Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Well the maybe chick turned out to be a girl once dry with curled in feet, splayed legs and yolk sac not absorbed. Two days later and with the help of some plasters cut to size she has perfectly functioning legs and is walking around fine and yolk sac almost gone. She is in the 'hospital wing' at the moment - in a plastic box with non slip drawliner as a floor to help with the legs and an angle poise lamp for heat. Another day or so for the yolk sac to completely absorb/heal/dry up/drop off and she can join the others. A very rewarding experience. The other two eggs that were rocking in a bowl of water on day 23 but didn't hatch did contain fully developed chicks. One with yolk absorbed one not. So final tally 15 hatched - 4 girls 11 boys, 2 failed to hatch, 7 not fertile.

Incubator cleaned and ready for the next eggs.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Well the latest batch of chicks has now hatched, and what a bizarre hatch it was! First chick was a suprise arrival when i woke up one morning which was techically half way through day 19 as they were set at a lunchtime. Then a slow trickle of hatches with the last one being an assited hatch today on day 24! This chick has not absorbed the yolk sac properly and has curled in toes. It is in the incubator drying at the moment. Once were sure what sex it is when its dry we'll decide what action to take. So out of the 24 eggs 15 hatched and how many girls?....3 and a maybe! Grrrr hopefully the odds will swing the other way for us next time!

The ponies were moved to their new field at the weekend with the stables and it has made life easier already! Definitely the right thing to do.

The pigs are booked in with the butchers for the week of the 8th August. Just need to book them in at the abattoir the week before. In the meantime we need to get the right paperwork sorted and attempt slapmarking(!).

Had a think about life since we got back from out holidays and have made some fairly major decisions about where our lives are heading. Still lots of details to sort an planning to be done but overall i'm quite excited about the future now and feel like a bit of a weight has been lifted.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Finally catching up with everything after a fabulous week camping in Cornwall. What a beautiful place it is. Its been a few years since i've been and i'd forgotten just how lovely it is. Grace had a fantastic time playing on the beaches and splashing in the sea. It's got us thinking about whether we would like to relocate down there. It would be a huge move but one full of fantastic opportunities for all of us. Food for thought there. Holiday snaps to follow as soon as i have had chance to upload them.

Back home all is well. It's been a traumatic couple of weeks with the pigs, well one of them anyway. The hernia that turned into an abscess has been a pain to treat. Capturing a pig each day to inject it has been an, erm, 'interesting' experience! We have learnt several new methods and hope never to need to use them again! He's 90% right again now though at last. Theres only another month or so to go now before we get to try our sausages and chops. Ringing the butcher is on the to do list this week to see how much notice they need at the moment. Then we move on to the next challenge...slap marking!

The first batch of chicks are now fully feathered at almost 6 weeks and have moved outside a couple of days ago and seem to be enjoying it, although they haven't got the hang of going to be in the house yet.  Going by comb and wattle development i thik we have 4 boys and 8 girls, if i'm right i'll be very pleased with that! Interesting all of the 5 dark birds look like girls. The crests of the legbar crosses are just starting to appear too.

The next lot are due to hatch on Friday. I haven't candled these ones and they were from an ebay seller so i'm keeping everything crossed at the moment!

The black chickens eggs if she is indeed sat on some would have been due today. We havent seen her since we got back but she was seen by the chicken sitters while we were away so we will wait to see whether she reappears some time son with a brood in tow.

Ponies look good and as we have finally signed for the new field and stables we hpe to move them on there next weekend and give their current pasture a break.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Well over the last week i have been outwitted by both a chicken and a pig!

The missing chicken is alive and well. She tends to appear when i go to feed the ponies and comes to hoover up the bits they drop. Thing is we never see where she comes from! I've tried hanging around to see where she goes back too but she refuses to go until your not looking, she scoots off the second your attention is distracted by something else! So i still have no idea where she's sitting or how many eggs she has!

As for the pigs well what a learning curve this week has been! It started at the beginning of the week with a large swelling appearing in the groin of one of our 3 boars. I was baffled as to what it could be and could only guess at hernia because of its location. A few days later we actually rather unpleasantly discovered that it is in fact an abscess caused by a wound on his buttock. The wound is tiny, it looks like a puncture wound but i can't find anything in the pen that could have caused it so i am suspecting a bite or sting that has got infected. We had help to drain it aw much as we can and the swelling has reduced a lot but there is still a hard lump a bit smaller than a tennis ball and he is still limping. He is on antibiotics but there lies our problem! The AB's are via intramuscular injection. Just how do you persuade a boar to stand still for that?? The answer is i have no idea! He totally outwitted us last night and we had to admit defeat! We have a few different tricks up our sleeve to try later so i shall report back on how we manage it...and we WILL manage it today!

Oh and i failed to keep my hands down at the meeting last week and am now secretary to the Village Hall Committee!!

There are 24 legbar eggs loaded in my incubator due to hatch 8th July :) The current chicks are feathering up well and really need to get out on the grass a bit now. They are off heat altogether as of last night and will be 4 weeks on Thursday.

