Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The ducklings

We are glad we left the two remaining eggs in with the duck as one of them hatched, so out of the twelve eggs that she had sat on so patiently she hatched eleven keeping our average hatch to over 90%. She is a very proud mum but not the lest bit aggressive towards us or even the other ducks who all came to investigate the new comers thought the wire, somehow one of the drakes managed to get in with her today and was very protective towards them. however we are taking no chances with him so he has been removed.

Much earlier in the year we made three living igloos for the hens and ducks, I thought it would give them a bit of interest plus shelter for them in the runs. These have worked and grown very well, the light Sussex spend a lot of time in theirs, we have one in one of the duck runs and they also make use of it. We moved the run of our twelve week old growers today and included one of the igloos in the run, they lost no time in making it theirs. I will make a couple more either this winter or early spring for a couple more of the runs. I have also made several water proof feeders for the hens, all that is needed is the large water bottles, 5lt size, in the side I cut a three sided window, leaving the top piece attached to act as cover to the entrance, this is held in place by a peice of string, these bottles come with a handle at the top so they are easy to attach to a post or the side of the house, no more spoilt food and the wild birds have not come near. Cost? Ten minutes work with a pair of scissors.

The garden is now looking organised, our last helper did a wonderful job weeding and we showed her how to make a raised bed. She had come to us to learn about organic growing although she had no experience she was a quick and willing learner, she has a group of friends in Spain that would like to grow organic veg for sale, all of their jobs are under threat and she was on a fact finding working holiday. If they are all as hard working and enthestic as she is we feel sure they will succeed. It is amazing how much more work gets done with just one extra pair of hands, the fruit bushes are now protected from weed take over, and hopefully with more raised beds to come and letting the ducks free range the veg plot we might stand a chance against the slugs next year. We have planted some perpetual spinach in the new bed hopefully to take us through the winter. It will soon be time to get the bare earth covered, we have already received our first seed catalogue and it's time to order the onion sets, a reminder that the year is getting on.

The blackberries are ripening in the hedgerows so it's time to go on a foraging trip, and it will soon be time to look for mushrooms.

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