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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Chicken Update!

This year we went from two ex-battery hens down to one....sad huh. Ruby our third chicken was unfortunately very poorly n while recuperating died last year. A month or so ago Clara got poorly due to a crop/intestinal issue and despite the loving attentions of Nath, and our fantastic avian vet (Amicus Vetinary Centre), she had to be put to sleep as she could no longer digest. This left only Nessa who was a sad chook because chickens are flock creatures who do very badly alone. As there was no ex battery rehoming event coming up soon enough, we opted for point of lay chickens. I am a rescuer by natural inclination so I did feel guilty buying new friends, but given the urgent need for company for an increasingly depressed looking Nessa, I think in this case buying younger birds was justified.

Off we went to Merrydale Poultry who I'd read good things about on the web. They had some blue egg layers on their site I'd been eyeing up, as they were sold out I decided I rather fancied the Copper Black Marrans, and maybe a white egg layer. After a chat with one of the owners we opted for a Copper Black and a 'Merrydale Snowbell' which is a White Star hybrid. I'm told ears are good indicators of egg shell colour....more on that in a future post. The birds have been named Gracie (the Copper Black) and Isabelle (the Snowbell). We released them same day into the Eglu with Nessa. That is normally a bad strategy due to territorial chicken fights! Popping them straight in worked great for us because Nessa was so lonely and was just very happy to have some new friends. Within 3 minor comb pulling squabbles the pecking order was agreed amongst the girls and n peace reigned. Fab!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Catching up!

Oh dear, I've been very lax with the garden spring summer. There's a lot of empty ground which I feel v bad about, although I'm plotting what I could get in there, there's always time to grow *something*.

At the moment Lakers Garden has potatoes (sprouted ones left over from last year's), the 
ubiquitous rhubarb - still insane...I'm thinking as it's late in the season and there's still masses of it...jam!? Also I've grown broad beans and field beans but I can't for the life of me remember which is which...and they look the same?!...argh! The chives are all blossoming, as you can see from the top picture, and there's some spring onions in, garlic in pots and strawberries in the planter.

The leaf mold I created by bagging up the leaves on the drive has now been spread on top of the beds. I have braved the hard slog of digging out the compost at the bottom of the compost bin to supplement the planters. The bottom of it had litterally turned to soil so it was a task and a half to dig it out! In case you are wondering, my compost bin contains bokashi waste, chicken poo and nest straw, vaccum emptyings, grass cuttings, annual weeds, tea bags, budgie cage emptyings...basically anything compostable! It makes for good compost and smaller black bags. Very worthwhile and I feel like I'm feeding my own ground with my very existence. Um yeah, I sound like a total hippy!

The compost bin...I need 2 really, this one is always blinking full!
Ooo...we have new chickens...more on that very soon! I won't leave it so long from now on.