Right we are going camping next week so i'd best go and start writing the 'instruction manuals' to leave with the various neighbours looking after the different wildlife for us! Oh how i love my lists!!!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

We are missing a hen. One of the ones with a tendancy for broodiness. I've searched all of the hedgerows and can't see her anywhere so i guess we have to wait 3 weeks and see whether she turns up with babies in tow. If not she will have been taken by a fox or a buzzard. Time will tell...

The chicks are almost 3 weeks old now and are off heat during the day. I decided to go with a 'chick led weaning' method on the heat and just watched them closely to see when they looked like they needed it back on. This started with an hour here and there and increased to a morning and afternoon block and then mid morning to early evening and now thay are going roughly 7-7 and i will probably increase that to 7-9 ish in the next couple of days.

They are growing well and getting lots of feathers. I must have changed my mind a hundred times about which are girls and which are boys! Again, time will tell!

The next lot of eggs have been ordered and should arrive any day. 24 Cream Legbars this time. I need to make a decision about what i will do with the males when they hatch. Researching the best methods of culling chicks isn't a fun prospect.

The pigs are also growing well and while they are still not huge they are now getting to a size where it's a little intimidating to be in a pen with 3 lively boars hoping for some food! They will be with us until August but i've been starting to give a bit of thought to what happens next. Ulitmately we hope to be able to breed on a very small scale but i think we will have another, larger batch of weaners before we even think about going down that route. I'd really like to have a few Oxford Sandy and Blacks next time, i think they are just lovely to look at and sound like they would be well suited to our set up. I think we will probably wait until next spring before we get the next batch now.

We are still waiting to sign for the extra land we are going to be renting which is holding everything up a bit at the moment. This had been going on since the beginning of May so we are really keen to get it all sorted now. The ponies desperately need the grass and we can get on with marking our the space for the pigs and fencing the new layers run for the chickens to move into.

I've had a bit of interest in the hatching for schools programme now called The Eggciting Eggs Hatching Programme! I have put a leaflet together to go out to schools and nurseries, it just needs a bit of tweaking as soon as i get chance.

I've got a village hall committee meeting this evening. Must resist the temptation to volunteer myself for anything else, i really don't have the time right now!

Must get the camera out and upload some of the recent photos and take some more.

Monday, 13 June 2011

This post is off on a bit of a tangent but something i feel quite strongly about. Grace was emptying the cards out of Nick's wallet at the weekend and as i was trying to retrieve all of the important ones from her she handed me his blood donor card. I have never given blood despite the best of intentions. I have a bit of a needle phobia and was trying to overcome this so that i could but unfortunately i was on medication for quite a while that prevented me from doing so and by the time that was out of my system long enough i was pregnant. If it hadn't been for some other wonderful people out there who did give blood that pregnancy would have ended with me dead and my baby daughter left without her mum.

The birth of my daughter was a string of rare complications. My pelvis is the wrong shape for getting a baby out so my labour failed to progress. The failure to progress lead to a constriction band forming around my uterus and trapping Grace by her shoulders. This was discovered during the emergency c-section. I also have severe endometriosis. One of the results of this is that some of my internal organs are fused together with scar tissue. When they opened me up they had to detach my bladder from my uterus before they could get Grace out. Endometriosis causes the tissues around it to become brittle. When they made the insiscion in my uterus, which had to be extended because she was stuck, it tore most of the way around and detached the main artery to the uterus. I lost 3.5 litres of blood in a very short space of time. My poor husband watched the whole thing while he sat with our new baby girl. I am blood type A-, not the rarest but not the most common either. There was none in the hopsital. It had to be flown in from elsewhere. Nine units of blood products later and i was beginning to feel a bit more alive and with help was able to nurse my baby.

It has taken me quite a while to come to terms with what happened but i can now focus on the positive outcome. Most of all i am incredibly grateful to everyone who gives blood because someone out there saved my life and allowed me to know my beautiful daughter. I can't give blood now because i have had a transfusion but if one person reads my story and is inspired to give blood as a result then at least i have achieved something positive that way.

Please, please if you can, do.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Its been a busy few days hence the lack of blogging! I'm grabbing a few minutes while Grace naps to get upto date.

The weekend was 'birthday weekend' with both mine and Nick's birthdays only a couple of days apart. This year was Nick's 30th so we had a big bbq with friends and family. A magical afternoon and evening drinking the homemade elderflower champagne (a huge success), and homemade lemonade as well as eating mountains of food and ending the evening sat around the bonfire chatting with friends. Lovely.

During that party an idea was born and exciting things may be in the pipeline. Can't really say too much yet but a friend and i are meeting this week to discuss the idea and decide whether it's feasible so hopeflly i shall reveal more very soon.

The chicks are still growing at a phenomenal rate. Due to a delay in finishing the 'shed brooder' they are still in the kitchen but have really outgrown their giant guinea pig cage now and need the extra space. All being well they will move out tonight. The next lot of eggs will be going in the incubator next week and i have had preorders on some of these already!

Priorities for next week is to try and find time to ride the old lady which i haven't done for about a fortnight and she really needs the work and sort a run for the garden to get the chicks out on grass in nice weather