Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Monday, 29 October 2012
|Duckling with Foster Mum|
|Ducklings with Mum and Aunty chook|
|2 of our 3 tanks|
|In need to rain- dry season|
|Christmas/New Year 2011|
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Anyone who knows us, would be aware that animal welfare and an understanding of where your food comes from and how it is produced is something we strongly believe in. And have openly supported such campaigns in the past (see Food for thought page) and we try to practice what we preach in terms of animal welfare. And what we do usually brings up the conversations of what I call 'meateaters responsiblity'.
Now, I have never believed in ramming our belief down others throats, but I would as you to consider where the produce you buy has come from? And how did it get there?
Now I know its not always possible, and budgets have alot to do with purchase choices. I mean I'm guilty of it myself on occasion; something I am not proud of. But in not buying factory farmed meat some/ most of the time, reduces demand and increases demand for better conditions. Then I don't see that as a bad thing.
Now I know there are those who view meat consumption as the problem, full stop. And many beieve free range to be too expensive. But what I am asking is that you (please) take the time to watch the video and consider the changes and difference you CAN amke.
Then if your interested in making a pledge, and making a difference visit www.makeitpossible.com
Monday, 22 October 2012
This was a first for us... When I first saw this old girls back end I was most alarmed, but funnily enough I knew exactly what it was.
Matt thought it was something else, as it did seem quite servere. Although I did consider, maybe she had a prolapse- possibly due to age. As we have only had a few eggs from our 3 Indian Game hens for a few weeks. But google confirmed, she was most likely egg bound.
Egg bound birds, tend to be a result or worm infestation- which was unlikely as they were recently wormed (but they will be again shortly-just in case), genetics or age. The latter 2 being more likely for this hen. But it is when the bird can no pass an egg. This can result in death within 48 hours.
Now this was the second morningy, it looks extreme. But I video'd her to confirm. The bit poking out, is from her pushing so hard. The white/creamy liquid is her urine trying the pass the egg.
Now there were a few conflicting reports as to what you shoudl or shouldn't do. Some advising the only real option was to remove the egg manually. Other saying this was an absolute NO, NO.
As she is a flightly bird (to be honest, they are a flightly breed). So I figured handling could only make it worse and she would have been a high risk for egg breakage. And therefore possible infections.
So we resorted to making her as warm and comfortable as possible. I also read that warm water could also assist in relaxing the area. So I was prepared to catch her and place her in a warm bath, as time was now ticking on. Matt had approached the subject of whether it would be better for her or, as an older bird it would be more stress orpain. Which our interference could cause her death anyway. So maybe she would have been better, being put out of her misery. Having already lost a bird that day I was over awred by the suggestion, but had to admit it was a reallistic option.
However an hour after this video, she passed the egg and was happily sctraching around the run again.
|'Christmas Ham'/ 'Freezer Pig'- Berkshirex Saddleback|
As a weaner- Feb '12
|Christmas Ham, Smokey (our Berkshire bore) & Streaky (gilt)|
Friday, 19 October 2012
Be aware these pictures are both cute and the other is quite graphic....
Well came home to the most welcome site of 6 fluffy ducklings following mum and auntie chook.
This was especially joyous as this is this mumma ducks second attempt.
Unfortunately this joy was short lived. As we are now monitoring a young rooster who had been attacked by another young rooster. This is evidence of how brutal chickens can be.
Will keep you updated on his condition.
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
Well, we bought 'Maes-y-Delyn' last year, moving in on 30th June. But we put in our offer a few months earlier, with an long settlement term as we were heading home for a holiday.
I say a long settlement term, for those not in Queensland, you may find is strange but most house sales have a 30 day settlement. Meaning from offer to exchange of keys can be as little as a month. Now to us this was an eye opener- as those I know who have bought back in the UK, it takes at least 3 months. So a 'long settlement' in Queensland terms, was average to us...anyway back on topic.
Having fallen in love with this beautiful place and having our offer accepted, we excitedly headed over seas for a month. Usually I find returning from a visit quite hard, but on this occasion we had much to return to. But we still wanted to make it or own. To put our stamp on it.
So we began discussing farms, and places at home that had inspired us and our choice of lifestyle and the answer seemed simple... we needed a name.
We begun with names of places we liked or had some personal meaning or story. But none of them seemed appropriate. So in true Welsh tradition we begun listing discriptions and features of the block and house. We had considered and English laguage name, given many of our visitors would be and most of our neighbours are, Australian. But it just didn't seem right... it just didn't have the same feel and we felt it woul be something unique to us; there are not that many Welsh people in this town (although there are a few).
Eventually we agreed on Maes-y-Delyn. And for the none welsh speakers, literal translates as is harp-shaped field/meadow. It seemed appropriate given the unusual almost triangluar shape the overall land forms. And the boundary nearest the road does bow in a harp-like shape.
All Welsh place names have a literal translation. I am sure once upon a time they were drections ;)
So before we had set off on our holidays I had contacted a few plaque makers/ engravers. Enquiring as to costs of an authentic Welsh slate name plaque. Many were expensive, only used 'Celtic slate'; so no guarentee it was Welsh. Or could not guarentee production within the month we were home- I didn't think it was alot to ask, they had a whole month! And delivery to Australia for something of this size, weight and fragile was expensive.
And then I found http://www.celtichousenameplates.co.uk/ that turned out to be in Pencoed, not that far from my home town.
