About a month ago we had a series of mink attacks which have left our poultry stocks pretty low. It has take us a while to write this up as it was really upsetting and stressful. The mink came back over a series of nights and took all of our Kahki Cambells, two Muscoveys, two chickens and our bunny Mac (very sad to lose Mac as he was a pet, still can’t talk about it much). It was devastating. Every morning we would go out and find more dead stock.
We bought and set a trap, but we obviously put it in the wrong place. Eventually I think the mink just moved on. ( Or maybe was caught by something else). We are now just left with Sheep, Muscovey ducks and our geese. We haven’t rushed out to buys lots of new stock because we wanted to be sure that the mink wasn’t coming back. Also, as you will see in the next post we have had some good news, two of our Muscovey girls have hatched large clutches of new ducklings.
This is one of the two times of year when pretty much every bit of electric fence, every bit of housing, every water and food station and therefore every animal is moved from the now a bit tired winter ground, to fresh new pasture which has been rested for a good few months.
So, following harrowing of the fresh new bits, on Saturday morning, all of the sheep were wormed and hooves trimmed as needed and then moved over to the lambing pasture, ready for the girls to hopefully lamb in the next couple of weeks. This is a mixed blessing for Rambo who can’t wait to get to new grass but is always very annoyed to find he can’t just go everywhere he likes. This is the only time of year when they are completely penned into a relatively small area, which helps us to catch and tag the lambs and check them over when they arrive.
The poultry are now all under the tree and have been split up into three areas; the geese are separated, Othello is in with the two chocolate Muscovy girls and the random collection of the two chickens, Linford, Orlando and Vita are all in together. And Mac has been moved too. And they all look pretty happy and are certainly quieter now they don’t have to defend their patches from anyone but us…
The 1st bunch of chicks this year have now gone to their new home at our friend B’s house. She has taken all 5 for now and we’ll swap out the cockerels later for some of the hens from the 2nd batch. All 7 are doing well – they’ve been in the outbuilding for over a week now and are feathering up nicely.
7 chicks hatched Sunday afternoon and into Monday. All seem pretty healthy so fingers crossed we won’t lose any!
We had the first duck egg this year right on time on the 1st March. So far, the two white girls and one of the chocolatiers are laying. One of the white girls however can fly still as when we rounded everyone up for a wing clip she escaped. So we didn’t realise she was laying until Z found 6 lovely eggs in Flo’s hutch. Luckily Flo’s not that bothered about sitting in her hutch and the weather has been ok anyway. The crow’s had cottoned on again this year though that ducks generally are a bit sporadic about where they lay, so we lost a couple of days worth as they were just on the floor. We’ve rearranged their area now though with a newly positioned next box, which seems to have gone down better. Fingers crossed the crows don’t work that out any time soon.
We separated the Orlando, the chocolatiers and the one white girl whose wings we did clip into their own area two weeks ago. Linford is in with the chickens, batman and robin and Pierre and Lucy have their own area as they were getting very shouty with everyone else now it’s breeding season. Lucy however still hasn’t bothered herself to lay any eggs…
The chicks are now around 5 weeks old and are feathering up nicely. As the weather has been good for the past week, we decided to out the. Outside this weekend. They have been off heat for the previous few days and are getting a bit big for the pen in the outbuilding. It’s taken them a while to work out the upstairs downstairs ark that they are now in but they seem quite happy to be out and about.
The chicks were moved out to the outbuilding on Sunday morning, in a hurry as I accidentally tipped their water over one of them. They are enjoying the extra space.
We also put 12 new eggs in the incubator this morning.