Wednesday, 24 April 2013

D Day (dust bin day)

Anyone have trouble with there wheelie bin? Not quite big enough or bother to to get it emptied?  We have non of those niggles. Due mainly to not having a bin service. We can have a bin service, but that would entail buying a bin then delivering it to the nearest round. (about 1.5kms away). So, everything is recycled. All the plastics and cans are washed, squashed and stored. Cardboard squashed and stacked. Food waste (what there is) is recycled between Taz, Kip and Jes. Once there is a boot full and a trip to the airport coincides, its  taken to the amenity site. A fee is paid to use the site (no freebies here). Then it all starts again.
Kip is a great help, she checks everything for mice and rats.


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Another Gosling rescue

With the gosling's now that little bit bigger, we thought they would be able to enjoy the ponds more. When they are newly hatched we cover them over to make sure they don't fall in because they can't get out of deep water. So Diz uncovered one of the ponds and when the adults discovered it they encouraged the little ones in. Unfortunately once one had gone in it couldn't get out. If they are left in the water they get very tired and die from the cold, so if the parents couldn't encourage it out then we would have to help. Great, painful!!
A long handled hoe always comes in handy to flick the little one from the pond but to also fight off Bruiser! When I say 'we', I of course mean the 'Royal We', Diz went to rescue the gosling and I video'd it :-)

It might be a couple more weeks before we try uncovering it again.
PS Sorry for shouting 'Jes' at the end of the video, the little cow was digging where she shouldn't have been!!

Busy, Busy, Busy

These past few weeks have been a little bit hectic for both of us. Diz has had several requests for his tree skills, so I have been along with him to help out where I can. I have also been working at a petrol station cooking in the Deli on a Saturday and was asked to do holiday cover for the baking. So we have both been working 7 days a week for the past few weeks. Diz has been clearing fields where the digger has pulled down hedges and trees and the farmer then doesn't know what to do with the rubbish, we have been hedge trimming, tree planting, large tree dismantling and apple tree pruning. We have also been asked to plant a garden up with ornamental trees and plants, which we will give a bash but have made it clear that we are not landscapers!
What else has happened around Cloghermore?
Well the five gosling's have been creaking and groaning and are now quite plump. The seven of them now rule the field and anyone who gets in their way knows about it! One of the poor lambs happened to get too close and Spotless and Bruiser attacked it. They both knocked it to the ground and slapped it with their wings, the poor thing was struggling to get up. I had to go and rescue it which believe me I wasn't looking forward to, so after throwing a feeding pot at them they left it alone. Thankfully it got up and was begging for food again, I couldn't find a scratch on it. I bet it was a bit sore though, even it didn't show it.
Talking of the lambs, all three are growing well, two are off milk and munching grass contently and trying to stay out of the way of the geese. They are forever getting their bottoms pinched because they don't run fast enough. Jes still enjoys licking their faces and running after them, so much for stock training!

We had our first chick hatch last week, Tuft had two fertile eggs and although both hatched sadly one didn't make it. Indy, from the Indian Game pen, has settled on three fertile eggs and was due to hatch a couple of days ago but sadly only one hatched and died and the others haven't. We will get her settled with some more eggs in another couple of days and hope for the best. We have another twenty four eggs cooking in the incubator, of which fifteen are fertile.

Jes hasn't come across chicks before or protective mothers, so it wasn't long before she was taught respect and now keeps a wide birth. In the photo Kip is on her rear tip toes looking over, but Jes isn't, she is sat looking!
The chick is a cockerel, which means it is very independent. Anything white and it gets followed, poor Taz has it chasing her legs and because she can't see it (or probably hear it) it gets tumbled around. Jes has also been followed by it and is terrified of being got by Tuft so runs away, which is much better than eating it!

The hounds are all doing very well. Taz is still struggling along, more puddled than normal, but is otherwise upright. Jes has grown considerably and now towers over Kip and is catching up with Taz. Kip is getting a little fed up with Jes and snarls a lot more now, but Jes is none the wiser and carries on. Jes's training is coming on nicely, she retrieves and leaves very well, her climbing is as good as Kip's and she comes when called, well 99% of the time, occasionally she has something better to do! She always returns to the whistle though, which is brilliant especially when she is our of sight. She can't be trusted in the house on her own yet though, so far we have been lucky and only had a few things chewed, tops of wellies, one crock, a jumper and a dog bed, otherwise she sticks to her toys. She has nearly outgrown her house cage so we will have to start trusting her soon. She is lovely and is certainly my dog, but probably because I have spent more time with her. She is very good natured and seems to have the same temperament as Taz, which will be great. Her and Taz get on brilliantly and Taz spends time with her (when she's upright), which Jes enjoys. Such a different story to when Kip arrived.

