Thursday, 5 May 2011

Another quick update...

Since the last post where two of the new duck eggs had hatched, we've had three more hatch!

The first two that were a little bit poorly have pulled through incredibly and you would never know that anything had been wrong.

We still have another three eggs in the incubator that have pipped, one that I think sadly died a while ago (as didn't look alive at last candling on Day 25) and one other that could or could not hatch.

But for now, here are some photos of the new babies

No.1 and No.2
No.1 and No. 2
No.1 and No.2
No.1 and No.2
No.1, No.2, No.3 and No.4
Group Photo

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A quick update

Just a quick update so you don't all think I've fallen off the face of the earth!

So, 5 weeks ago today, Duckie's a reminder of what he looked like

then I went to a Poultry auction and got he/she some little friends

Well this is what they look like now - 5 weeks on

Duckie always seems to be posing


Also, 5 weeks ago tomorrow (Wednesday 4th May), these little ones hatched out (The Fuzzbutts)

Here is some updated photos of them

This is my favourite - I pretty certain it's a boy!  He likes to jump on your hand and I'm sure would be quite happy to walk around sat on my shoulder all day like a parrot - a real character!


Today a couple of the eggs from my last post (see here) hatched - they have hatched early and consequently are a little poorly, they are getting stronger throughout the day though and so I'm hoping they're going to put through, can't get a good photo of them yet as they're still in the incubator and I'm leaving them there as long as possible but here is a tiny glimpse

Plus two more eggs have pipped (that where they've started to break a hole in the shell), they are due to hatch tomorrow so their timing is spot on - fingers crossed for the rest to hatch ok.

More photos to follow soon x

Monday, 11 April 2011

New ladies in the house

So, if you read the post about Phoebe doing a runner (here) you'll know that Rachael has been on her own for a little while now.

She's been quite lonely, and very noisy, husband has been worried about the neighbours (not that anyone has complained and she's still quieter than the seagulls) so we thought we'd try and find her a friend.

Holly (step-daughter) has been volunteering at the local RSPCA as part of her Animal Management course and every Sunday she's been coming back with stories of the different animals in their care.  A couple of weeks ago she came back telling me about some "white with black bits" chickens that had arrived there (Light Sussex to you and me) so on Friday I dragged husband to the centre to see what they had.

Well, there were some Light Sussex hens with a cockerel and a random speckledly hen that all had to go as a group, we couldn't have them obviously as cockerels are a no-no and there were just too many of them.

They did also have 3 brown strays, they appeared in someone's garden overnight and hadn't been reported as missing so werw available for re-homing.  We didn't really want to have 3 new hens (well husband didn't anyway) but the centre wouldn't let them go separately so we decided to re-home them.

On Sunday we had our "home check" to make sure our garden was big enough and suitable enough for the three ladies and this morning Son and I went to pick them up.

We got back home with the three hens in their two boxes, we hadn't peeked as we didn't want to disturb them.  Son and I let them into the (currently empty) duck house and run but noticed something a little weird - one of them was a lot larger than the others and a sort of "speckledy" colour - the centre had only gone and picked up the wrong chicken!

So we tried calling the centre but the line was either engaged or was not answered, so we packed the poor speckledy hen back into her box, jumped back into the car and set off back to the centre - it's only ten minutes drive so not a problem.

When we arrived, Chris the "chicken man" was out looking for the "missing" chicken - he soon realised what had happened, two members of staff went to change it over for the correct hen, who was hiding from them laying her egg.  They packed her up and we took her home.

The three (correct) new ladies are now quite at home in their temporary house and Rachael has been talking to them all day - quietly.

The only incident we had was that one laid an egg and another ate it - I'm hoping this is just a one off and was accidentally broken.  I had given them some crushed oyster shell and asked Andy from Chicken Street for some advice, hopefully it won't happen again.

The ladies are currently unnamed but they are likely to be more characters from Friends - I'm sure the children will decide on some names for them soon.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The countdown begins.....again!

So, it's been a little while since my last post.  Since then, I've had these little ones hatch

Got three little friends for Duckie

And watched them all get a little bit bigger (actually quite a lot bigger)

The Fuzzbutts

And realised quite how much mess little ducklings can make - it's been a bit of a learning curve but I think I've sussed it now

But today these arrived...

A Lucky Dip selection of ducks eggs from my lovely friend Sara (also known as @mumsmuddyducks on Twitter), so the incubator is on gearing up for a minimum of 28 days.

They are a lucky dip and some could be Muscovy crosses, so they could take 35 days to hatch - how will I cope with the anticipation?!

So from tomorrow, the countdown begins :)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Ducks hatching!!

Just an extremely quick blog update to show off the new member of the family - sadly only one duck hatched from the 4 eggs that were left in the incubator.  I'm putting it down to the incubator being a bit up and down with it's temperature, thankfully from now on I only have to use the decent Brinsea Octagon Incubator so hopefully all future hatching will go a bit better.

