As usual there has been a lot going on here at slate house farm. Back in March we received a couple orphan lambs which we spent a couple of months bottle feeding. Feeding the lambs becomes a real family effort, especially when they need feeding around the clock for the first couple of weeks.
The lambs are now out in the main field with Starr,our goat, and a couple of mule hoggets, these we plan to breed with come the autumn. The lambs are named Nigella (front) and Delia (rear), both have there own characters. Having been bottled fed by hand, its taken then a while to break the bond with us, but they now have there own independence, but still love a rub behind the ear 🙂
With summer just around the corner and spring almost a distance memory, hatching here is still going very well. At the moments we have 5 broodies. The first is one of our legbar hen, she has an impressive 14 chicks with her. Then we have Tanya, Black/Red Pekin, who has 6 little pekin chicks with her. Our oldest Scots Dumpy has 2 legbar chicks and 2 Swedish Blue ducklings with her, shes an established mum at 4 years old. Lastly we two pekins sitting on eggs, our lavender pekin is sitting on a Dozen eggs from Andy Cawthray (@chickenstreet on twitter, www.chickenstreet.co.uk) and the other has a selection of my Barbu, Scots Dumpy and Light Sussex eggs. Both should hatches should start Thursday Evening.
With all these broodies its been hard to find secure places to house them whilst they sit. So Ive had a bash at knocking up some brooder houses which i use in the barn. The timber and hardware cost work out at less than £8 per unit, which i think is very cost effective. They are 45cm Wide, 45cm High and 45cm deep, put together using two triangular frames from 2 x 1 and the slating is just plan old tongue & groove. These are really only for indoor use, but if treated would be just fine outside. The door raises to allow access during the day but can be locked up at night. As you can see in the picture to the right, our lavender hen is sat fast and has plenty of space 🙂
The first our meat lambs went off to the abattoir a few weeks back, they dressed out at 29Kg a piece and were rate H3L, which as is v.good and has a large demand on the meat market. I was able to sell one to a local farmer to cover my costs and the other we have in our freezer. There is nowt like home reared meat. Our Gloucester Old Spots also went to the abattoir at the start of this week, we’re looking forward to sampling our own pork over the weekend 🙂
One thing that i love about living in the country is the wildlife, and the fact its on our doorstep. We’ve a barn owl nesting in out barn, pheasant and Partridge nesting in one of our compost heaps, rabbits and hares in our neighbours field, house martins nesting in the shed. Also living next to a dyke we have a large number of nesting Reed Warblers too, these also attracted the common cuckoo who lay in their nests. I was trying to photograph the Warblers the other say, they’re not very big and move very quickly so failed to get anything distinguishing. But whilst there i did manage to capture this little chap in the margins.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog, I welcome your feedback and comments. until next time ttfn 🙂