The rabbits are getting bigger and seem quite happy in their house. Jes likes to play with them through the wire, we have watched her lay on her back with her legs in the air and her nose pushed through the wire and Moss goes over to sniff her nose! She's going to be a great rabbit catcher, isn't she!!!

I think that is about it for now. I hope you're enjoying the blog, which is surprisingly viewed all over the world including Cambodia, Malaysia, Russia and many other places. Love to know how some people found us. Thank you to those of you who have signed up as a follower, welcome aboard.
Take care.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Gosling watch 2013

Tuesday 9th April
Well five it is. Once they had moved far enough away from the nest we removed what was left, 3 un-hatched eggs and 2 dead gosling's. Sad, but five is plenty. It's not long before they are getting into trouble. One got into the pond but couldn't get out and then they all found their way through the polytunnel fence and didn't want to get back out. The best way to deal with naughty gosling's is a long handled hoe, they can be safely lifted out of ponds, safe for us not the gosling the adults get very aggressive you know!! When mum, dad and the little ones go for a walk everyone stays out of the way, the lambs didn't know what hit them, it was 15kg of hissing aggression!
For the next few weeks we will spend the majority of our time rescuing gosling's. The adults will sound the alarm when it's time to spring into action!

Monday 8th April
And they just keep coming, five this morning all fluffed and off for a drink and a feed. We can see a dead one on the nest and another cracked egg, but who knows what will happen today. She is back on the nest, so we will wait and see. Until she comes far enough away from the nest, it will be impossible to tidy the nest up!

Sun cont....
Then there was four. The evening feed provided a glimpse of another gosling. She quickly returned to the nest so there may be more yet. We will have to wait for the morning.

Sunday 7th April
Well the waiting is finally over and we all gave a sigh of relief, especially Bruiser! This morning, when Diz went to open Spotless's nest there was a lot of unusual activity, she hissed before he had even got to the nest door and when he opened it she got up and repositioned herself always hissing. Diz could hear additional noises and then she showed them to him.
Three little yellow gosling's, all looking fluffed and healthy.
Spotless really needed to get up and stretch her legs and get some water, as she hasn't been off the nest for two days, the gosling's would have been fluffing up and therefore she couldn't leave them.
It was a fleeting glance, they all had a short walk and then they were back under her on the nest.

Bruiser also heard the 'goings on' and came over to have a look and a chat with his new family. He instantly went into protection mode, so we stepped well back and didn't crowd them. We have closed over the field gate so the lambs don't get too close, but the chickens are a law unto themselves. I wish them luck. Spotless still has seven more eggs, but whether they will continue to hatch we don't know and neither of us are brave enough for a closer look.
As some of you will know from previous years, even though they have hatched, there is still a chance they don't live past the first week, getting squashed, cold or drowning. So goose watch will continue for the next few days.

Saturday 6th April
Spotless hasn't left the nest for the past two evenings, which is an encouraging sign. We still haven't seen or heard anything, but they can take a couple of days to break through the shell and then a day to fluff up. Keeping our fingers crossed.
Keep you posted.

Thursday 4th April
Spotless has continued to come of the nest and nothing has happened to the eggs. I checked the nest again and found that instead of the 9 eggs I thought she was sat on she has 10 eggs, which will probably effect the hatch date. So we will have to wait and see.
Keep you posted.

Tuesday 2nd April
Well it's that time of year again and we are always asked, 'have they hatched yet?' Spotless has now been sat on her eggs for 28 days, so hatching is imminent. A gosling can take several days to finally burst out of it's egg so we can only wait and see.
She came off her nest tonight, so I bravely went to investigate the nest for any signs. Diz kept watch on Bruiser and Spotless  to make sure they didn't sneak up on me while I had my head in the box. The eggs were uncovered which is unusual and the first egg I checked was cold, not a good sign. The next couple were warm so panic over. There was no sign of cracks in the eggs, the first egg I couldn't hear anything the next one I think I could hear movement so fingers crossed. I left the nest then, as I got too nervous and didn't want to disturb things too much.
Keep you posted.
Stella xx

Legs and Shoulder arrive

Introducing Leg's and Shoulder our final two lambs, 3 week old Ram and Ewe picked up last night. They have settled in well with Chops who I think was pleased with some four legged company, although he wasn't so keen to share the milk. They are Suffolk crosses, had a bit of a rough time getting this far, but hopefully will develop well over the next few months.

