Luckily there was no one around at 4am on Sunday morning otherwise they would have seen me in the front paddock in my pyjamas trying to round up chickens. The dog began barking and so I opened to the window to see what was occurring, plenty of squeal from my chickens……fox, I grabbed the torch, put my shoes on and ran out there. The fox had got in the pen, the battery was not only low but the earth wire had come off rendering it useless, he had tried to drag out one of the chickens from underneath the coop. We gathered up any hens that had got out and put them in the more secure big coop, put a new battery on and went back inside. I didn’t bother going back to bed however just in case he came back again, in the morning I could see which hen he had tried to get as she had a bald bleeding patch and was standing on one leg, I assume he had pulled it and it was hurting. I took her out of the run and fixed her up, put her in the back run where she promptly laid an egg. She is still looking a bit sorry for herself and I am unsure if she is going to recover, the shock can often kill them very easily.
The rest of the week has passed by without any drama I am glad to say. The weather has been great and we have been able to get on with plenty of outdoor jobs, the weeding of the large veg beds is almost complete with just one more to do, I have adopted a little and often approach and we are much further ahead this year than last so I do not feel under any pressure. We dug up all the remaining leeks to make way for this years veg and there are plenty of them and in good condition, not rotting in the ground kick last year. I will use a few of them to make batches of leek and potato soup for the freezer, but if anyone wants some just give me a shout. The broad beans, peas, garlic and carrots in the poly tunnel are coming along nicely they will be a welcome early harvest and the rhubarb is growing quickly so it won’t be long before we are eating home grown produce again.
Sunday was a most glorious day and the tractor actually started for a change so we got it out and dragged the paddocks that needed doing. We drag them to break up any lumps of mud, pull out any thatch and spread and muck that is still on the ground so that the grass grows a bit more evenly. We tried rolling but it is still a little soft and the tractor got stuck more than once and so we will wait until next weekend and try again. It is a fine balance because while most of the paddock is drying out fast, the poached areas near the gateways are still boggy and difficult to roll, but if you leave it too long it bakes hard and is too lumpy to roll, timing is key.
The eggs from the incubator hatched out on Friday, I currently have seven Norfolk Greys and three Light Sussex bantams, I have more eggs on the way, all bantams, Rhode Island Reds and Lemon Pekins, they will go in this week. This year is all about the birds, I have just ordered sixty point of lay hens on top of the sixty arriving in April, I have also ordered six day old geese and 12 day old meat birds, as well as the twelve day old ducks arriving soon, plenty of new birds to keep me busy on the farm in the next couple of months.
These are the newest arrivals in the brooder, I have just bought an extra large indoor rabbit cage for them to move into when they get big enough 🙂