Monthly Archives: July 2010

End of a broody era

Vita’s eggs didn’t hatch. We have put her back in with the other ducks and she seems to be doing O.K. We are hoping she will take on an aunty role. I have a few theories as to why they didn’t hatch. i don’t think the duck house was an ideal broody box, she had a tendency to mess in her nest, which will have poisoned the eggs i would have thought. Also the magpie got most of the eggs due to the wire gauge not being small enough. I am now wondering if either of them will start laying before the end of the summer. Orlando is already mating with Virginia a bit. I don’t think we will let the girls sit again, but we might incubate after we have been away for our holiday.

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Pig Costs

I have been doing some research and by my estimations to buy and fatten, slaughter and butcher a 140lb baconer pig will costs us around £240.

This will give us roughly 63kg of pork. If we can get 3 other sets of people to buy in to each pig the scheme we can offer 1/4 pig packages for around £60. This will give share holders 15kg of outdoor, free range, natural diet pork for £60. If you compare this to super market (untraceable) crappola which sells at an average of about £6 a kg, depending on the cut this still gives you a massive saving…the crappola costing £90.

Happy pigs, happy pocket.

Add a comment if you are in, this scheme will possibly take off in the spring next year, you may be required to feed the pig on the odd weekend, you will be required to pay up front. We will keep 2 pigs so could have 6 slots available. You are effectively buying shares in a pig.


4 hatched

4 fluffy little chicks have hatched and I think it is unlikely that we will get any more. The other eggs aren’t pipping. Tina seems very pleased and I have fallen in love with the little black chick. ( oh dear). Tins is much more laid back than the ducks and I have been able to handle the chicks. Hopefully one of them will be a cockerill and we can continue the line. Amazing, those 6 little meat chicks havecturned into another batch!

The autopop hole has stuck since it’s rained, so it’s back to the drawing board. I think I need some metal parts as the wood swells.


Tina’s first hatchling

Tina has hatched her first chick. It seems really healthy and is very much a naked neck. We are waiting with baited breath for the other 6, some have pipped, but we ar still waiting to see any more little beaks.

Becs took some nice pics to show her Grandad the progress we have made, so I am going to upload someonto here, much better quality than with my little iphone.


Automatic Pop hole opener

I have spared you the agony of reading about my millions of failed attempts at building an automatic pophole opener, because.

a) I am an enormous geek

b) It is a bit boring unless you are obsessed with chickens

c) I wanted it to work before I told anyone I was building it.

Now..credit where credit is due, the massive innovation came, in the end, from Becky’s brain…she is a genius, there is no doubt about it. However I still had to build the damn thing.

We wanted to create a device that would alow us to have lie ins, and go away for one night. These devices are very expensive in the shops, and I thought..” I can make one of those”..so I did. See the video for more details. The upshot is, it works and we are very very happy!  The video is about 3 mins long. It has an advert water mark which goes away after 1 minute. Watch out for Tasha the chickens surprise towards the end of the video.


Summer bounty

We have cleared the sugar snaps out of the poly to make room for the tomatoes. We fed the insects we found on them to the chickens and the shoots to the rabbits. We are getting some courgettes now which is great. I made a big veggi lasagne last night with our own courgettes, sugar snaps, onions and eggs.

Also the rasberries are going mad. We are getting about 0.5 kg a day. We have flash frozen a load. I have made about 6 jars of jam. Yesterday I blended a load and then sieved out the pips (which went to the chickens), the result was a nice smooth juice which when mixed with a bit of apple juice and water makes a really nice breakfast juice. I am going to try and make enough to freeze a few bottles.


Sitting ducks

This morning I went down to check Vita and unfortunately her 6 eggs have turned to 3. I sat and watched for a bit to see if I could work out what had happened and immediately 2 magpies appeared and squeezed through the bars of her run! This is very disappointing, we have shut her in for today and will sort something out tonight to stop this mugging. The ducklings should hatch today or tomorrow. Tinas brood is also going to hatch any day, so it’s all happening. The rabbits appear not to have made babies. We are stalling them until the autumn now as we don’t want tiny babies when we are spose to be going on holiday. (although we are having second thoughts about leaving the plot at all this year).

Virginna, orlando and the Indian runners have now moved in with the hens to the new area round the tree. They are herding into the shed at night with no problems.

The geese keep going upti the fence to chat to Olando, I think they miss each other, although Oli has been put on baby sitting duty by V. He is doing very well, he keeps the babies near him and keeps his eyes pealed for trouble.

One more meat bird is due to go this week. We are keeping the last 2. They are laying starter eggs now, so we are getting plenty of eggs.

The 7 meat muscovys are still in the arc in the main pasture with the geese. The geese are very protective of those babies and hiss at us when we go into the arc. They aren’t aggressive, but they have very strong patenting instincts.