Chops has become a bit of a pet over the past couple of weeks and even sat on my lap yesterday enjoying a bit of a fuss.

They have taken well to the bottle, but it will take them a couple of days to start running round the field, I'm sure Chops will show them the ropes. I notice some of the trees have already been nibbled, which won't please Diz!
Chops is a cracking size already, so hopefully he will be ready for the freezer sooner than the other two. We just need the grass to start growing so they will get big and fat and tasty. Grass fed makes for a tasty lamb.

Take care all.
Stella xx

Monday, 1 April 2013

This week at Cloghermore

Hope you've all had a good Easter weekend.
Even though it's been bitterly cold and has snowed on and off we have been able to get a lot achieved this week. Diz hasn't been working in the forest, which means some of the important jobs that have been put off can now be tackled. The much needed fence to stop the chickens wandering into next doors field and to stop unwanted visitors popping in for a quick snack was finally erected.
Diz cleared all the undergrowth and hedging that was in the way and had to dig half the bank away in one spot to accommodate the fence. Posts were put in and the wire started to go on. I reminded Diz that the chickens needed to be on the right side of the fence instead of spread across the field! So I encouraged them back with the promise of grain and counted them to check they were all present and correct. Quick cup of tea and the rest of the wire went up, but.... yes there is always one, she had wandered back over to the field. So she had to be lifted back over the fence.

Now this side is up, there also needs to be one along the road side at the front, another favourite escape spot. That's a job for the next day.
When it was time for the evening feed, I called the hens and guess what, yes, four were on the other side of the fence! Couldn't believe it. Not sure how, but I suspect they went over the front and down the side. They didn't do it again though as they panicked they couldn't get back for food!
The front fence was put up and so far no chickens have escaped.

We have finally had a bird go broody this week, a regular, Tuft. She has been a fantastic mother in the past so a pleasing choice. Tuft has been put into a box nest in the shed, dark and quiet. She was initially given 8 golf balls to sit on to ensure she was ready for a brood and was then given two eggs from the incubator that are fertile. We have not been very successful so far with fertile eggs, the weather is causing havoc with our birds. If the next batch has more fertile eggs we will swap her two for a larger number, as mother reared chicks are far easier than artificially reared. We would normally be on our second batch of chicks by now, a very slow year.
Tuft settles into the routine of lifting her off the eggs in the morning and then covering the eggs to keep them warm while she feeds, defecates, drinks and has a dust bath. When she is ready she clucks back to the shed and flies up onto the table to settle back on her nest. We lift the cover and she settles straight back down. Easy.

While Diz was sorting out the fence, I took the opportunity to rebuild the bonfire that has been waiting since last year for some dry weather. By the time I had finished it was more like a very large habitat pile. Just needed to ensure there was no chickens in the middle of it when the match was put to it. The following morning while the ash was still hot the chickens took advantage of 'dust' and were soon spreading it around and enjoying a good dust bath. There was the occasional flutter and quick movement as they found a hot bit, but otherwise they didn't care. Don't blame them it was freezing out!

You may have noticed we are still without pigs so far this year, well finally some good news, they are on their way. They were born a week ago, so will be joining us in another 5-6 weeks once they have weaned. I am very excited.

Yesterday, we had a cheeky, unwelcome visitor. Mr Fox is sniffing around. We lost a Rhode Island Red (RIR) hen a week ago and had no idea where it had gone or how. Then while I sat looking out the patio window, there he was running along the fence in the field and stopped off at the Indian Game pen. It was seconds before the dogs and us were out the door and hot footing after him. He was long gone with the chaos that followed. Kip screeching with excitement but not knowing why until she eventually picked up the scent. She couldn't chase after the fox as Jes was hanging off her even more excited because everyone else was. Diz and Kip set off across the field to pick up the scent while I dragged Jes back, but nothing. Then half hour later he was back, the alarm call went up from the chickens as he tried to come in from the side, but the new fence stopped him, phew. Kip and Diz out again but he was long gone. Then an hour later another alarm and this time the cheeky thing was sat in the front garden watching. Kip was with me and off we went but again nothing. Diz went to fetch the rifle and now we are on fox watch, but it hasn't been back... yet. He will be just a matter of when. Keep you posted.

Well that's it for this week, I think. Next week we are on gosling watch as Spotless is due to hatch. We have left them to it this time and are waiting with anticipation. It's Bruisers first year and we don't know if he is fertile. We don't know if this weather is going to effect their eggs either, so we are nervous. We just want at least one for our Christmas dinner. We'll let you know.

Take care all
Stella xx