Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Pigs, Roosters, Chicken day... what a weekend

What a busy weekend! Highs, lows and everything in between.
From the intended downsizing of our flock, resulting in a tasty chicken dinner Sunday night, but I will come back to “Chicken Day” separately.   We did also have a few unintended losses, but on the whole the weekend was productive.

Firstly, on the piggy front. Our “Berky” is doing really well. So Friday we separated him from Mum, to the relief of Mum. Berky has been reasonably calm during the process, though he has been following Mum from inside the pen as best he can. I am looking forward to being able to reunite them next week. I am hoping this is long enough and that he is big enough. As we intend to swap the bore over- so Smokey is to be penned for a few days, so Berky can settle a bit. And hopefully his separation will increase his interest in our other girl, who is due for season in the following few days.

Berky

Absencemakes the heart grow fonder...
as the case may be. I just think the familiarity between the two and her dominance over him appears to be interfering with our Berkshire breeding. So I guess this is my last attempt to save Streaky’s bacon! As after this, I (or she) is running out of options.
Mum enjoying her freedom
Given the success of our first litter I have updated our Pig page. I have also updated our bird related pages. So whilst I have left a ‘Poultry’ page, it is mainly in reference to how our flock expanded and generally how to get started. You may notice that there is now a Chicken, Duck, Goose and Turkey page. This seemed a little more appropriate to address the individual bird species, as our flock has
now expanded... again. Somehow, poultry seemed a little general, and the page would have gone on and on, if I had discussed our progression into each species and our intentions/ aspirations for each.

So back to  the past weekend, Friday was also the day we lost our resident Sussex rooster “Rocky”. Now in the grand scheme, Rocky was not in the list or downsizing; but vital to retain for future restocking and production... and he was more of a pet.
Unfortunately we don’t know what was wrong with him as such. He hadn’t really been himself for a few weeks; looking dirty and a little soggy. Pretty much since our first round of rain a few weeks back. But we mostly put this down to the lack of dry areas for him to dust bath. Though the girls all looked perfectly clean, though they sleep inside the hutches and sheds where Rocky roosts outside the door- almost like a guard, but asleep on duty!
Then in the week although he was still first to the gate and eating well, but he looked a little unsteady on his feet, and not quite his assertive self. So we separated him. Tried worming, just in case; though the flock had, had their water treated not that long ago. We tried sprays for respiratory infections, anything and everything we could. But he deteriorated and finally gave up, with us there Friday afternoon.
So Sunday afternoon; against the trend, we collected a young bird from another bloodline that we had enquired about over the weekend. A little quick I guess, but at the moment he is a nice looking bird. Not “working” as yet, but appears to be settling in with the hens far easier than Rocky did- at least they are letting him eat! So I haven’t had to stand guard and protect this one. So hopefully by the time he is ready, so will we be.
Sunday was also a tidy up day and rearranging of a few things.  
The reduced size Indian games and honorary member (our Old English Game cross hen- thinking a cross may produce meat birds? Either way she’s a better layer) moved into the small poultry shed, with the addition of the enclosed run (more for the OEG cross). This we placed on the currently empty (well weed ridden) raised garden bed.... this is my idea of weeding and fertilising!
This freed up the small hutch, so our young chicks that we incubated and hatched for my nephew moved from the brooder box to the small hutch outside.
So with the brooder box vacant we tidied the shed and yard... Which any shed owner would understand is not a small task.

As well as making headway with the garden, pruning the various fruit trees that we had planted last year- the surviving ones are flourishing. As is the grass, so we mowed- yet again! And made a start by clearing the veg patch, ready for replanting.