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 date of this post might not be correct. Published from hard drive retrospectively.
Yesterday Becky and I both took an unplanned days leave a) because we can, and b) because we wanted to. So we spent some time in the morning digging over one of the large vegetable beds and planting our onion sets. We have bought a mixture of sets this year. Some red ones, some white ones and some shallots. the whole bundle came to about £6, and should provide us with enough onions and shallots for at least 6 months of the year. We have planted them in rows, and covered them with wire fire guards to stop the birds pulling them up before they get established. Although I love the idea of the local songbirds having really strong onion breath, I am also keen to get a crop.
A few other surprises have occurred in the first days of spring. The goose has started laying, we have collected a couple of really large eggs ready for omelet season.
Secondly the ramsons that we planted last year have established! They have popped up in our herb bed. This is both wonderful and surprising because we forgot about the bulbs and left them under our spare bed until they were less than in their prime, and then planted them on the off chance. Ramson is a type of wild garlic. It is fantastic as it has a garlic flavourless that can be used in salads and also a garlic flavour flower. Once they get going they are very prolific, so we hope to nurture them and end up with a large productive patch.
Photos to follow
The gosling is growing very well and has been outside all the day and night for about a week now, as the weather has been good. He/she avoids Lucy as she’s still a bit mean to he/she, but we’ve lost count of the number of times Pierre has grabbed us or when we (I) have fallen over backwards trying to avoid being poked at. He is enjoying being a Dad again I think and is teaching gosling all he knows about how to walk along sticking your neck out. As you can see, we have no idea if it’s a boy or girl…
Clip of the Gosling at day 2
We are now the proud owners of one very cute gosling. It is the first one we have actually managed to hatch from an egg in the incubator. It pipped internally on Sunday night and had pipped externally during the day on Monday. It was rocking the shell and peeping madly but was clearly struggling so we helped it a little last night by opening up the crack it had made to make a whole just the size of a 5p. It hadn’t made any progress over night so we gradually helped it out over the course of a couple of hours this morning having done some research and quickly becoming apparent that it is so hard to get the humidity right with goose eggs in an incubator that helping the gosling get through the tough shell is often necessary. It does unfortunately have slightly splayed legs so we have used plaster to bring them together and are doing regular bouts of gosling physio to help strengthen them. It is very chatty and lively though and seems very robust otherwise so we are hopeful! There are two further eggs still in the incubator so we’re going to leave them another day just in case. And of course the chocolatier is still steady on 4 eggs so hopefully she’ll do better than us and create a friend for this one. In the meantime we’ll happy waste time watching it and squeaking at it to keep it company.
We noticed a few days ago that two more of our ducks were getting a bit broody, and wanting to sit on eggs. One of our chocolate girls was sitting on some spare duck eggs yesterday so we decided to move her onto four goose eggs in the hope that she might do a surrogate job of raising some goslings. Geese usually sit for 28 days, so we’ll keep an eye on how she progresses, and hopefully have some baby geese in about a months time. We have decided to put the nest directly on the soil as we thinking that the extra moisture might help the eggs to develop. The last time we had success with this method was with one of our naked neck chickens a few years ago.
We are incubating goose eggs at the moment which is very very difficult. Today is day 5. We have just candeled them and as we are not seeing very much. Will look again in a few days. They have lost 5-6g in weight so far. We are running the incubator dry.