Saturday, January 12, 2013

Longer days and shorter nights.

Last years hatch, Jersey Giant pullets.
As soon as Christmas is just a memory the days suddenly seem to become longer very quickly. It is still light at five pm and the birds don't start heading to bed until five thirty, just a couple of weeks ago they were all in an hour earlier.
Nine month old Light Sussex cockerel.

The longer nights are a time for planning the next seasons growing and rearing of animals for the table.
First of this years hatching eggs, quail due around the 22nd.

 Only having one incubator we have to plan our hatching program well, the first eggs to be incubated are the quail eggs as they only take eighteen days, and we have the first ones set and due around the 22nd of Jan, we will probably follow this with a second batch of quail which will then bring us to the second week of Feb when hopefully we will be able to do the first of the La Bresse, this is of course subject to them continuing to lay .
 We need to raise quite a few of these birds, chicken is something that is so versatile and in an ideal world we would raise about forty for a years supply although I doubt whether we will be able to produce anywhere near this amount. It is not just the incubation but the brooding, it takes time and space, not to mention money.
If you are doing any kind of livestock production it is hard to compete with prices for meat in a butcher or a supermarket, but if you want to eat meat produced with good welfare standards and no GMO in the feed, you either have to do it yourself or buy from a small producer, but it will not save you money.
Whatever enterprise the selfsufficient small holder engages in there is always a cost involved, animal housing and feed costs do not come cheap, neither does fencing, and then there is the time involved, and unless you have a large bank account you have to do it yourself.

For us, where ever we happen to be calling home, our priority has always been to get the veg garden set up and we have been lucky in being able to feed our selves from the garden in the first year. It might take a few hours, well quite a few actually, but it is amazing how quickly you can establish a garden if you are prepared to put in hard graft for the first few weeks and to have a plan.
 All the nice bits can come later, such as landscaping if you have a plan and the will to succeed. There is so much information on the internet now, some of it good, some not so good, but we have always found the best way to learn is to ask other people who have done it, they have the first hand knowledge and you can ask questions. Most gardeners love to tell you how to do it.
By producing some of your own food you have food security and growing veg is cheap apart from your labour and the essential tools, but if they are good tools they will last a life time.
Tess's first bone. Yummy!
 Tess continues to be a delight, she is a perfect pup, willing to learn and please and has done nothing wrong, no chewing things she shouldn't.
 We gave her her first real bone a couple of days ago, this was taken everywhere with her, she also does this with her toys making a pile of them. She also presents her toys, including bone remains to us as a gift.
 Today she had her first round of inoculations and true to form she was as good as gold and offered no complaints. 


  1. Having a break from clouds and fog this weekend, so the days do appear longer.

    Tess is adorable! Ear scratches and tummy rubs from here.

  2. Tess is a wonderful dog. I do love the pictures of your hens. I was reading one of your old posts about making your own food for your hens, how is that working out. The organic layer pellets here run about 23 dollars for 50 pounds. I am always looking for ways to save money and provide a better quality food for my flock.
    Thanks for a great blog

  3. We're watching your quail eggs with great interest. Lovely pics of hens and pup. Thanks You!