Our last lot of chickens have hatched, so we have six more little babies! Very exciting! Cam is wondering where all the chook feed is going to come from! And stating loudly that we better start getting a decent supply of eggs soon! I haven’t the heart to tell him that there is also a hen in the chook pen sitting on some eggs!
I love the little shy one in the middle of the bottom pic. The ones with the browny fluff are Isa Browns, so they should be good layers (if they are hens of course…..) . The one creamy one on the right is a white leghorn, one of our own eggs that we put in the incubator just for fun!
In other news around the farm, we crutched all our sheep last week. Crutching, for any city folk, is when we just shear around the sheeps’ bottoms. This cleans up any daggy bits that might otherwise attract flies! Next week we will be doing our proper shearing – a big week, tiring week! Will do a post on it, with some pics afterwards…..
We have also had all our hay baled. Here are some pics of the night the hay was raked, ready for baling.
Well we really had a huge run at the new chookpen over the Melbourne Cup weekend. The frame is well and truly taking shape. While Cam was welding new bits together, I was coming behind, and painting all the welds with an anti rust paint. I even had a bit of a go at welding myself – although I won’t be posting any closeups of my work! Its MUCH harder than it looks, and those welding helmets really take some getting use to!
We have had a couple of old house doors lying around for a few years, and decided that they might make good doors for the chook pen. So I gave them a light sand, and have painted them white (with a few helpers!!). I still need to do a final waterproofing layer. I sourced some old black hinges which I reckon will look great against the white.
You can see the nesting box frames here, on the far right of the picture, supported at the moment by a bit of wood. They will be accessable from outside, so on rainy days, when the chook yard is muddy, we won’t actually need to go in, to collect the eggs.
Next step will be to clad the outside with mesh and corrugated iron, and then attach the doors. I’m getting excited because it feels like we’re not too far away, but then, these things always take longer than we expect!
We have a fantastic array of fruit trees in our orchard. Apples, pears, cherries, plums, nectarines, peaches, apricots, figs, to name a few. The trees are about five years old, and they are starting to get a reasonable amount of fruit on them now. We decided it was time to protect them from the birds. Sulphur crested cockatoos, and galahs have caused chaos in previous years – taking great big bites out of 90% of the fruit. I wouldn’t mind if they finished the one they start on, and leave the rest alone, but they don’t! And they LOVE the almonds. Even before they are close to being ripe, they have cracked open the hard casing and demolished the soft kernel inside.
This is the orchard before the nets went on. Its hard to see in this pic, but the trees are espaliered onto wires, and we have a dripper hose running along the bottom wire, for watering. Its a nice view from the orchard! I’m starting to get berries to establish in between the trees. So far I’ve planted raspberries, loganberries and gooseberries. Very keen to get some blueberries planted before too long.
Here’s what the orchard looks like now. We bought one big long roll of netting, thinking that that was probably the easiest way, rather than netting each individual tree. It probably isn’t quite wide enough, as I’d like it to go right down to the ground. We were thinking next year we will buy another identical roll, and try sewing the two together, giving us double the width. Hopefully this will slow the cockies down!
These are some eggs we hatched in our incubator. I ordered two dozen eggs on line, 12 buff sussex and 12 lavender araucanas. Was so excited when they arrived in the mail.
Anyway three weeks later we had little chickens hatching, creating lots of excitement amongst the household. We had 13 hatch in total, which is a lower percentage than when we hatch our own eggs, but I guess when they have been posted, its hard to guarantee how they have been handled! They have been living in a little pen in the garage, with their light for warmth – but now that they are almost fully feathered we have moved them out to a larger cage within the main chook pen (if only my new chook shed was ready….. hint hint Cam, if you’re reading). Won’t be long before they can run with the older chooks.
They are 7 weeks old now, and eating HEAPS!! They are also continually tipping over their water, so will have to come up with a better system. The ones on the left are the Buff Sussex, and the ones on the right are the Lavender Araucanas.
Now it will be interesting to see what proportion of roosters to hens we get! I will let you know in a couple of months…….