Monday, July 16, 2012

New ducks and meat for the table.

We aim to be as self-sufficiency as possible, Sunday dinner was entirely home produced, chicken, potatoes, broad beans and cabbage, I like to think that one day we will eat like this everyday. The chicken, or rather rooster was one of four that we slaughtered on Saturday, one of the Light Sussex, it was full of flavour as chicken used to be and tender. The veg were straight out of the garden, so very fresh and tasty.

Knowing that we will be slaughtering our own poultry in the future I thought it might be a good idea to buy poultry plucking fingers, I found them on Ebay and all you need is a good electric drill to fit it into, the end needed a arbour welding onto it and our local garage did this, free of charge. The result was a chicken plucked in less than five minutes. Cost, just 33 euro, good value.

Our home made yoghurt is now perfect, just by adding a spoonful of double cream to the milk, success every time, it now costs us just 1.98 for two lt of Organic yoghurt instead of 6.80 for the same amount of shop bought, it's so much nicer as well.

I have always wanted an excuse to have Indian runner ducks, I think they are so comical, they seem to march around like little solders. After reading up on them we decided that they might help us in the battle of the slugs. Simon has been out night after night killing slugs, anything from 100 to 300 hundred a night, they certainly seem to like our veg, so yesterday we picked up four from the person we had bought our last Muscovy's from, they are about twelve weeks old , and real cute. They watched while a hole was dug to insert a half plastic barrel for their pool, as soon as it was filled they were straight in. I've been down to them three times today, each time they have been lazing around in the pool, so it meets with their approval.Although ducks dont need water to swim in they do need to have sufficient water to submerge their heads, a ducks sinus very easily becomes blocked, especially if you are feeding them pellets or grain both of which contain dust particles, they also need water to help the swallow their food, in the wild they would be gathering food from the bottom of a pond or river. Not too much dust there!.

Our baby Muscovy's are now in their outside run and they seem to like it, we still have a lamp in the house for them as the nights are chilly and they are only just over two weeks old. One idea that I came across on a poultry site was to use a paint tray as a bath for very young ducklings, this seems a very good idea as it is easy for the little ones to get out of and no fear of them drowning or becoming water logged. Although they have only been outside for a day, this morning as soon as they were let out they were straight in for their morning splash. Ducks are so cute, and I'm finding them far more interesting than hens. We are hopeful that our two broody ducks will hatch their eggs OK, they are due now, so the run has been netted around against the drake and wild birds, we are keeping or fingers crossed.

Many people are saying there are no butterflies or bees around this year, we have no shortage of bees and have four different types that visit us, i woundn't expect to see honey bees as there are no hives a anywhere near us, we also have butterflies, but not as many as we would expect, in the last few days I have seen gatekeepers, small whites and a lovely tortoiseshell enjoying the sun on a Calendula flower, the bees and hover-flies also seem to like this plant.

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