Wednesday, 26 May 2010

New Barn Brooder in operation

The new brooder in the barn is now up and running housing the 9 chicks. Nigel made it using a dining table, some wood and wire mesh. It is big enough to give the chicks room to grow and they will stay in there until they have a full set of feathers.

New Batch of Ducklings

We have a new batch of ducklings in the bedroom brooder! We had a good hatch rate of the Saxony/Appleyard cross eggs we put in the incubator - 12 out of 15, lets hope they all survive this time! They are all eating and drinking well and none seem to have any problems or deformities that we can see so fingers crossed! The incubator has been cleaned out and is now back on and coming up to temperature in readiness for the eggs under Daisy up in the barn.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Update on ducklings

Sadly there are only 2 ducklings left, but they seem to be doing ok, dont know if its because we have put them onto proprietary starter food or what but we are keeping all fingers and toes crossed! The good news is - the Saxony/Appleyard cross eggs in the incubator have started hatching, there is one duckling out of the egg and numerous others in various stages from pipping to almost out! This is a very exciting stage and every time we pass the incubator we have to have a quick peak to see how its going. The first one is so pretty, dark in colour but with yellow stripes and patches. We can expect a couple of broken nights as the incubator is just outside our bedroom door and they tend to make a din if they hatch out during the night, cheaping "I'm out, I'm out". Nigel is busy finishing off a new brooder in the barn so the chicks can move up there and free up the bedroom brooder for the newborn ducklings. Its all go at the moment! Will post a photo of the new ducklings when they come out of the incubator.

Mopsy's a mum!

Mopsy, one of our rabbits, has given birth. This is all that can be seen in her nesting box at the moment but there is definitely squeaking and movement in there! Brindy, another rabbit, has 2 weeks to go till her due date but she has got really big and is having difficulty moving about, needless to say we are keeping a close eye on her!


This is Daisy doing a stirling job sitting on her nest with Flo stood over her on guard. Thus far Daisy has hatched 9 eggs and is still sitting with 10 eggs underneath her! Flo and Gerty have added most of them so goodness knows how long it will be before they are ready. We have decided that once the main incubator is free we are going to take the rest of the eggs under Daisy and put them in there and turf her off the nest, she's been on there long enough and needs to get back to her other job - laying eggs for us to eat! That way at least we will be back onto 3 eggs a day and then 4 when Daisy recovers, at the moment we are only getting 1 from good old Edna who still lays on the hay stack because Flo and Gerty's eggs are going under Daisy. Poor old Flo is looking a bit the worse for wear at the moment, she went through a stage as Marlon's favourite and lost all the feathers off her back where he was treading her so much, we think that is why she is spending time with Daisy to get away from him for a rest!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Chicks and Ducklings coming and going

Well we now have 7 chicks in the starter brooder, one more arrived yesterday evening, another red by the looks of it. All doing fine this morning. Unfortunately the same cant be said for the ducklings, we lost the little khaki yesterday, found it dead in the pen and this morning found another one dead. This leave 4 ducklings left, one of which seems to have a poorly leg as well. They all seem definitely wobbly as if their little legs aren't strong enough for them and they seem to be shaking their heads a lot, dont know what that is a sign of if anything. Its all a bit of a worry!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Big ducks in the pond

Luckily so far there is still plenty of water in the pond for the big ducks to enjoy even though we havent had much rain lately, dont know what it will be like in the middle of the summer, last year it got very shallow. However this is the biggest the pond has got since we have lived here, mainly due to the ducks' excavations and also due to the fact that Nigel has attached a hosepipe to the downpipe from the guttering so any rain we do get is now directed at one end to the pond and at the other to a water butt with the overflow from the water butt going to the pond as well. Hopefully the pond should stay fairly full this year!

Ducklings enjoying the sun

It was such a lovely day yesterday we put the ducklings out on the grass to enjoy some sunshine. Unfortunately we are now down to 6 as the big black duckling had somehow broken its leg and had to be put down, poor little thing was trying its hardest to move about on only one leg but kept ending up on its back with all the others stamping all over it, wouldnt have lasted long so it was kindest.

