Friday, 10 January 2020

Odd Eggs


‘Tis the season of Odd Eggs. This type of egg usually appears at the beginning of the laying season. The shell hasn't been formed properly and this is not one to be eaten! A chicken may also lay very small eggs, perhaps with no yolk, or ones with extremely brittle shells as their system hasn’t got going properly yet.
Lash Egg HenSafe Smallholding

Learnings:
A “lash egg” as it is commonly called can be the sign of an infection in the oviduct system. They look slightly different to this one, may be very irregularly shaped and contain bits of gunk and solid matter. Otherwise, if it's just a shell issue as this one is, then as the laying season gets underway you should see normal eggs start appearing.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Roasted Vegetables

This little lot, fresh from the veg plot, will be going into the oven at 190 degrees for about 45-60 minutes. I’ve just chopped it all roughly – courgettes, aubergines and peppers – thrown in a few small tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs. It will be served with some of our home grown sausages, a chunk of bread and a large glass of red wine. If there is any left (we have visitors too!) then I’ll keep it in the fridge to go with salads, or whizz it up for soup. Yum yum.
Roasted Vegetables HenSafe Smallholding

Learnings:
So many different things to do with excess veg, apart from give it away of course. It all depends on how much you like your neighbours :D

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Sunflowers


Sunflowers on the HenSafe Smallholding
I usually plant giant sunflowers on the veg plot to accompany the runner beans and French beans, and to add a colour splash. The added bonus is that the dead flower heads attract sparrows and other small birds to feast on the seeds. Win-Win. Composting them is another matter. If you do this, you'll need to cut the stems up quite small so they rot at the same rate as the rest of your compost - and you will need a sturdy cutter and strong hands!



Learnings:
On an exposed veg plot you may need to stake your giant sunflowers. If you tie them to your runner bean poles and the wind catches them, you will be in danger of losing the lot!
 


Thursday, 22 August 2019

Nest Eggs!

Nest Eggs! photo
Last week we had some new girls move in with our current flock. They’re settling in well but haven’t quite worked out where to lay their eggs yet. Went out this morning to collect and found this lovely little pile of beauties waiting for me!
Hensafe Chickens
They’re scratching around and getting used to their new surroundings, but we still need to make sure they are in the coop at dusk before shutting the door. They need a bit of extra help to find the pop hole and to deal with the pecking order.



Learnings:

  • The best time to introduce new hens is in the evening. When your flock has gone to roost, introduce the new girls into the coop while they are all drowsy. If you keep doing this each night, until the new ones know where the coop is, they will all merge together as one happy group. 
  • If you have trouble with the pecking order, and the older birds won't let the new ones into the coop, try shutting the coop door and introducing the new girls through the nest box lid.
  • Young chickens will not naturally lay eggs in the coop - you'll need to search out the eggs in the undergrowth! They will learn eventually...


Sunday, 14 July 2019

Comma Butterfly and an Afternoon Stroll

Comma Butterfly photo
A stroll on a local beauty spot yielded a whole host of bugs and butterflies to admire and capture on camera. This Comma feeding on some comfrey was one of many. 
Absolutely beautiful, and look at that gorgeous furry body...
 
Learnings:
Take time to be still on a country walk, and just observe. There’s so much out there to discover if you’re quiet enough and patient enough to wait.