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Its been a foul week at Heatherhurst Grange

April 18, 2010

Life on a small-holding is always varied and full of challenges.

About four weeks ago we lost our flock of hens to a fox attack and our egg supply was stopped in its tracks. Thanks to kind donations of chickens from local friends and chicken keepers we have a new flock that is growing fast.

A kind neighbour donated a trio of Light Sussex and we’ve acquired seven more birds from a breeder in Hook and would you believe after a few painstaking days, we’ve caught a cockerel, a turkey, a Dutch bantam, a peacock and a peahen that had been deserted in the woods by Basingstoke canal and had gone feral.

Who would believe a turkey, cockerel,  a hen and a peacock were running wild right here in Deepcut. Even our cat Ozzie couldn’t believe his eyes!

Eventually we caught them and integrated them into our flock. Catching a wild turkey is not as easy as you might imagine, and it’s been a steep learning curve for us, not to mention a few late nights hiding in the bushes.

All in all over the last two weeks, three cockerels and eleven hens have taken up residence and this week thanks to the change in weather and some care and attention our egg production has been resumed in abundance. Omelettes are back on the menu!

Our pigs are progressing at a steady rate and the three Oxford Sandy & Blacks only have for weeks to go before they are ready for “finishing”. I’m determined to make their last few weeks as happy as possible, and the meat as tasty as it can be for our customers and our pork tasting event at the end of May. As a result the pigs have had extra treats in the form of Banana’s, Grapes, and Apples to supplement their daily diet. I’ve also been sure to give them plenty of shade and keep their muddy wallow topped up and wet so they can roll around and coat themselves in mud to avoid sunburn, as pigs are the only creature aside from humans who get burnt in the sun.

Finally we did an inspection of our bee hive this week but had to call it short as I got stung, and had to retreat nursing my wounds. An inspection at this time is essential to ensure a healthy colony and that the Queen Bee is “in lay” ready to grow the colony for the spring flow of pollen. Unavoidably, a resumed inspection will take place this week, and I’ll post some photos the next update.

Upon reflection it’s been a glorious week at Heatherhurst Grange and the long, cold, short days of the winter are a fading memory. Spring is upon us and it would appear that the mood in the animal kingdom has picked up as much as it has for us humans.

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One comment

  1. >Also: best sencente ever.”…clearly the BlueHairs got their perms in a snit, and cold cocked us with our own knitpistols to protect their territory.”



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