Saturday, 26 September 2015

The garden smallholding

We moved into our current house 2 years ago. What attracted us most to the property was the garden because although we live in a bungalow the garden is quite large and was easily separated to allow us to do what we wanted.
We split the garden into 2 a veg patch and the family garden with a wooden fence between the two to keep the dog out of the veg patch and the chickens out of the family side.

In this picture you can see my runner/french beans, sweetcorn, kale and sprouts, rhubarb, leeks, spring onions and just the tops of my parsnips. 
It has been a poor year this year and everything seems to have struggled what you see is the survivors of the poor summer. I hope to rip it all out this winter and manure/compost it to improve the fertility of the soil ready for next season. 

As well as the chickens we share our lives with a number of other animals most of which are previously unwanted pets.
  • 1 black Labrador - Shadow
  • 2 ginger tabbies - Simba and Stitch 
  • 2 budgies - Ben and Penny
  • 2 musk turtles - Michelangelo and Raphael
  • 4 rabbits - Braveheart, Flopsy, Toffee and Fudge
  • 1 old rat - Smokey
  • 2 Roborovski hamsters - Rhino and Fatty
  • 3 Royal Pythons - Arwen
  • 1 Corn snake - Merlin
  • 1 leopard gecko - Angel
  • 3 Crested geckos - Mulder, Bob and Salem
  • 1 Pacman frog - Dexter
  • 2 guinea pigs - Jack and Freddie
I have converted my garage into an animal room where most of them currently live. I thought I would introduce them to you one set of pets at a time so heres a few shots of Jack and Freddie.

When I was thinking of purchasing my chickens I wanted to know as much about what other people were using as possible so I thought it would be nice to show you what I use for cleaning out my coop.

My kit contains poultry shield which I spray into every nook and cranny to ensure that I kill any red mite (if there are any in there) I then let the coop dry out before squirting diatomaceous earth everywhere to once again ensure red mite is kept at bay. The mask is to protect myself from inhaling the diatoms which can be carcinogenic. I use sawdust as the substrate within the coop and nest boxes with a nest of straw. 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Chickens! The first week!

We finally have chickens! I have wanted them for ages and finally decided to take the plunge. There were a few things to consider before we got them however and most were to do with how they would affect the neighbours.

A friend of mine shared a post with me about a localish free range farmer who was needing to re-home 1700 of his layers other wise they would go to slaughter. She offered to house them for me until my own coop was ready if we wanted any.

Needless to say I jumped at the chance and bought our first coop and run. When it arrived it needed to be painted to protect it which took nearly a week but at least this gave us a chance to buy all the bits we needed for when the girls arrived.
This was the final result which we were both more than happy with.

The coop is a Sussex and run from chicken coops direct. I cannot fault them the service was brilliant and the build quality is second to none. 

The run is placed upon chicken wire pegged into the ground to prevent the foxes getting access with a few edging stones I nicked off of a skip placed along the back edge to hopefully deter rats.

The whole thing was in place and finished just in time for the chickens to be delivered.

The four girls were not in too bad of a condition, a few featherless areas here and there and pale combs but otherwise they were fine. My daughter has named them Luna, Bindi and the twins. Luna has a bent comb and loves cuddles she's always jumping up on me for a stroke.

They laid a couple of eggs the first few days which tasted amazing and then we've had at least 3 eggs a day for the past few days