Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The retraining of Billie

Billie has now been successfully retrained! She now sleeps in the living room with the dogs! We got so fed up with her asking to come up on the bed at all times of the night that one night I chucked her out and shut the bedroom door, she howled for a little bit but gave up and slept down in the living room where she has slept every night since. So now we keep the bedroom door shut so she cant come in and disturb us. She wakes us up every morning at around 6.30am for her breakfast which isnt too much of a problem now it is summer (dont know about in the winter though, hopefully her body clock will adjust).

French White Maran Eggs

We have ordered 12 French White Maran eggs for incubation. They will be delivered to Mother and Jacqueline's house and we will bring them back on Sunday. These hopefully should turn out to be really big meat birds and we plan to keep a cockerel and three or four females (provided we get females that is) and house them separately from the other chickens so we can breed from them (they will be purebreed chickens) nice big chickens for the table.

Trip to England

We are going back to England for a visit, leaving here Thursday afternoon and we will be staying in Paignton with Elizabeth and James, Nigel's eldest daughter and her fiance. Friday we are going to the wedding of Nigel's son Benjamin to Emma so we are really looking forward to that. Then we will spend Saturday in Paignton and do some shopping then go out for a meal in the evening. Sunday is going to be spent in Plymouth with Mother and Jacqueline and Bobby and Allan will be there as well as they are in Plymouth for the weekend. Then back down to the ferry port for the night crossing back to France, bringing Liz and James back with us for a couple of weeks. So only a flying visit really but we are both looking forward to it nonetheless, its going to be great to see everyone again.

Teenage Chickens

The teenage chickens have now reached 17 weeks and we thought it was time the female ones we are keeping for egg laying came out to join the adult hens. We took 5 out and it was very interesting the reaction from Marlon our cockerel. We are going to keep another cockerel as well (Nigel likes the big red one) and he put that one out first. Marlon ran straight over and started to beat it up big time so we put it back in again. When the females came out Marlon just had a good look at them but didnt touch them (well he gave one a bit of a peck but thats all). Still being immature and not male they are obviously of no interest to him. We can start feeding the rest left in the pen up in earnest now ready for despatch to the freezer.

The Ducks Have Moved!

Well its been ages again since I last posted so I've got a bit of catching up to do. Nigel has now completed the "Duck Compound" in the top field and the ducks are insitu as can be seen above. They have got lots of room and seem very happy. We are not letting them out into the field for another week or so until we feel they are big enough not to get taken by one of the many hawks or crows that fly around up there. They are starting to develop their quacks or squeaks now, females quack and males squeak and sitting down in the garden you can definitely hear duck quacks from the top field now. We were a bit worried about bringing the two batch 1 ducklings up to join the others but needn't have because they jumped straight in the middle of the bunch and joined in as if they belonged there, the others didnt even turn a hair (or a feather to be more exact).

Thursday, 17 June 2010


These little blighters have well outgrown their brooder, they are no longer chicks but little chickens now! When the ducklings move out of the bigger brooder we will shift these chaps/chapesses over there for a couple of weeks until Nigel has the chance to concrete a new pen in the chicken compound. Then when the teenage chicks (Nigel's name for the 15/16 week old chickens we have) move on (females out with the grown up chickens for egg laying and cockerels into a fattening pen pre-despatch to the freezer) the young chicks will go into the teenage chick compound which has pop-hole out to an outside pen. Then they will start on the cycle the teenage chicks are on now. We should probably be thinking about putting some more eggs in the incubator soon for the next cycle!

Saxony/Appleyard X Ducklings

Just look how big these ducklings have got! They are filling their brooder now and need more space so Nigel is working on the shed we have in a separate pen which was Buck's cabin (Buck was the billy goat we used to have). He will hopefully finish the cabin today and then we will go and get some chicken wire to put round the pen's fencing (mutton fencing - they can fit through the gaps) and then they can move out there. We will also be able to bring the other two ducklings up as well, dont know how they will be accepted by this gang so we will have to keep an eye on them to start with. If they wont accept them we will have to rethink what to do with them. Will post a picture when the cabin is finished.

Ducklings Batch #1

These two are the survivors of the original batch of ducklings hatched. They are growing really well and go out on the lawn most days weather permitting. We think they are a male and a female, the big one being the female. Hopefully within the next few days they will be going up top with the other ducklings.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

I'm a Craftsuprint Designer!

Seems absolutely ages since I last posted - 12 days! I've been really busy making up craft sheets. I applied to become a designer for www.craftsuprint.com the website I buy my card sheets from and was told I had to get a stockpile prepared so thats what I have been doing and two days ago I got the email to say I had been accepted and I have started uploading my sheets onto the site. I've sold three sheets already so I am really pleased. If you havent already done so please click my "Click Me". You can now have a look at the sheets I've made as well as the cards I've made up of other people's sheets. I'm also in the planning stage of another blog/website to post all my cards up for sale.
Today I'm going to get some photos taken of all the baby critters etc to do some more updating, check back tomorrow!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Retraining of Billie - update

Well last night went quite well, better than I expected anyway! I'd made Billie a lovely bed by putting a pillow in a moses basket and covering it with her blanket so it smelled of her. When we went to bed I put her in the basket and gave her a bit of fuss, she stayed there a short while then jumped out and got up on the bed. This repeated numerous times but I wasnt giving in and the last time I remember looking at the clock was at 1.30. She must have stayed put then because she was still there when I woke this morning at 6.30. Bless her little heart, she got up and had some breakfast and went in her box then promptly jumped back on the bed! Nigel got up and put her back in her bed and she stayed there till I got up at 8.30! She's a good little girl really, just hope it doesnt take so long tonight as I'm feeling a bit bleery eyed today!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Retraining of Billie!

Billie enjoying a bit of sun - outside for a change!
My hayfever has been really bad this year, probably doesnt help living in such a rural area surrounded by so many trees and fields of crops etc. My doctors thinks I may also be allergic to the cat as well as I am waking up each morning with a head full of gunk and streaming eyes and the cat sleeps on the bed. Hence the need for Billie to be retrained not to sleep on the bed. It is going to be hard! very hard! She can wow (and I mean wooooow!) for England, France, she could be world-champion woooower when she doesnt get what she wants when she wants it, ie food, clean dirt box, getting up on the bed! A difficult time ahead!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Mopsy's baby

This is Mopsy's only surviving baby and he (we're pretty sure its a he) is soooo cute. Brindy is due in the next few days, hope she does a bit better!

Another brooder in the barn

Nigel has now built another brooder (the smaller one on the right hand side) into which the chicks have moved and the saxony/appleyard ducklings have now moved up into the big brooder. The chicks are getting a good set of feathers now so will soon be moved out of the brooder, havent got anywhere for them to move to yet so Nigel will be building again! The ducklings are loving having all that room to move about in and they are growing like mad.