Wednesday 30 May 2018

Bee swarm houses itself

This is the dream scenario of beekeeping. We put a great deal of effort into checking for swarms from our hives. When one does form up, we put lots of effort into collecting it and then rehousing it into another hive. Wouldn't it be fantastic if a swarm rehoused itself in a spare hive.

That's exactly what happened on Sunday!

Monday 21 May 2018

Ladybirds galore

ladybirds May 18

There are lots of ladybirds on the meadow at Lotties Wood, next to the Whinnies where we keep our animals. Presumably they have hibernated over the winter and have recently emerged, ready to eat lots of aphids. They are much better than using pesticides!

A big hit with the students

We took 3 goats to Whickham School on Friday: Coal, Perky and Whinnie Too. This was part of a project on tackling mental health issues. 6th formers were seeing if petting animals makes people feel better. It seems it does! Hundreds of children came along and handled and fed the goats. and of course, hundreds of photos were taken by them.

Spot improves

Overnight on Tueday/Wednesday Spot's health improved. Through Wednesday she was eating, though not with her usual degree of enthusiasm. I can report however that she has now fully recovered and is making up for lost time by eating ever more amounts of grass and leaves.

Saturday 19 May 2018

Spot poorly

Spot, our 2 year old nanny, was ill on Tuesday evening. We gave her some cooking oil to try to settle her stomach but after she started vomiting, we called the vet who treated her at around 10pm. At midnight she was also looking a bit better. All this is covered in the video diary above. Also included as bits about making citrus jelly and using the incinerator.

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Hop Garden

I visited the Hop Garden on Sunday for a plant swap event. I took quail and duck eggs to swap for herbs and tomatoes. Back home and I found another hen had gone broody.

Monday 14 May 2018

Hatching eggs

hatching eggs May 18

These are the hatching eggs I bought on Friday: 6 cream legbars (the green eggs) and 6 rhode island reds. Two hens are now sitting on them.

A second hen goes broody

A second of our hens has gone broody. On Friday we bought hatching eggs to give to one bird with another 6 set to go into an incubator which we have now given instead to the 2nd bird.

Hatching eggs

One of our hens had gone broody so on Friday we headed down to Durham hens to get some hatching eggs and 6 new hens to replenish our flock following losses to the local fox earlier this year.

Saturday 12 May 2018

Video - goat school and broody hen

On Thursday I was contacted by Whickham School, the secondary I attended back in the 70s and early 80s, to ask me if I would bring some goats to the school next week as part of a 6th form project to tackle mental health issues. The students want to look at how petting animals helps people's mental health. I have agreed to take 2 kids and an adult nanny next Friday.

Meanwhile, one of our chickens has gone broody.

Friday 11 May 2018

A wrecked henhouse

The goats managed to wreck one of our henhouses on Sunday. We replaced it with one of the unused sheds.

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Self-Sufficient in Suburbia March-April

Our latest video from the word of self-sufficiency, covering late March and April: 2 hives dead and 4 chickens lost to foxes but on the plus side, 5 baby goats growing rapidly.

Sunday 6 May 2018

Hay donation

hay May 18

Someone left a pile of hay for us outside our gate. It has now gone into the hay store. It will be a useful back up for our goats - if we can't get out to pick hawthorn, leaves and grass for them due to the weather, we have to provide them with an alternative.

Hawthorn for the goats

hawthorn May 18

One of the great points about May is that there are sufficient leaves on the hawthorn hedges to make it worthwhile to start trimming the hedges to feed the goats. I made a start last week. The large branches are not yet ready but within a couple of weeks we should be able to make a start on chopping them back as well.  This is of course great news for the goats (they love hawthorn) and for my bank account (no more buying hay and carrots for the goats).

goats eating hawthorn May 18 (2)