Friday, 28 January 2011

Twins and caesarean

The sheep have decided to keep us busy now. Yesterday the lovely Lottie gave birth to twins (again about a month earlier than expected) but is unable to feed them due to mastitis. Lottie belongs to my neighbour and fellow small holder (well she's a small holder I'm more of a tiny holder). So she has them in her downstairs toilet to bottle feed at the moment. Well where else do you put 2 lambs when all your stables are full of horses?

Then during the night Wensley died. I understand sheep do this...die I mean. But when they do it they do it quickly, no lingering on for them. She was found early this morning with no signs of any lambs but half her guts prolapsed. It all seemed very strange as when my neighbour tried to pull lambs out she could not find any. So we did a Caesarean (with a Stanley knife, on the side of our lane) to find out what had happened. There were in fact 2 lambs in there...but obviously not alive. Just hope the people that come to collect the body don't charge for three instead of two...we did shove them back in.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011


Not animal or small holding related at all but just had to share dh read this blog for the first time yesterday. Being new to blogging he didn't understand the nomenclature. He thought I had really gone a step too far when I started referring to him as a dickhead (dh) on the internet.....that kind of pet name is just used for home!!!!

ps I don't think any of the incubating eggs are fertile - those cockerels are obviously all show and no action. May be it's just teenage fumblings and they don't really know what to do, that's what happens when you don't get decent sex education.....ok enough.

Friday, 21 January 2011

How long til Spring?

I am feeling the January blues big time at the moment so decided to use this countdown to Spring:) Nothing to do with half my family being in the Antipodes and dh jetting off to Malaysia tomorrow or anything........GREEN!!
Did actually see first signs today - all the hens laid an egg (except the lavender araucana which has still not come in to lay). We are now down to two cockerels and 6 hens but there are 12 eggs on day 3 in the incubator.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Too many men....

......who are only good for one thing, alive.

Of the 6 chicks we hatched out last July I was confident that at least one Cream Legbar was female as you are supposed to be able to autosex them at birth by their colouring. Well either I am not very good at telling the difference between spots and stripes or one particular hen is a "pink" hen. S/he has started mounting the other hens. Another "hen" (lavender arancua) that has no obvious cockerel signs started crowing today....damn. That leaves one - Lazarus (as it reawakened from the dead at birth). We always said that all cockerels would go in the pot to save early morning wakening calls for the neighbours so we will eventually only have 1 (I hope) left.

On a plus note we must have lots of fertile eggs at the moment so I plan to start incubating some of them tomorrow. Watch this spot in three weeks......

The Buff Orpington (the one the dog got) made a very lovely Sunday roast, Monday risotto and stock. Tonight the cockerel we finished off on Sunday is going to be chicken casserole.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Feathered Frenzy

Well we've had an interesting week from the chicken point of view thAt I thought I would share with you all....sorry!

Having opened the shed to a bloodbath last week I decided to move the loudest cockerel on to death row.
Meanwhile the enormous yellow crowing "hen" started jumping every hen in sight. Not funny to carry that weight on yr back if yr just a little hen. Chuck, the white one, seemed to be the most frequent, resigned, recipient of all three cocks amours. Bit weird as she was the one that hatched them out.....eugh. Jeremy (named and owned by niece who was 2 at the time) however, was having none of it. Obviously giving her a boys name has encouraged her to think like a boy and I pity any cockerel that tries to take her on.....or should I say tries it on with her. The cockerel on death row was getting noisier by the minute....clearly thinking there is some kind of appeal system. So I put Chuck in with him for a bit of company and to give her a break from enormous yellow crowing "hen".

So on thursday I'm sitting in the cinema with bf ( the middle of the day!) when I get a phone call from our neighbor. The bull mastiff lodging at number six has escaped and is prowling the chicken run. To cut a long story short the big yellow crowing hen is no more. I came home to find it left for me at the back a human not the dog! So Thursday evening was spent with laptop, gloves and filleting knife and now we have a plucked and gutted chicken in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. However death row cockerel has to be finished off too this weekend so think I might take Bruce (said bull mastiff) for a walk through the run again!

Wild rabbit

I have decided to blog rather than send emails to you all. Please feel free to ignore me ;)
So here goes:
Monday 10th January 2011
Yesterday Lani at last caught and killed a rabbit - after three years of fruitless chasing! So we brought it home, skinned it, gutted it and we're having rabbit casserole for tea tomorrow. It was a little bizarre

as I stood in the old stable wearing gloves, knives and scissors at the ready while dh* read me the instructions off his ipad!! So am very proud of new skill, now I can kill chickens, help sheep to lamb, shear sheep and skin and gut a rabbit......oh how my life has changed :)

For those that don't know (I had to ask) dh stands for "darling husband", ds for darling son, dd for darling daughter. Nauseating I know but it keeps it anonymous and its "standard" blog nomenclature I believe.

Tuesday 12th January 2011:

I did the rabbit in the slow cooker with wine, garlic, leeks and cream. It was delicious - even ds agreed. Not in the least bit tough.