Update on chicks

We now have 6 chicks, 3 black, 2 red and 1 white. When we put the latest one in yesterday evening the other five immediately started really bullying it and I was worried about leaving it in there but they have accepted it now and it is settling in as one of the gang nicely. Wonder if there will be another when we go up this evening, Daisy has still got plenty of eggs under her so you never know!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Good Old Daisy

Daisy, with the aid of Flo and Gerty who keep jumping in the box with her, has managed to hatch 5 chicks so far, one white, two yellow which will probably turn out red and two black. The first four have all found the food and water and are doing lovely, the fifth has only recently hatched and is still just sitting around and dozing off at intervals, bless it they are so sweet at that stage. We brought number 4 down yesterday evening at about the same stage and after about an hour or so it found its voice and was chirruping the house down! Daisy jumped off the nest and ran over to the main chicken feeder and waterer after we took the chick from under her and had a good drink and feed before Nigel put her back on the nest and she settled straight back down to her job. You can see where the term Mother Hen comes from, they really fuss over the eggs and chicks and make a hell of a racket at anyone coming to disturb them. 5 new chicks so far in the brooder, 11 10/11 week old youngsters in the chick pen growing strong, 7 ducklings in the outhouse pen, 15 duck eggs in one incubator and 6 goose eggs in another incubator - quite a fowl industry we have going! and thats not to mention all the adult chickens, ducks and geese we have!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Ducklings enjoying their new pen

New Chicks in the Brooder

Three chicks hatched under Daisy so far, one yesterday and two today. Tomorrow?

Sunday Sketch & Stamp 27 / ABC Challenge T is for

I'm using this card I made with a craftsUprint image, a bit of stamping and some silver peel off borders and sentiment to enter the Sunday Sketch & Stamp Challenge 27 and the ABC Challenge T is for.

Sketch Saturday Challenge No. 102

I decided to kill two birds with one stone and used an image from the Circus craftsUprint sheet I had bought to make a card using the sketch for this week's Sketch Saturday challenge. I used some backing papers from a Simply Cards and Papercraft Christmas gift pack which I thought looked really pretty with this picture.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Jimbo survives and Red bites the dust!


Jimbo, our spare cockerel, was set for the pot this weekend, he is a big bird and will make a lovely curry. Nigel managed to catch him in the net but the net broke and the blighter escaped, did a runner and there was no catching him after that so he has a reprieve for a few days! He had really annoyed me yesterday because poor Red, one of our original chickens, was laid on the floor unable to move because she was really poorly when along came Jimbo and jumped on her, Marlon - "the main man", our number one cockerel, wasnt around and she couldn't run away so he took his chance - the sod! I thought she was dead at first and Jimbo was into a bit of necrophilia so I chased him off and then I saw she was still alive, barely. Nigel took her away and put her out of her misery, she hadnt been right for a couple of days. We've only got Flo and Girty left from our original chickens, they are still going strong at 2 and a bit years old and are still laying, although we arent getting their eggs at the moment as they are getting in with Daisy the broody to lay their eggs in her broody box, they must think their eggs are safe in there! Daisy started off sitting on one egg but now has 12 under her, dont know how many will hatch, fingers crossed we get a few!


We've been gardening today. Nigel rotavated a patch of the top field, well three strips actually, last week and we planted up the first strip with a mixture of beans, haricot vert, haricot beurre and white butter bean type. We've put pop bottles over each bean plant in the hope they will survive being eaten by the multitude of critters that seem to live up there. I also potted on 16 cauli seedlings and 16 brocolli seedlings into individual pots and put them in the greenhouse, surely we will get some plants strong enough to plant out from them - fingers crossed, we had a really good brocolli harvest last year, enough to fill two big tubs in the freezer as well as a few mealsworth. Unfortunately I havent been lucky with cauliflowers and have never actually grown one to maturity so this year I am determined to coddle a couple of plants through. Also in the greenhouse the tomato plants are all doing well with some even starting to bud. Last year we didnt have to buy salad tomatoes all summer and I made several batches of green tomato pasta sauce for the freezer and various chutneys.

