Monday, July 9, 2012

Chickens and Ducklings

Maybe it's the novelty, but I am finding ducklings far more endearing than chicks, we ended up with just six ducklings from the incubator as we now know it is not working correctly but the six that we have are lovely, they are far more responsive than chicks. Today they had their first waddle, I gave them a slightly larger drinking bowl, with out the marbles in it, they thought it was wonderful, first dipping their heads under and then plunging straight in. They still have the electric hen in with them so were able to dry off without catching a chill. In a weeks time I have to take them off heat and the week after they should be going outside. This is the last hatch that we will do in the incubator this year so hopefully I can get it serviced and running properly for next season. It will still have it's use during the winter, making yoghurt.

Making our own yoghurt is something we have done for years but since our return to Ireland none of the batches had worked out, I had tried every brand of so called live yoghurt as a starter, and four different brands of milk, so what was going wrong? Well it turns out that milk is being so diluted here it just does not contain sufficient fat or protein, eventually I found a full fat yoghurt recommended by someone on a poultry site, I added a tablespoon of double cream to the milk and hey presto, lovely thick yoghurt again at a fraction of the cost of shop bought.

Our keyhole garden is working out well. everything that I had sown has germinated well and so far the slugs have not discovered it. I think a second one will have to be made.

Our last batch of chicks are now outside and doing well, eight la Bresse four Jersey Giants and two light Sussex. It's amazing how quickly they grow once they are outside.

I have found four beautiful rambling roses in the hedge in our drive way, these are an incredible colour and the perfume is truly amazing, I think it is best described as a damask rose, I will take lots of cuttings in the Autumn, we just could not have too many of these beautiful roses around. Our sweet peas are also doing very well so the house is never short of perfumed flowers.


  1. Have you seen this?

    Regarding yoghurt - my first couple of batches were fine using semi-skim. But lately they´re all runny. Should I be using whole milk? I usually just save a few tablespoons from one batch to make the next.

  2. Loved the video, that's what I mean about responsive.
    As to the yoghurt we have always used whole milk, we have also used goats milk and soya, In Spain we used the organic milk from Eroski and a small pot of Eroski's own yoghurt as a starter, the pot that has a green clover leaf on it, it was very cheap.If you want to continue using the skimmed milk you could try adding a table spoon of milk powder to it, I assume you can buy this in Spain although it would not be something I would have looked for.We did two batches side by side this time, one with the double cream in it and one with the dried milk, they were both thick but the one with the cream was a smoother texture. We normally would use some of the previous batch to start the next one, but we would only do this three times,it's easy for it to become contaminated, then we would start again from scratch.