise" campaign

Tuesday 26 August, 2008

by Rosemary at 8:40pm in Anything goes 0 comments Add your own

Please take a look at www.makeanoise.co.uk and make a donation and / or sign the petition. The campaign, supported by World Horse Welfare (formerly ILPH), is trying to stop the end the long distance transportation of horses to slaughter in Europe.

If you care about animals, please help.

Horses intended for slaughter are often transported hundreds of miles in inhumane conditions to be slaughtered. Although I would not choose to eat horsemeat, I have no axe to grind with those who do, so long as the horses are raised and treated humanely. It's no different to pigs, sheep, cattle or poultry.

Backyard Poultry Keeping - dealing with dogs

Tuesday 26 August, 2008

by Rosemary at 8:48pm in Poultry 5 comments Add your own

I was running the second backyard poultry course on Saturday. One of the participants had asked a question about dogs and hens and I had explained that most dogs would naturally chase hens and would have to be trained to leave them alone.

A bit later, Dan stuck his head round the door, excused himself to the group, then told me that we had a mini-crisis; Buster, the Staffie belonging to the nearby taxi company, had killed one of our chickens. I excused myself and shot out, followed by Calum, who was on the course but is a friend of ours.

Fleece

Tuesday 26 August, 2008

by Rosemary at 8:58pm in Sheep 0 comments Add your own

I have sent a sample of fleece to murmuringwheel to be spun. I should get it back in teh next couple of days. I'm quite excited! A colleague of mine has offered to knit it up for me - she's a beautiful knitter.

Roll on winter!

Farming and IT

Tuesday 26 August, 2008

by Rosemary at 9:21pm in Anything goes 0 comments Add your own

An unknown person at work left a magazine cutting on my desk. It was about folk changing career. It gave the example of Rob Hall of Northallerton Colloege, who gave up electronic engineering to run a smallholding and now works in IT. He's quoted as saying "Farming and running Windows products are very similar. Healthy things die in bizarre and horrible ways, while viruses and parasites are a constant threat. The only compensation is that the weather is better in our office".

Dan and I can identify with that!

Egg hatching

Tuesday 26 August, 2008

by Rosemary at 9:32pm in Poultry 0 comments Add your own

Our twelve Cream Legbar eggs, bought off eBay, were due to hatch last Thursday. One hatched and that was under Carol's broody hen. This time, I followed the incubator instructions to the letter.

I don't think I'm going to buy off eBay again. I'll either use my own eggs or try to buy fertilised eggs locally. The young Copper Black Maran cockerels are very active, but the CB pullets aren't laying yet.

Our RIR / LS, who was sitting on some of the Cream Legbar eggs, is still sitting. If she hasn't given up by 8th September, I'm going to slip some day-old Black Rocks under her.

Our fleece is now wool!

Wednesday 27 August, 2008

by Rosemary at 9:03pm in Sheep 0 comments Add your own

Well, a little bit of it is! It smells lovely, it's a glorious colour and I'm chuffed to bits with it. I'll be sending off more to be spun this week. Now that he's seen it spun, Dan's decided he'd like a sweater, too. So does his Dad! I can see I might get bed socks if I'm lucky!

Job profiles

Wednesday 27 August, 2008

by Rosemary at 9:07pm in Anything goes 1 comment Add your own

I had lunch today with a friend and we were chatting about work - we both work for the local Council. His rerponsibilities include catering, building cleaning and public conveniences.

I know its really sad to laugh at your own funnies, but I summarised his job as "from plate to pan".

How would you describe yours?

Broody hen update 4

Wednesday 27 August, 2008

by Rosemary at 9:11pm in Poultry 0 comments Add your own

I think our RIR / LS broody has given up. When I came home this evening, the egg was out on the ground, all the food was eaten and she shot out for corn. She's gone to bed in the broody coop tonight, so we'll see what she's like in the morning.

I can't blame her - I know she can't count to 21 but she must know she's been there a long time.

Any colour so long as it's red

Sunday 31 August, 2008

by Rosemary at 8:25pm in Poultry 1 comment Add your own

Some of you mey recall from an earlier post that I am determined to keep better records of our poultry flock. At the beginning of August, I carried out a headcount and committed this to a spreadsheet. I also decided to leg ring different batches of hens - as opposed to marking individual hens. Our two RIR are Mrs Red and Mrs Green, and three of our Light Sussex are Misses Yellow, Pink and Purple respectively. This doesn't really work now that we've got bigger numbers and more Black Rocks - not enough colours, you see.

Saddle Chariot - working ponies

Sunday 31 August, 2008

by Rosemary at 8:35pm in Equines 0 comments Add your own

A couple of years ago, my chum, Claire and I "broke" Smokey to drive. I put the word "broke" in inverted commas because I don't like the work and I certainly hope he wasn't "broken". To cut a long story short, all was going swimmingly until we had a freak accident and our respective confidences took a bit of a knock. Shortly after the accident, I was contacted by a chap called Simon Mulholland, who designs, builds and drives (with Henry) the Saddle Chariot www.naturaldriving.co.uk. At the time, we were going off on holiday (July 2007), and I kind of put it on the back burner. Anyway, I had another look at the website a couple of days ago and emailed Simon. He called today and we had a bit of a chat on the phone. I'm hoping we'll eb able to meet up soon.

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