Thursday, 23 July 2015

Another broody!

Yes, we have another broody!

This is our 4th - the first successfully hatched 3 chicks, the second 5 chicks and the third just two.

In between times we hatched out a big batch in the incubator. 15 hatched, and 11 have survived so far!

Trouble is with broody number 4 is that our eggs are no longer fertile as we had dispatched the cockerel, so a quick shout out on our local Devon Smallholders Facebook group and I found someone local who had some hatching eggs. So, a quick dash up to Woolsery and I bought 5 french maran eggs. The lady I bought from said that a broody will sit on an odd number of eggs, so I couldn't have six, I had to have 5 or 7, so 5 it was!

Who knew!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015


Blooming animals are forever picking up ticks - just found a fat juicy one behind one of Lladdies ears. The 50p tick remover that we invested in several years ago has well and truly paid for itself. I think this year that is Lladies second, Gizmo has picked up four, Pepper one and Hilda the cat has picked up three.

Luckily though, no humans have picked up any - always wearing boots or wellies and jeans, very rarely have any bare skin showing. If you do get bitten by a tick be aware of Lymes disease - Many people with early-stage Lyme disease develop a distinctive circular rash at the site of the tick bite, usually around 3 to 30 days after being bitten. This is known as erythema migrans. Follow the link to the NHS website for further symptoms and as long as it is picked up early it is treatable.

However, it doesn't appear to infect the animals - it is just an irritant whilst it sucking their blood.

Monday, 13 July 2015

We have rain..

In fact we have loads of rain, the type of rain that gently comes down and soaks everything. It's good because it soaks into the soil instead of running off and flooding places, it's also good as we fill up our water butts with, in some case much needed water. It's also good in that the vegetable plot won't need a good soak for weeks, but....

It's not so good, because it is summer, and we need sunshine to ripen my tomatoes, amongst other things, so please can we have some more sunshine!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Two's company, three... a crowd.

Until recently we had 4 dogs and with the recent passing of Cookie, our 14 year old Samoyed, we now have just three.

Lladdie & Gizmo (a border collie and a springer spaniel respectively) are both three years old and have plenty of energy and while they do not always get on, do play and race each other around our fields.

This chap ...

Pepper, our 10 year old springer X is feeling a bit left out - poor thing. He misses Cookie dreadfully as she has been there all his life until 2 weeks ago, and he has no one to play with.

I actually feel really sorry for him!

Friday, 3 July 2015

I think we are winning the war against rats... least in the meantime!

This warm weather has seen an explosion in our local rat population. Whether we like it or not rats (and mice) like to live close to us humans as we regularly leave food out for them to eat. Whether we feed the wild birds, leave cat food out for the cat, or drop some rubbish near our bins, all of these things attract rats.

In our case, it's our chickens!

There has been the odd hole appear in their run (they have a large outdoor run, some 40 metres by 20 metres) but this summer they seem to have multiplied out of control.

They didn't seem to like the poison put down for them in the run and seem to avoid going anywhere near the bait stations. The rats then seemed to build a nest in one of our clumps of pampus grass which is just outside the chicken run and we seemed to have two populations, so something had to be done.

We changed the bait in the bait stations, we moved them closer to the pampus grass, the dogs got a few as they seem to be very bold in coming out to scavenge, and a friend in the village lent me their air rifle. Yesterday we had someone come around and remove the pampus grass, and that seems to have reduced the numbers still further.

A few dead rats have been picked up and disposed of - Pepper managed to kill a rather large one last night - but the sight of them scurrying around when we go in to feed the chickens has stopped. phew....

I didn't manage to shoot any with the air rifle, I am obviously a bad marksman, but I got close a few times and that scared them.

Our baby chicks are safe as they are small enough for a large rat to decide to have for tea!