Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Rain Rain Go Away

Yet another gloriously wet, squalley, windy grim day. We have just bought a run for my garden girls from which is excellent, but the garden is so wet we can't get into it to do some work. The duckies are having a ball though. There are no chickens around to bother them and the worms are turning our boggy garden ground into a duck banquet. Once the rain stops...if it ever does...we can clear the ground and put some sleepers down to act as a base for the run. It will also stop the soil that the chickens fling up when they dig from going onto my paving areas. These are not done yet so I am still doing the bogtrotting run in the morning, running round all the coops letting the girls out. The run has a full cover which can be rolled back so they can get some sun if indeed we do live on a planet which can take advantage of such a rarity. The cover will stop the rain turning their run into a quagmire on those days when they dont want to go out and get wet. Don't you think quagmire is a brilliant word? It fits what we have here at the moment perfectly.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Of Ponds and Puddles

I thought I would share a little of my misery with you all today.  The weather is still fowl. We now have two massive holes in the garden.  One from the old pond and one where the new pond is going. As the rain is still pouring down the garden now resembles one of those mud wrestling arena's (I would imagine). Walking past the new pond to get to the gate requires the sort of sure footedness of a mountain goat to get past it.  Of course we have put the soil out of the hole into a mound beside it, but in this weather it offers no grip whatsoever.  If you slip on the man-made land-slip, you end up in the large grave-like hole which beckons for the unwary. Mostly me. I am not happy. What I wouldn't give for a drought up north just at the moment.  Just long enough to be able to put the garden back together.....

If you want to make any comments to cheer me up click on the comments link below.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Slip Sliding Away

Today the weather was fowl....excuse the pun.  Really nice weather for ducks.  Talking of which, we have decided that the chickens need a run which is covered by the weather.  We have been plagued by mud for most of the winter and yet the poor chickens still don't seem to mind it.  Our current run is just about big enough for them to shelter from the rain but when it is muddy outside we like to keep them off the mud, but what do we do? We need to get a bigger run which is covered, that we can walk into without having to bend double and stop ourselves getting lynched by the various useful hooks screwed into the roof supports. Its bad enough most times but when you suddenly get cramp in your legs, there is definitely no getting out in a hurry unless you leave clumps of hair wrapped round these useful hooks and catch the middle of your back on the door. No more mud is our aim.  The bigger run ends just by the pond so this means we have to move the pond, or find some way of nimbly shimmying our way past it without falling in.  This is turning into a big job.  Today we decided that the next phase after shuffling the old run out of the way was to move the pond. Trying to dig a hole when the mud is sucking onto your wellies and the rain is seeping through your coat is no fun at all.  We got thoroughly wet through and hours later I am still cold.  The ducks loved the rain, no chickens to get in their way, and free access to all the worms that have foolishly tried to pop their heads above the soil.  Tomorrow there should be a hole big enough for the pond or maybe the husband.  Who knows?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Sons and Daughters of Blue

I have spent the last half an hour trying to cram 40 eggs into a 20 egg incubator.  These are to be the last vestiges of Blue our dear departed cockerel.  He is not actually RIP but off to sunny Widnes to enjoy life with his new harem of lovely hens. As I could not find any female Australorps anywhere to join with him, he has had to make-do with a choice of 20 or so exotic ladies in our garden.  He has mated with anything that moves actually and we have eggs from crosses of Australorp with Light Sussex, Brown Burford, Cotswold Legbar, Indian Game, and Welsh Black.  I have gotten together all my best egg layers of the bunch and put them in a bursting incubator which is using the equivalent of the national grid in electricity trying to keep the temperature and humidity stable.  This RCOM King Suro is definitely the dogs danglys.  There is never a broody hen when you need one!! I am looking forward to seeing what comes out. I shall call them Legalorps, Burfalorps amongst many other silly made-up names but a little bit of Blue will certainly live on in our garden.  I dont have the space that Jane does at Heswall Hills but I do love my hens.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Last day for Blue

This is a sad day, Blue our wonderful Australorp cockerel is going to a new home today.  I raised him from an egg and he was the only one of a batch of 6 eggs to survive.  His broody step-mother, a beautiful buff Orpington was a bit clumsy and managed to squash all the rest.  Only Blue survived.  He wore a blue band so I knew he was the Australorp and he was raised with a clutch of other mixed chicks at home.  Blue was the most attentive of all the new chicks and we got really attached to him.  If we went outside in the garden, Blue was the first one to greet you.  When we talked about them, Keith my husband always used to say it is the one with the blue band, hence he got named Blue.  Blue he was, and Blue he remained.  He is now a huge magnificent lovable creature but his crowing is upsetting our neighbours so being a garden bird, he has been rehomed.  He will be leaving today to live in Widnes with a new set of ladies to look after and it sounds lovely with a wooded area for him to roam in.  The ladies here will miss him and so will I.  I will try to be brave and not shed a little tear but I will I always do.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Worming Week

Started our worming regime today. Every 6 months a week of Flubenvet. It's a pain but it gives good results and you don't have to withdraw the eggs, which is great because if I have to tell people at work their fresh eggs aren't available I might get lynched.
Met a lovely family today. It was the mother's birthday and she was buying their first set of chickens. They had fabulous taste too. Except she didn't seem to like white chickens for some reason.
I must have one of the best jobs in the world. I meet all sorts of people, from all walks of life, but I can't say I've ever met anyone, who likes chickens, that has been unlikable.
Chicken lovers just Rock!!!!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Beautiful Day on the Small-holding

Had a wonderful day on the small-holding today. Got most of the coups cleaned out ready for the weekend thanks to my 80 year old mother. My goodness she works like a Trojan. If I had 10 of her there's no telling what we could get done. A lovely customer came and bought 4 beautiful hens to replace the ones killed by a fox. I sent Alan my husband in with the Cotswold legbars because Charlie the cockerel can be a bit possessive of his ladies. That was an excellent choice for me because Charlie flew up and attacked Alan's head whilst the amused customer and I laughed on. Charlies looking a little worse for wear with Alan's boot printed on his arse but, as with all cockerels, was convinced of his dominance as Alan was the first to remove himself from the coup.

Next job worming.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Naming Ceremony for Duckies

As I was selling my duck eggs today, I was asked by one of my lovely regular customers, "How are the duckies doing" and "What are you calling them".  I replied that I didnt know but that I would like to continue on the D theme.  My other ducks are called Daphne and Dilys, so these are going to be called Douglas because I think one is male and the other is possibly a female so she will be Dorothy.  There .... job done.

Daphne is a lovely white Silver Appleyard and Dilys is more true to the Silver Appleyard colouring.  Both lovely ducks.  The drakes are not named because they might become dinner at some stage, but one is Silver Appleyard and the other is Dark Campbell.

I must say that the Silver Appleyard is a brilliant egg layer, they started laying just after Christmas and have laid almost every day since then.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Glorious day for Chicks

Today the weather is absolutely lovely.  No sign yet of the appauling weather that has been forecast by the gloom and doomers. The chicks hatched by Julie are now coming up to 6 weeks old and are taking over the patio.  She has 14 and doesnt yet know whether they are male or female.  They are a cross between a magnificent Australorp cockerel and either a Cotswold Legbar, a Burford Brown or a Welsh Black. Some are looking quite nice.  A couple have the tell-tale crest of a Legbar but have a black mottled colouring.  Lovely.  The chicks are sunbathing on the patio as the sun comes round.  It is fascinating the way even in such a young bird they learn all the habits of an older bird without even being near one.