In other news, the chicken eggs have started cheeping and wobbling so it's only a matter of days before the duck has some playmates (3 Light Sussex and 4 Ixworth - fingers crossed!).

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

What browser do you use?

As I'm quite nosey, I thought I'd do a little blog post about web browsers and ask you all what browser you use.

I used to always use Internet Explorer, I never really had any issues with it, then I dabbled with Firefox - didn't think it was really much different to IE.  I never really got into Google Chrome or Safari either.

Then one day whilst on Twitter someone mentioned Rockmelt - at that point I didn't know what it was so I looked it up (good old Google).

Anyway, Rockmelt turned out to be a different type of browser, I watched the video and asked for an invite, I've used it ever since.  For me, it's a bit like using Tweetdeck for Twitter but for the internet.

This is what it looks like:-

I realise this is not the easiest size to view so I've tried to add a few (wonky) notes.

Down the left hand side are all my Facebook friends, at the top are the people that are logged onto Facebook chat (Husband is near the top there).

Next to the address bar is a Share button, this is useful for when you're on a webpage you like, instead of having to copy the address from the address bar and then paste it into Twitter or Facebook, you can just press this button and select where you want to post it - you can also add notes.

On the right hand side are all my feeds, at the top I have my Facebook feed, below that I have my personal and business Twitter feeds, my Business Facebook Wall, and my Personal Facebook wall.  When anything new has happened, a number appears so tell me.  It lets me know if I have any Facebook notifications.

Below the Facebook and Twitter feeds, I have BBC News, BBC Cornwall and Business Cornwall - these update when a new story has been posted.

Then below that I have the blogs I like to read - I never used to read blogs but recently I have found a few that I enjoy.
From top to bottom they are:-

Clotted Cream Diaries - local (to me) food reviews

Dots and Spots - fab spotty and dotty gifts and stuff

Heart and Soil - some great stories and photos from Hen, an amazing woman living a totally different life to most

MooBaaCluck - some more lovely gifts and things from the talented Gabby

Snapdragon's Garden - talented ladies from Scotland - I love everything they do!

Just a few opinions - a blog by Flo who I used to work with

Scrummycupcake - a lovely lady from Twitter

The Rat Adventures - by my step-daughter Holly (though no posts yet)

and last but not least Tea Down My Top - by me! So I can tell it's worked!

If you're interested in finding out more about Rockmelt you can find them here - whatever browser you use, happy browsing :0)

Friday, 11 March 2011

Coming along nicely...

If you've read my last post, you'll know I'm not very patient.  You'll also know that my eggs are not due to hatch until the end of the month - that's over two weeks away!

So I'm trying to

a) be organised
b) find enough things for me to do to pass the time

Currently I have a chicken house with a connected run
and a duck house with no run.

Thinking ahead, I know I need to be able to keep separate the new babies from the (one remaining) older chicken.  I also know that the chicken house ramp will be too steep for the ducks.  So today, I turned these...
into this...


Now I have a chicken house and a duck house, both with runs that can be attached/closed or detached/open.

Now I just need another large house with no run, where they can all live when they've got used to each other, keeping the smaller houses for when I need to separate them.  But that will be a project for another day - mainly because I haven't got anything to build it out of yet.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Hatching a Plan!

So, those that have read my previous blog post here and some of you from Twitter will know that I recently had my first go at hatching some chicks in an incubator (this one)

Well, to be honest, the result wasn't great - we had one hatch from six eggs and it ended up being a boy so we couldn't keep him anyway.

So, whilst chatting to some lovely chickeny friends on Twitter one night (@madchickenlady @scrummycupcake @mumsmuddyducks and @chickenstreet) I noticed a tweet from @chickenstreet saying about his hatching eggs that he has for sale.  It wasn't the first time I'd seen the tweet but this time I was more in a position to take notice so I visited the Chicken Street website.

After a few tweets back and forth, Andy (@chickenstreet) told me to call or email him to discuss the different types of breeds that he had available.  So I did, and boy am I glad!  Andy has turned out to be the nicest, most helpfulest (that's proper English you know) man I've ever met (apart from Husband of course).

I told Andy about my situation and what I wanted from a chicken and what I didn't want and he told me the breeds most suited to my needs.  So, after having a little think (about 5 seconds) I decided to go for 6 Ixworth eggs.  The incubator currently has duck eggs in residence
so I asked Andy if he would except a Pre-order and he said "Of course, no problem at all!".  Then I got searching on eBay for a new (2nd) incubator as I'm not very good at waiting for things.

So, I ordered an incubator, it came (and I had to confess to Husband about it) but was rubbish, so it went back again.  However, during a visit to Mole Valley for some chicken feed, Husband noticed an advert for a 2nd hand incubator – the exact one I wanted – a Brinsea Digital Octagon!  I wrote down the phone number, phoned up, went to visit the next day and bought it – for a fantastic price too (see, no patience)!  Then of course I was straight back in contact with Andy to order my eggs, this all coincided with Phoebe going missing (see here) so I decided to order 12 eggs instead of the original 6.

