Sunday, 24 April 2011

Two New Recruits

I picked up these two new recruits to my increasingly fortress like hen run the other day. I think I'll call it the Henitentiary.

Anyway, these two are what's known as Goldtops. They are a cross produced by a white silkie cockerel and a light sussex hen. They really are a lovely golden colour, and are very pretty. I bought them because I was looking for a hen who might go broody fairly easily and hatch out some chicks for me, as I've found the trio of Marans chicksI've been looking after to be quite a lot of trouble, though I'm sure they'll be worth the effort in the end. At the moment the chicks are in the garden during the day, and brought back into the house in their large cardboard carton overnight. They will go outside permanently as soon as they are fully feathered, probably in about a week from now.

My Goldtops came from my new friend Niall Jones who has a lovely smallholding down near Marlborough, not too far from here, where he raises chickens, pigs, sheep and other lovely stuff, on a smallholder scale. What he doesn't need for himself he sells to help support the smallholding. More or less what I'd like to do if I had the space.....

When released from the Henitentiary, the birds have been having a great time sifting through this old compost heap, that I dug out last week. The remaining bits and bobs are just full of bugs and worms, and the chickens love it. I think I will let them clear the area of any pests and then maybe plant it up with some maincrop potatoes. It should be a lovely fertile area. 

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Raising Your Own Chicks

With all the attention I've been giving to the Robin family, the arrival of these three little chaps, or rather  chapesses, let's hope, has gone fairly unremarked. They're about three weeks old now, and looking a bit less adorable than they did when they arrived, as they are starting to lose all their soft down and grow proper feathers, which makes them look a bit tatty for a week or two. I did take a pic of them at their downy best..

- note  I gave them a pretend Mum as they were hatched in the incubator so didn't have a proper mum. I kept them under a heat lamp for the first week or so, but they seem fine in a large cardboard box by the Aga now, where they will stay until they are fully feathered, hopefully at about five weeks or so. Then they can go outside and start exploring the big wide world. 
Sadly I only managed to deliver three of the six eggs I had, - I always find incubators more problematic than a broody hen, - there was nothing wrong with the eggs I had, two of the three had died in shell and one had failed to develop. Hopefully the next lot I do I will have a broody for, and won't have the same problems. But for now I have three lovely English Cuckoo Maran chicks, let's hope they're hens not cockerels.

What with the chicks, and the Robincam it's just babies. babies, babies round here these days....

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Birth Announcement

Mr and Mrs Robin are pleased to announce the birth of several of the really ugliest little scraps you can imagine today, around lunch time, weight I imagine about half a nanogram.
I expect Mother loves them though! Click on the live link on the right of the page to see what's happening.

Young Farmers New Recruit

Thought I'd just post a picture of the youngest prospective recruit to the West Country Young Farmers - this is our grandson Brown with his two new friends. As you can see he's already got the green wellies, and the tractor - just needs a few acres now (bit like his Granny Kathy...) 

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Still Sitting Here.....

You  know what it's like at the end of a pregnancy, waiting and waiting, gets a bit boring just sitting around. I feel for Mrs Robin, not even a Hello magazine to flick through, though she does still get out and about a bit each day. My daughter says she saw Mr Robin pop in with a snack for her, but I missed that. Nice to know he's an attentive partner though.

With a somewhat vague 10 -14 day sitting period, the young robins' EDA should be somewhere from Monday onwards, so do check back when you can to see how things are going in the delivery room. I feel a bit like one of those over enthusiastic 70s hippy dads with a video camera, but in this case I feel assured that the expectant mother isn't being distracted in any way by the presence of the camera. I hardly dare say it, as it will surely bring down Sod's Law down on my head with a vengeance, but the video link seems to be working well now and is pretty stable most of the time. There's a box at the top right of the page with a play button that should link live to the nestbox camera. If you find it's saying "off air" it probably means my network adaptor has gone offline, but I try to keep an eye on it and reset when necessary.


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