Tuesday 24 April 2018

Video - spring food for the goats

We are far enough into spring for there to be sufficient grass and leaves to pick for the goats. This usefully reduces our feed bills.

Video - the lambs arrive

This was filmed on Friday: the arrival of the two lambs were were looking after over the weekend.

Sunday 22 April 2018

Lamb sitting

lambs Apr 18 (2)

We are lamb sitting this weekend. A friend of ours is on a weekend break and asked if we would look after her two bottle fed lambs. They arrived on Friday afternoon, are very tame and friendly and drink lots of milk. I had feared that the goats would bully them but they have all been fine, other than one incident tonight when Georgina pushed them away from the grass we were feeding them. The lambs go home tomorrow.

lambs Apr 18 (4)

Friday 20 April 2018

Sunbathing goats

goats sunbathing Apr 18

Yesterday was the hottest day in April for 70 years. The goats were enjoying the weather. At last spring has arrived.

Apple crumble

aple crumble and cream Apr 18

There is something decidedly decadent about apple crumble and cream for breakfast, but needs must! The crumble included some sweet mincemeat that needed to be used up. Sadly, the cream was bought from a supermarket. Had Pinkie been alive, she would have been milking her and getting loads of lovely cream.

Lamb chops

lamb chops Apr 18

We used a bit more of last year's lamb recently. Lamb chops - very nice.

Bee update

This is a quick update about our bees. It seems 4 hives are relatively strong but the swarm hive is not looking good.

Monday 16 April 2018

Grass for the goats

We are at last getting some warm, dry weather so I have been able to pick grass for the goats. Free food!

Wood chip to dam the floods

We have had lots of rain recently. The ground turned to mud. The hen house, duck run and goat house were swimming in rain water. But in the neighbouring woodland, work had taken place on the hedges and the a large amount of wood chippings had been left to rot. We have given them a new lease of life soaking up the mud.

From garden waste to goat food

I bumped into some builders ripping out the privet hedge from a garden in Sunniside last week. The result was a large quantity of goat food delivered to our livestock allotment.

Friday 13 April 2018

Poorly Perky

Perky, the baby goat we are raising by hand, was poorly yesterday. It meant we had an emergency visit to the vet to make.

Thursday 12 April 2018

Using the chainsaw

We had a break in the wet weather on Sunday so we took the opportunity to use the chainsaw to chop logs to increase our fuel supply in the year ahead.

Quail egg salad (again)

quail egg salad Mar 18

We had another quail egg salad recently as we tried to use up the remaining quail eggs from last year.  As the quail are now laying again, we have decided that the four remaining boxes of eggs from 2017 will be fed to the chickens in their mash.

Little and Large

eggs little and large Mar 18

Egg production is increasing, despite the loss of our 4 best layers to foxes. We had an interesting couple of extremes recently. A rather small egg laid on the same day as a super-sized one. The hen must have felt it when she popped that one out.

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Is Coal pregnant

goats Mar 18 (3)

The billies were getting a bit frisky recently with Coal, the smallest of our nannies. She was born last April and had shown no signs of being pregnant. That was until recently when the boys were getting a bit excited. If she had come into heat, it will mean babies in August. We await developments.

Veggie shepherds pie

bean shepherds pie Mar 18

Our friend Richard has been seriously ill over the past year and has now moved into our house so that we can be his carers. He is a vegetarian so the number of veggie meals we are having is increasing. Recently we had a bean shepherds pie. Alas, we did not produce the beans ourselves but the potatoes were home grown. We also added a small quantity of very strong and mature goats cheese we made a couple of years ago.

Lamb curry

lamb curry Apr 18

One of the lamb shoulder joints was taken out of the freezer recently. We roasted it and then stripped it. The meat went into a very nice curry tonight.

Talking of lamb, our friend Jo, from whom we got the lamb last year as a thank you for taking 3 of her lambs to the abattoir in our land rover, has just got a couple of recently born lambs that she is raising by hand. We will be lamb sitting for a couple of days shortly.

Chicken curry

chicken curry Apr 18

The meat from the 4 chickens killed by a fox recently was successfully rescued and made into a chicken curry. There was so much meat that some of it ended up in the freezer.

Thursday 5 April 2018

Lost to the fox

chickens killed by fox Apr 18 (1)

Some sad news to report. Last year we got 5 blacktail chicks and we raised them as part of our annual stock replenishment. They started laying earlier this year and were pumping out eggs at a prolific rate. Instead of roosting in the henhouse, they adopted the small shed in the duck run. As the run was netted off each evening, the hens and ducks were safe from the foxes. Except they weren't. A fox found a small hole in the netting on Monday and killed four of the five hens. One got away. I found her in the goat house in the morning. The fox chewed off the heads of the hens but left the bodies. The same fox also got into the chicken run on the neighbouring allotment on the same night and killed all 8 of the chickens.

This loss is significant as it will put a noticeable dent in our egg production. We will have to replace them with point of lay birds which will be expensive.

The dead birds were brought back to the house. They cannot be wasted. As they were killed by a fox rather than died of illness, we could pluck and gut them and use the meat.