Friday, 17 April 2015

Newbie on the Farm

Jaffa, our angus x dexter has had a lovely little calf.

Yesterday at feed up time I noticed Jaffa laying down looking really suspicious. Her due date was apparently "March or April" but we've been waiting on Twiggy as she has been bagged up and swollen all week.

Well, Jaffa had only about an inch of goo, but I didn't want her in with the young bull trying to calve so I put her and Heidi (black dexter) into the paddock with the sheep shelter. Luckily they both happened to be standing right by the gate and the bull was a long way off. Just as I closed the gate I saw she had the waters showing.

Twenty minutes from bubble to calf on it's feet and looking for milk. Textbook thank goodness because I was here by myself.

So, a little red heifer (or maybe dun). She's dexter x angus mum and dexter dad I think. Jaffa kept wiping her off the udder and walking forward to graze, didn't even lick her off properly, and I was starting to worry. But the little girl was so determined to get those teats, she figured out at 15 mins old if she went in behind she could walk forward when mum did and not get wiped off !

Her name is Scully and here she is at approximately 20 hrs old.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Goings on in the Henhouse

It's all happening at the Scottsdale chookhouse. New arrivals, renovations and chickies !

First, the chickies. The black hen was set up in her new fancy coop and duly hatched four chicks from six eggs. The remaining two eggs were infertile.

Antonia is holding three of the four chicks, teeny tiny little bundles of fuzz !

They have been on a diet of pellets, grains, milk and scraps plus all the bugs they can catch. The little black hen has been a great mum, very careful and caring. She has raised them well and they are nearly as big as her now.

It is likely that the white one with brown wings is a rooster, the plain white one is probably a hen, and the jury is still out on the black one and the barred one.

As the days shorten the rest of the chooks are laying fewer eggs. Some are moulting and some are responding to the lessening of daylight. As crossbreds their laying schedules are varied. It was time to spruce up the chook house, both for warmth and for the arrival of some new girls to boost the ranks.

The palings cladding the walls could be up to 40 years old and are more of an optical illusion than a weather protection.

After pulling off the old palings the frame needed a few extra supports, but wasn't in bad shape considering. Martijin, a HelpXer from the Netherlands, worked alongside DH on this job.

You can see the new walls at the front and the older section still awaiting work at the back. It's weather tight and tidy, I am well pleased with the result !

A shot of the inside showing the new bracing.

The cladding was completed just in time for the arrival of seven new pullets. More crossbreds of no particular breed, but raised under hen and already free ranging and foraging. They have settled in well and are easy on the eye too. It never hurts to have variety in the flock.