Archive for May, 2011

My computer died and I lost a month

So the title says it all really and that’s more or less why it’s been so quiet here lately.  I just can’t be bothered typing a whole post on the iPod touch.  Also, winter is truly upon us; though it does not officially start here until June 1, last week we had -7°C overnight.  So not as many interesting things have been happening in the garden.  Our brassicas are looking a bit sad (I don’t think they are in a great spot I might move them) and the herb garden is dying back, though the garlic, peas and broad beans are sprouting and growing nicely.  I’m counting the days down to the winter solstice (29 to go!) so the days will start getting longer again.  It’s not even winter yet and I’m already hanging out for spring!

The three sussex chickens have slowed down their laying with the shorter days and we usually only get one egg every few days now.  This is one of the down sides of having purebreds rather than commercial hybrid layers whose tendency to broodiness and winter slow down have been bred out of them.  However I much prefer to be helping to keep increasingly rare breeds of chicken alive, so I am happy with the purebreds.

Craig the rooster started crowing a few weeks back and he and Red started having a few tiffs so we moved Craig in with the chicks on the other side of the house.  He is now king of the roost over there rather than at the bottom of the pecking order in the big pen (he was just so small compared the the enormous sussexes and Rhode Island Red!), so he is a Very Happy Boy Indeed.  I finally finished building the little chicks a secure run with a roof, which is now installed.

New run

Chicken sized door

This side butts up against the existing coop

Run with the lid down

Hanging feeder

Chicken sized door to the outside

All in place. The bricks have been replaced with latches now too.

The big pen has been in a bit of a state of flux over the last few weeks as our friend has been bringing us her boys as she is downsizing her flock.  Some are a bit small to eat yet so we are growing them out.  We’ve now eaten two Rhode Island Reds (this one, plus another a few weeks later), and at the moment we have five boys in the growing queue – another RIR, the two barnevelders, an ancona and an araucana.

RIR #3 and ancona boy

The barnie boys

Red and the two barnies

Including Red and Craig, we currently have almost as many boys as girls, but luckily Craig is the only crower, and he doesn’t crow much yet and so far the neighbours don’t seem to mind.  I dearly wish we could give them eggs for being so great about us having chickens, but we just don’t have any!

And finally, some chicken dramas recently:

  • One of the barnies ripped off a toenail/claw.  It was only half off at first and it bled a lot so he got to be isolated for a few days until it pretty much dropped off.  Incidentally, this is now the only way we can tell the two barnies apart.  This one is Barney, the one will all his toes is Fred.

Missing a toenail (don't worry, it's actually betadine here)

  • Juniper got a cut on her comb
  • The sussexes all got lice so everyone (including us in the process – ew) got to have several extra Pestene (flea and mite powder) doses.  Dusting flapping animals with a fine powder.  Not as fun as it sounds.
  • While excavating to install the new chicken run we discovered a family of mice living under the little coop.  Four baby mice were rapidly dispatched with a spade, and six more (and counting) with traps since.  This area is in the middle of a mouse plague so I suppose we couldn’t stay immune forever.

Excavating a mouse house under the little coop

Four baby mice

Well, that’s about all I’ve got time for now.  Off to bed soon, early to bed early to rise and all that – it comes with the farmer/toddler territory!

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