Category Archives: Written by Zara

Chinese Water Deer for the Freezer

I know… its really cute, but it was dead when we found it. I am the sort of person who hates wasting things, especially life.


So, if you were reading this blog a few years ago you might remember this. When Becs and I found a Muntjac deer on the side of the road in Leicestershire, and took it home and butchered it for the freezer. Well, what do you know, if it didn’t happen again in Suffolk! This time though it was a Chinese Water deer. These are really interesting little deer, they escaped from Woburn safari part  in the 1930s and now live wild in that part of the country.

So here is how the story goes;  we were driving back from a day at the seaside when we noticed a large light coloured item of road kill, Becky decided to double back, and I jumped out and wrapped it quickly in the blanket and put it in the back of the car. When we reached a safe place to stop, I unwrapped it and checked it out. It was dead, but very recently, with no signs of rigor mortise. I hadn’t really looked at its face at this point and had just assumed it was a Muntjac due to its size, but when I turned its head round, I saw that it was something else.  The really sad thing is that these beautiful deer have faces like little teddy bears, so we felt like big meanies, even though we didn’t hit it. Thankfully this wasn’t a full grown male, because they look like this ,had I turned its head round and saw that, I think I might have thought that we had picked up some kind of vampire wallaby or similar.

Anyway, skip to a day later, and I have spent the last four hours butchering it into usable portions of venison. It has weighed out about 4.5 kgs of prime cuts and mince, and then another 1kg of meat and bones for slow cooking. Even by conservative estimates this amount of venison is worth about £50 – 70. This time of year is very bad for deers, as they are so obsessed with mating that they keep running into cars. The moral of this story is keep your eyes pealed, don’t be squeamish and learn to butcher.  We will report more once we have cooked some.



How to make a livestock trailer/ How to make a sheep trailer

OK, so maybe this post should be called ‘how to make a sheep trailer using an old car trailer and an IBC. An IBC for those of you who don’t work in chemical industry is one of these. I have been thinking about a way to make my  5ft car trailer a bit more robust for times when I want to transport my sheep from A – B. We keep a small primitive sheep called Soay, so the commercial livestock trailers seemed way over the top for 5 or 6 of these little critters. I had previously used a wooden crate, but in the end that has rotted and we are currently using it as a field shelter. Anyway….it just so happened that a good friend of mine gave me an IBC…and I got thinking about the cage around the outside.

The Cage is either mild steel or stainless steel tubing, but either way it is pretty strong, so today I measured it against the trailer and realised that if I cut it half lengthways, I would be left with two large curved metal grids, perfect for the top of my trailer. Once I had used a little pipe cutter (plumbing) to cut through the frame, I mounted the two halves in long pieces of wood. I drilled 19mm holes in the wood, so the frame would slot in. This gives me a curved frame mounted on a wooden base, which I can now bolt to the trailer. I had to cut a short piece of off one of the pieces, so that I could fix them together and they would fit the length exactly, but as you can see it is almost as thought it is meant to be.


Goose Egg incubator

Our new Brinsea incubator has come. Thanks Trev. Let the goose egg incubating begin. Check out this very cool video below fir a how to!



Chick Alert

The primary project chicks are due tomorrow, but this morning I got this email. Sent high importance.



To which I replied

Soay Lambing tips

Just wandering through the net this evening and found this really great post on soay lambing.

We have been lucky enough not to need to do any of these things as yet, but I am adding this link for next year..just in case.

All six lambs are super healthy and rocketting around with mums. I have been looking at Castlemilk Moorit sheep today on the web, and am getting very interested. They look like really lovely ginger Soays, but a bit bigger, and woudl cross well with a Soay Ram, but they are a very rare breed so I’m not sure how right it is to buy a ewe with the sole purpose of crossing it.

Primary project and How to tell if a goose is broody.

So I dropped into see Sean, and picked up the 12 light sussex fertile eggs, then flew over to Rothwell Junrs and frightened the light out of class teacher with my complicated explanation of humidity, candelling and setting up the brooder. Miss Hill will be starting the project on Tuesday,so the due date will be the week before half term. As I was explaining the whole process, a little girl (in on her lunchtime) listened with widening eyes to the concept of the incubator as a mummy hen…very cute. Fingers crossed for them. I owe Sean a cockerel if the hatch goes well, he wants one to diversify his blood line. Then I popped over to my mum and dads to set them up with the remaining 5 eggs. One of their bantam was a broody as broody can be. This is really fortunate, as then if the Rothwell eggs don;t work, we may still be able to let the school brood a couple from the Banty. Meanwhile back on the farm, Becs has been busy “cleaning out the shed, after the bloody flood”, and also spotted the fact that Lucy (goosey) has become much more broody..hopefully she will decide to sit on a clutch soon. Check out the video…Pierre also makes an appearance.

Rainy April

This month has been the wettest April on record. The river is really really high, Tonight it flooded, so Becs and I rushed around to move all of the animals to safety including the new lambs.

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