Elsewhere in the veggie patch, the garlic bed is doing lovely, we should get enough garlic to last us. Cabbages are looking healthy, fingers crossed nothing has decided to eat them yet! Whatever is eating the green lettuces doesnt seem to like the lollo rosso so they are doing quite well. The two courgette plants are looking healthy with buds starting to form already (we always seem to do well with courgettes). Nothing doing on the beds where we sowed beetroot, carrot and spring onion seeds yet - I think it has been too dry and a bit cold of late, once we get a bit more rain and some warm sun they should start to germinate - early days yet. The fruit bushes are all doing really well, loads of flower buds on the raspberries - looks set for a good early harvest (last year we had an early harvest in June/July and then another later one end of August early September). Fingers crossed we get some blueberries this year, they got a bit overrun by weeds last year so this year we are keeping them weed-free. The loganberry and thornless blackberry bushes are all growing well, last year they all did particularly well and we have boxes of fruit still in the freezer - I think I can feel a blackberry and apple pie coming on and maybe some loganberry jam!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Cupcake Craft Challenge No. 89 - All the 3's

Another challenge card - more pinks and reds!

Sketch Saturday # 101

I really like reds and pinks at the moment!


Finally I have got this breadmaking lark sussed out. This is my latest effort and I have to say it looks and smells gorgeous. It will be lovely crusty tonight with some pasta and tomato sauce and then wrapped up in silver foil over night it will slice really nice tomorrow for sarnies - result!

Rhubarb Jam

The rhubarb is going great guns this year. I picked a kilo and a half yesterday and made my first batch of jam for the year. I used a kilo for the jam and stewed the other half kilo and have put a crumble topping on for after our tea this evening - mmmmm rhubarb crumble!!

"priscillastyles" MMSC #52

This is my entry into the "priscillastyles" Midnight Madness Sketch Challenge No 52.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Ducklings on the move

Moved the ducklings out into the pen in the outhouse this morning. They've got much more room to run about and a tub of water they were straight into! Also they are on straw now which is much better for them than kitchen towel, wont get so soggy. Gave me a chance to clean up the windowsill in the spare bedroom as well - what a mess! Bit worried about the little khaki one, it doesnt seem as lively as the others, fingers crossed it will be alright.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


This is our homemade brooder. It is two stack-it boxes fixed together and it sits on the windowsill in the spare bedroom with an infra-red lamp over it for warmth. We have 7 week old ducklings in the brooder at present (we had 8 but sadly one didnt make it). We hatched these ducklings in our incubator and the eggs were from our own ducks. We have 6 ducks - 2 white Aylesburys (male & female), 2 purebreed khaki-campbells (male & female) and 2 female indian runners. In this batch there are 5 yellow ducklings which will be white ducks and 2 dark ducklings, one of which we are pretty sure is a khaki. Unfortunately we dont know what sort of ducks they will turn into yet, if they grow into indian runners we will sell them, likewise khaki-campbells. If any of them turn into Aylesburys we will grow them on for the table.
Hopefully the brooder is going to be needed next week for some baby chickens. We have a broody hen sitting on 8 eggs up in the barn at the moment and if any of them hatch they will be brought down and put in the brooder. To free up the brooder we will be moving the ducklings into a pen in the outhouse (a storage room next to the house) where they will stay for a month or so until they are big enough to go up to the barn. I'll be glad when they move out to the outhouse because they are such messy creatures and the brooder has to be cleaned out twice a day.
We have 15 Appleyard Saxony cross duck eggs sitting in the incubator at present. We got the eggs from a friend, Jan. Her Appleyard Saxony ducks are lovely big meaty ducks so we are keeping our fingers crossed for a good hatch rate as we will keep a trio (1 male 2 females) for breeding and grow the rest on for the table.

CraftsUprint May 2010 Monthly Craft Challenge

This card is made using the image from the Flower Girl folding card sheet which was a free download from CraftsuPrint.

Monday, 3 May 2010


Cardmaking is my favourite hobby at the moment - I am totally hooked! I have become a Registered Cardmaker for CraftsUprint and currently have 15 cards live on the site. You pay for and download cardmaking sheets to print off and then upload photos of the cards you make using the sheets and get 3p for each copy of that particular sheet (the one you have bought and made a card of) that is sold. This week I sent a batch of cards over to England to my mum who is going to take them in to her Day Centre on Thursday to see if she can sell them. Fingers crossed!


... when something I bake tastes good - my chocolate muffins this week are yummy!