Monday, 22 April 2013

Piggy watch and grwoing your own discussions

Well 'Christmas ham' has not come back into season; following her first season post piglets in December. As I said 3 week ago, we did see interest from Smokey (our bore). So we are hopeful that this means we have another litter due. If we are right, it should be the end of August! So fingers crossed, guess we shouldn't get too carried away, as they say about counting your chickens before they've hatched- guess the same caution should be applied to piglets too.
This news did stir some interesting conversations at the weekend... along with mixed feelings about eating some of our home grown produce. Funnily enough the veg and herbs used had a far less divisive response than the knowledge that our guests were enjoying our home raised chickens and pork. I wish we had taken the time to take photo's as it was an impressive spread- Matt is an awesome cook, and the weekend was no exception.
Yet again we had requests for the recipes to many of his dishes... something I may share soon. (If he lets me!) In other discussions one of the largest issues seemed to be either having looked into the animals eyes (having met them previously), or that we name our animals.
Now whilst we do not find the culling process easy, we do enjoy our animals both in life and death. And once you take that action, you cannot take it back... just do them justice. And whilst we name and interact with our animals, even if they are to be for the plate (eventually), we know they have had a happy and healthy life... and everyone had to agree that you could taste the difference.
Other than our feast and the associated preparations (grass cutting and strimming, house cleaning etc)  things remained reasonably quiet at Maes-y-Delyn this week. We did receive (and have since put together) our meat bandsaw and mincer- for future porkers (and other livestock). So just the cold room to get sorted (nothing too big!).
I am eagerly awaiting the delivery of my rotary hoe; birthday gift from the Matt... Cannot wait to give it a run!

And I'm afraid, a few more losses. Even though we raise poultry and livestock (as I'm told poultry is not livestock?) for food, it is still always sad to lose one without reason. Thursday our female poult passed. She had gasped randomly over the last few days. We thought it may have been that she was too warm (as she had plenty of water etc) and I tried treating her for any potential respiratory infections (using a chlorine based spray). So we're not sure, maybe she was never going to be strong enough after all she was one of the survivors of our firs incubator disaster (power went out, more than once and stopped development of almost all our eggs).
Then Sunday, following 36 hours of observation we made the decision to put down one of or female geese. As she had lost weight and was losing control and power in her limbs. It was not an easy decision, but having tried (in vein) to save our drake, who appeared to have had similar symptoms early this year. We felt it was kinder in the long run.
That and we are planning a short camping trip this week. So it would be unfair to leave our house sitter with a sick goose.


  1. Sorry to hear about your poult and goose. I have similar discussion with people as we also name our animals, but you can't really just have cow 1 and cow 2 (which would still be names in the end) you need to know which animal is which! And you can't just ignore them and feel guilty about it! All our animals have good lives and quick deaths, and taste great. Even though kill day is hard, its totally worth it.

  2. Thanks for following my blog.I've been a bit negligent with welcoming new members lately and I hope you find some things you like there. It's always sad to lose stock unexpectedly. The poult may have been weak from it's hatching experience. Did you do a post mortem on your drake and your goose as both ducks and geese are terrible for picking up items they shouldn't eat with their greediness - even grabbing small screws/nails before inspecting them if they think another fowl will beat them to the "food"? Worms is another thing that will kill them and the odd one is just prone to worm infestations - like there are children who contract head lice, no matter what you do to prevent it.
    Love your cattle as we have mostly Brahmans and Brahman cross/Murray Gray! See if your heifers like to eat citrus fruit, as a treat, from your hand as a bit of spoiling/taming can be very helpful with an animal that can reach 800kg as an adult and can be as intelligent as a horse.
    Cheers, Robyn xo

  3. Thanks Liz & Robyn.
    Liz we had refered to the cows as 'black cow' and
    brown cow' until my nephew came over Christmas, and he was not happy with that. So they are now called 'Black Betty' and Susie'.
    Robyn I have never thought of giving our girls citrus fruit, but have plenty so will try that. They will eat grass from my hand and dried molassis from a bucket, so thier reasonably tame- to me.
    As for the drake the vets kept him. And I didn't think to examine the goose. But your right as foragers they eat everything! I am reasonably confident it was not worms, as I am very vidulant with worming and treating all our animals. Though I have been considering getting some aglime for the poultry run. As I am told its good for lice if they dust bath. Not that I've seen any evidence of any, but rather be safe than sorry. Have either of you ever used this?