Well, today they arrived!
6 Light Sussex and 6 Ixworth, they are currently 'resting' before being put into the incubator tonight.

So, with any luck, at the end of the month we shall have lots of fuzzy babies.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

One of our chickens is missing!

So, it's Sunday afternoon, it's a nice day, the dog needs a bath so Husband and I decide to take the dog to the woods (he needs cleaning anyway so might as well get him really muddy).

We put on our wellies, get into Bertie (they'll be a post about our vehicles coming soon) and off we drove.  We left Son and Step-daughter at home quietly amusing themselves, the cat asleep on the bed and the chickens happily wondering around in their enclosure.

As we walked through the woods we mentioned what a nice weekend we'd had, yesterday we went on a Hatch, Match and Dispatch course we was very educational, this morning I managed to pick up a second-hand incubator in very good condition for a good price.  I also managed to get out in the garden and sow some more seeds - carrots, parsnips, turnips, lettuce, spinach, rocket and radishes.

We got home from our walk feeling lovely and refreshed, it was the first time in a week and a half when I've actually felt well - it was a lovely feeling.

I asked Son to bath the dog (he's still paying off his gerbil debt) and I went out in the garden to have a mooch around.  Rachael chicken was lying in the sunshine enjoying her sunbathing, Phoebe was nowhere to be seen so I went to the enclosure and looked in the houses wondering if she was in laying today's egg.  Well she wasn't - she was nowhere to be seen or heard, I wondered if perhaps she was hiding behind one of the trees so I went to have a good look around, it soon became apparent that she had completely vanished!

Rachael chicken was happily wondering around, gently clucking and being very calm and normal.  There were no feathers around, no sign of any scratching around some of the lower fencing, no sign of any chicken in any of the neighbours gardens.

I am stumped!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Spring has Sprung

I realise I am not going to be the first blogger to mention that Spring has Sprung.  I thought I would share we you why Spring has Sprung here in my little bit of Cornwall.

It's been a long cold winter this year, normally in my bit of Cornwall I don't need to scrap the car windows before setting off in the morning, I've never had to protect my garden from frosts, generally it's quite pleasant.

This winter has been slightly different, the car has been scraped more than a few times - we even considered buying some de-icer, and the onion and garlic bulbs have been covered by a horticultural fleece - though some of that reasoning was to protect them from the chickens.

However, the weather has warmed up considerably over the last month and I'm getting out in the garden a bit more.

For the last week I have been quite poorly, I have just about managed to get out of bed and dressed everyday but that's about it, not been safe to drive and no energy for the garden or a walk.  This morning when I woke up I felt a little bit better, so I got on my jeans and wellies and got out there, I think I may have overestimated my energy levels though so I just had a little wander about.  I did manage to sow some Spring Onion seeds (White Lisbon) which I've been meaning to do for ages and check the seedlings in the greenhouse that I'd sown a few weeks back.

I also checked on the growth on the various fruit trees and was pleased to see that everything has little shoots.  The rhubarb was the best surprise though, I put a homemade forcer over the crown a month or two ago (it's an old cracked pot - a bit like myself) and when I took the put off this is what I discovered...

Despite not wanting to spend money on a "proper" forcer, the rhubarb has grown so much that I may have to invest in one - perhaps my afternoon's energy can be spent at the local garden centre, though I'm not normally allowed there unsupervised :D

Failing that I shall make a rhubarb crumble and sit down with my Veg Patch book, a cup of tea and my pot of seeds for a bit of planning.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Soon we're going to need a Farm!

So, in my First Blog Post I mentioned that we have some animals.  Well over the last weekend, the number increased by five.

Let me introduce you:-

First we have Tabby, we've had Tabby for nearly 7 years now, she came with her brother Grey but he was sadly run over after about a year.

Next we have Sandy, he's a rescue dog (which is why he's so skinny).  We're not sure how old he is but it's somewhere between 11 and 15.

Then there's the chickens - we did have 3 but Monica was egg bound and died in January, the other two are called Rachael and Phoebe.

My son is now 12 and wanted a pet of his own, so we built this...
Gerbil Towers house Charlie and Simon

Every week my step-daughter Holly comes to stay for a few days as she goes to college in Newquay, in an attempt to stop her being bored, husband decided to get some Rats for them to have joint responsibility for.  So, after getting a free rat cage from Freecycle, over the weekend we welcomed Lola, Chandler, Shadow and Fat Stripe to the house

And last but not least, at around 5.30 yesterday morning, the little fella came into the world...

...he is the only one to hatch from a batch of 6 eggs.  We know it's a "he" as the eggs were from some Cream Legbars chickens where the males and females have different markings from day one.  Unfortunately this means we will not be able to keep him as the area where we live is too built-up for cockerels so until we decide his fate he is called "the chick".

That's all for now...although there are 6 Runner duck eggs in the incubator and 6 Khaki Campbells duck eggs to be added tomorrow that are due to hatch at the end of March :D