The girls are finally laying again now after their ‘Winter’ break – it’s been a good 6 months this time. They are getting on a bit now and their egg production had certainly slowed down significantly toward the end of the Summer last year. Continue reading We’re Back in Business!
It’s been a week since the avian flu restrictions in Scotland were lifted and the girls regained their freedom and now we have our first egg of 2017 – better late than never I guess!
Well done Rose, now Betty it’s your turn…..
Guess that also means we need to start thinking about ripping down their temporary run and getting back to building the new one so that we can get some new chickens to join our little flock.
Just as we were starting to get excited about the brief whiff of Spring we had, the snow returned – whilst it looks beautiful here when the white stuff comes down, it does rather dampen the enthusiasm a little.
Our new heated propagator has arrived – after much deliberation, I finally decided on one with six smaller trays as it seemed the best value for the most space (it was £40 from Thompson & Morgan), along with a load of seeds that I’ve optimistically ordered – our season is so short here that growing from seed is a risky business so hopefully the propagator should help things along.
I’m especially excited about some of the tomato seeds we’ve got – Indigo Cherry Drops, a dark purply colour that will go nicely with a mixture of other yellows and reds in a variety of sizes. We also bought some companion plants to help control pests – marigolds, calendula and cosmos – time will tell if this works but at east things will look pretty as well. It’s all about biodiversity this year…
The Avian Flu restrictions that were in place have now been lifted in Scotland, a low-risk zone, meaning that as long as extra biosecurity measures have been taken (removing bird feeders etc) that our birds are allowed back outside. I was very excited although with fresh snow on the ground they had to be coaxed with mealworms initially. Now we just need them to start laying again – another effect of them being cooped up for 3 months.
Yesterday we had an update on the Avian Flu restrictions – good news and bad, the Prevention Zone covering Scotland will now be extended until the end of April, however, as it’s deemed a low-risk zone we will be allowed to let our hens out on the 28th February as long as we have enhanced biosecurity to minimise the risk of infection from wild birds.
It doesn’t state what these enhanced biosecurity measures are so it looks like that’s up to us, so, as we’re interpreting this – as long as we’ve done the little things that we can, like remove bird feeders from the garden, we should be set to give the girls back their freedom.
It seems like an awfully long time since the restrictions first came in at the start of December – can’t wait to see them back out foraging round the garden and hopefully they’ll laying eggs again!
It’s exceptionally mild today and my thoughts can’t help but look toward Spring. Despite the freezing temperatures for a large part of the Winter, we’ve had very little snow in comparison to previous years. I haven’t forgotten the heavy snow at the end of April 2016 that brought the chicken run down though.
The rhubarb is bursting out of the ground just now and our seed potatoes have arrived – this year I’ve gone for Epicure (had to be really :o), Mayan Gold, a favourite with top chefs, Salad Blue – they’re actually blue all the way through and some Pink Fir Apples because I liked the name. This year I won’t make the same mistake I did last year – I put them out too early and a few late frosts meant we didn’t get great yields in comparison with the year before.
None of the Spring bulbs seem to be coming up – they were from two years ago and I replanted them using a multilayering method last year, guess they didn’t like it as they’re not playing ball. I have however ordered a load of summer bulbs for the front garden.
The hens are still incarcerated because of the avian flu restrictions – with an increasing number of outbreaks being confirmed down South the past couple of weeks I’m not sure they’ll have their sentences commuted on the 28th February either. I guess time will tell…
This morning we lost Marge to a fox. Our fault entirely for forgetting to shut them up in their coop last night.
Thankfully neighbours were woken by the noise and came to alert us at about 5.30am, they shoo-d the fox away leaving Marge dead by our back door, Rose missing (last seen in the fox’s mouth being taken down the garden) and Betty, alive but very frightened.
There were feathers EVERYWHERE all around the garden!
A few searches, after hearing a chicken down the bottom of the garden, and we found Rose, alive and well if a little ruffled behind our shed, she must’ve managed to get away -I can’t tell you the relief. Clever girl.
It could have been SO much worse, if it’d been dark and they’d been in their coop we’d have lost the lot and likewise, if the neighbours hadn’t heard and scared the fox off, the same result.
Clearly, we’re feeling pretty rubbish but we did bury Marge in a nice spot by the river and hopefully Rose and Betty will settle down (and grow their feathers back) soon.
Another sad day in our Pentland Garden.
We’re just back from a lovely trip around the Highlands and sadly lost our two new girls to a fox while we were away.
These things happen, but it does go to show that we really need to get the roof of the chicken run sorted, it collapsed under the heavy snow we had at the end of April and as the chickens are shut in a coop at night, we hadn’t quite gotten around to fixing it back up properly.
I saw this gorgeous one in a gardening magazine a couple of weeks back but at £800 it’s a serious investment. Think I’ll need to hop onto Pinterest and see what else is around. In the meantime, we’ll have to make sure that both S and Cosmo are peeing in the garden to keep the fox away. Yes, it is true that male human urine is an excellent fox deterrent.
In other sad news, the Bonsai that we recently took to our local Society has well and truly died – they did warn us that as they’d cut away so many of the roots it might happen so RIP Bonsai too.
Looks like the nice weather is set to continue for a few days and I’m on holiday so itching to get back out in the garden.