that poultry must be kept “inside” for the next seven weeks due to the risks of “bird flu” to the UK poultry population. This has caused us a bit of a headache (trying to decide where to put them) and a fair bit of work (converting and escape proofing a shed). The chickens are used to roaming entirely freely around and about the farm and do not take very happily to being confined. They are just in at night; in a very small wooden hen house with no external run. We have one laying daily at the moment and she has been beside herself being unable to get to her usual nesting spot in one of the stables. She is extremely “put out” and I guess will go off lay. In the end we decided to sacrifice the “feed shed”as it seemed the easiest option for conversion to housing the poultry. So the other morning I cleared the shed out and “rehomed” the contents and GOS spent an afternoon making a new door with wooden sort of grill in the top to let in air and light, but hopefully not allow small birds to get in the shed with the chickens. Temporarily the feed bins will stay in the barn by the hay and straw. I hope we can remember where we have put everything else; mostly gardening equipment.
This building was originally part of the old pig sty. It has really thick walls, a low roof but no window, which is not really ideal. But, it will have to do for the next couple of months. We have put up some perches, straw on the floor and I had to go out and buy a new “drinker” as we have not needed one before. it holds 3 litres of water so will be adequate. they have some veg and an apple to peck at. We don’t want them pecking each other with boredom, which can happen. When a chicken goes broody and takes herself to nest inside (about 21 days) she goes very pale and annaemic and looses much of the red colour from her comb, wattles and round the eyes. We’ll see if this enforced confinement has the same effect on the poultry. It better be worth all the hassle!
On the animal front, the good news is, at long last the horse’s leg seems to have healed. Thirteen weeks it has taken to heal over properly. Won’t be any hair for a while, but hopefully a bit of mud on the leg now won’t hurt. It’s taken so long because if just on the spot where the foot flexes.
We had three lambs born towards the end of our little lambing season and they have been a bit slow in growing on. The start of the winter and a change of pasture seemed to set them back further. So over the Christmas holidays we split then from their mum’s in order to ensure they could have additional food. The ewes are so greedy the little lambs wouldn’t stand a chance of getting any feed if they were fed together. I have two ewes who can have you over and off your feet in a trice if they think you have anything tasty with you. It took a few days for the three babies to get the hang of eating “creep feed”. (Tiny weeny cylinders of cereal type stuff) but they only have to see my yellow coat now and they are bleating pathetically to be fed and come rushing to the fence in anticipation. Unless the weather is exceptionally bad the ewes only get hay to eat. Feeding our big texel cross ewes up when in lamb can cause problems with very big lambs when lambing. We ere on the cautious side with the feeding regime.
Himself says he put on weight over Christmas and has pledged to join the gym . . . .
New year’s resolution . . . . . I intend getting back to swimming once I have got rid of my cough. . . .