Theodore Roosevelt can be quoted as saying “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. I feel with is apt for us smallholders, allotmenteers, veg patch growers, chicken keeper etc etc. Quite often we can bite off more than we can chew, I know this is very much true of me. We’re now in out 18 month as small holders and having many many breeds of poultry I felt that maybe I was growing to fast and not able to give all the birds the attention they needed. So I have said goodbye to a few breeds, I hope this to be a short term change, but one I need to, given time and feed costs etc. So I sadly said good by to the La Fleche, Barbu d’Anver, Sicilian Buttercup, Salmon Faverolle and Croad Langshan. All stock have gone to new homes around the county. My focus for the rest of this year will be with bantams, especially the Dutch Owlbeard.
Surprisingly Lucy our Pilgrim goose is still laying an egg almost every day. She has been laying since early February. The average goose will provide around 30 eggs a season and shut up shop late April to early May. I’ve has over 40 eggs so am really impressed. Sadly though the fertility has not been there this year. Lenny the Embden gander hasn’t been overly active but this is only his first season.
The Lambs have been separated from their mums and are doing strong by themselves. There were a couple of days/night of lambs and mum calling for each other, but they soon settled and are putting on weight well in their own paddock of fresh grass. Missty (British Toggenburg Nanny Goat) has said good bye to her three offspring. We said goodbye to them last weekend as the headed to the Scottish borders with their new owners. We still have Willows two kids left. I have not managed to sell them yet, and am now debating on keeping the nanny for breeding and the wether to raise on for meat.
The Oxford Sandy & Black weaners will be ready in the next 6-8 weeks to go off for meat. We have the 4 weaners, I haven’t decided 100% yet, but I think we will keep 1-2 of them for breeding and raising our own weaners 🙂 time will tell, nothing is set in stone. I knwo my kids would love the idea of some piglets.
On the grazing front, I have had trouble in one of my field with nettles and thistles, to the point they are occupying 30%+ of the grazing. After consulting a local farmer, they suggested a product called Graze-On. Its not cheap about £50 for 1 litre, but 60ml makes up a nap sack and that treated the field (1/3 acre). Its selective on plants, and the land is safe to graze on again in 7 days. I’m not a huge fan of chemicals, but with such a large problem it seemed the most sensible solution. If other have used this product or have alternatives it would be nice to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org
The poly tunnel is looking great, as are the fruit cages. Tomato’s, Cucumbers, Squashes, Beans, spuds, Chard, Carrots, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Onions and more are growing well. I am hoping for a bumper crop this season, time will tell. I have been late starting with the veg, not out of choice, out of time, but I think its paying off in the long run given the winter/spring we have had. The orchard has been in full bloom. A couple of fruit tree’s we purchased last year from Homebase (2 for £20 deal) haven’t survived, wood all dead. The stock I got from fruit tree specialist are thriving especially the Damsons. It just goes to show you what the deals are, I might as well of burnt £20.
On the wildlife front, we have been lucky to have some bird using one of the nesting boxes, the kids and I built when back in bexleyeath. I have not be able to determine yet exactly what kind of tit is using it, but there are some eggs inside 🙂 . We also have some swallows building a nest inside our duck/goose shed. they started a couple of days ago, but are making good progress 🙂 have a look below. Swallows Nest
Before I go, something I should have mentioned when speaking of poultry, but I have 6 Indian Blue peafowl eggs in the incubator. All 6 are fertile and are due to hatch on the 15th June, so ill have news on the hatch in my next blog. Until next time all the best and thanks for taking the time to read :)…. Andrew