Jonathan comes from a long line of Masons in the Brecon area and his hand crafted work is gorgeous! And he couldn't be more helpful.
And his craftmanship is still creating a talking point and is mounted with pride. Representing our touch of Wales in Oz.
And the name I use for this blog too. I think it will stick, am thinking of labelling some of my home made goods with it. Not in a commercial sense, but as a mark of what we have achieved.
I hope there are other readers, bloggers out there with unusual or interesting names; either they have given thier patch or maybe inherted with a place. Or maybe how you named your blog? And what this name means to you. I'd love to hear from you.
Monday, 15 October 2012
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
We have recently introduced 4 of our 5 Old English Game cross pullets to the 'normal' chicken run, along with 3 (slightly younger, but now larger) Rhode Island Red crosses. We hatched these ladies (along with 4 males- still separated) from the Old English Game rooster I accidently bought at auction back in May.
Having happily incubated the eggs and raised the chicks. I had completely forgotten how athletic and agile (and completely frustrating) thier father had been. We had hoped that they would have inherited some of the size from thier various mothers (Australorp, Sussex, though I think some maybe Wellsumer- not a big bird)... but no such luck.
As a breed Old English Games are fantastic free range birds, if you want them to scratch for food, roost in trees and generally fend for themselves.
Personally I have 2 "poultry loving" dogs (as dinner, that is). Therefore whilst my birds, happily have free run of the rear garden when we are home (as the dogs a out the front, or inside) and have a large run during the day. Unfortunately these young pullets feel the area for the general population is not good enough for them, and continuously seek the free run of the front yard.
To date the dogs have been relatively good with them. The birds have been calm and have even followed them around. Ffion (our staffy) generally only get excited when they flap or run.
But this morning appeared to have been the massacre we had thoght inevitable. Matt had threatened to eat them himself, rather than them see the fate of becoming the dogs dinner- though neither would be pleasant, I know which would be worse.
Anyway our 'pup' seemed very interested in the far corner. So I investigated further, to find one of the colourful EOG birds trapped between the 2 layers of fencing. Clearly distressed and a few ruffled feathers, but seemingly OK. Now I would have thought the dogs could have gotten her from there, instead he proudly showed me wht they had done?
I freed the bird and returned her to the rest of the flock; checking her over (just in case). She immediately spreang to her feet and followed to the enclosure for thier normal feed.
I ten counted 2 or the 4 birds, both black ones were missing... I now feared the trail may have been 2 different crime sites.
Returning to my duties, with a heavy heart. I secured the dogs out, without thier usual treat. And set about feeding my remaining flock and pigs. As I left the shed to tend to the younger chicks (in the totally inclosed run) there was a ruffled looking black OEG pullet, happily helping herself through the fence.... So they only had one!
To my surprise, as I set off, reversing my car out to head off to work, there was the last bird; wandering around the yard, looking to return to the main (feeding) flock. Not a feather out of place!
So I assisted her over the high fence and happily left for the office. Feeling slightly guilty for thinking so badly of my gorgeous puppies. Who had obviously had some fun with then birds, but not actually committed the crimes I instantly assumed they were guilty of.
Hopefully now the young birds will have learned thier lesson, and stay with the main flock, and realise that the fences are their for thier own protection.
Monday, 8 October 2012
We also when about sourcing another bed. Not for ourselves, but in preparation of our visitors in December. So I am pleased to say, no one should be sleeping on the floor in our house this Christmas... except maybe the dogs.
Sunday was a little more farm orientated. I had a list of chores- cleaning out all the chickens was top of my list. So all old bedding and manure collected and placed in the composter. All fresh hay, shredded paper and saw dust laid for comfy roosts. Even if our young Old English Game cross hens (recently introduced to the chicken run) insist on trying to roost upon the fences or in the garden. To which I have persisted with taking them to the hen house, in the hope they will learn.
We had hoped that crossing the Old English Game with a heavy layer (like our Australorps or Light Sussex) would have made them a little heavier- less agile and possibly more docile… Definitely not the case. We have 5 beautifully marked, lean and athletic pullets, determined to do their own thing.
I regularly find 2 in the front garden, around the small enclosed run; that I usually house the young chicks (before they are big enough to join the rest of the flock). Where they were initially housed, and where their rooster siblings are still. I am hoping once we move them out, they will not want to return there. Luckily the dogs have not been particularly bothered by them (so far). Matt even called the dogs in yesterday, so that we could catch the bird; only for the birds to follow quite happily behind.
Tuesday, 2 October 2012
We had in the past, attempted a technique from a Butchery book that involved piercing the brain/nervous system through the beak, before bleeding. It is supposed to be instant, however we were unconvinced. As it was awkward and if you were to do it incorrectly, then surely you were putting the bird through more pain/stress. So we have since opted for the more direct approach.
The smallest bird was the larger of the younger birds we were raising. We still have another, which was much smaller, 2 that are still in that awkward yellow fuzzy stage- one I believe is a boy, the other could be a girl as ‘she’ is smaller. However this could purely be down to her lameness and ability to complete for food. We also kept the only other hen (other than the one we sold). Matt decided as they were our first ducklings he wanted to keep one and as she was the only girl it wouldn’t be as if we were increasing our resident numbers too much. His reasoning being the females are drastically small and he was worried she wouldn’t be carrying a lot of meat. To be honest I would have to agree, as she would have been smaller than the youngest male. So a reprieve for her at least.