Monday: Made a few adjustment to a couple of the pens in order to make life a little easier for all of us, trying to give them something new each day so that they don’t get bored, hanging up a cabbage for them to peck or putting in a pile of hay for them to scratch through. The ducks are slightly different as they don’t eat much fresh stuff and are not bothered about scratching up but they do panic a fair amount when you go near them so I have put in a hurdle with a mat over for them to hide behind if they want to. The outside run covered in tarp is holding up but the chickens look decidedly fed up already, the netting still hasn’t arrived so I can’t even net the rest and let them have more space at the minute. Sam and I spent a couple of hours making bits for the Christmas feast table and then we did a mock up to see how it was going to look and I am quite pleased with the result, here is a sneak preview.
After the afternoon feeding and egg collecting I had to give the quail a clean out poor things have been overlooked all week, then wash the dogs as they are getting filthy with this wet muddy weather.
Tuesday: Another drizzly morning, at this point in the year I am hoping for more frosty days than not but the temps are staying quite high and so wet and muddy it is. We all seem to have settled into a new morning routine but as it’s slightly different I nearly forgot to let the geese out this morning and had to go back, they need to be kept in but the net I need still isn’t here I am beginning to think it will never arrive.
Back indoors to sort out a bit of paperwork and some odd jobs including looking through presents I have got and what I still need to get, which thankfully is not much.
Had Mia for a couple of hours in the afternoon.
Wash the dogs again, I will be sick of doing that by the end of winter too 😖
Wednesday: I can’t believe how mild it is, I can easily walk around in a single layer and not feel cold at all. I probably shouldn’t though with this cough and sore throat malarkey, I will be glad to see the back of it and get a decent nights sleep instead of coughing all night. Did the morning rounds, most birds seem happy enough if a little over excited to see me, one or two are having a hard time in the laying flock, a couple are getting picked on, normally they would be able to keep well out of the way of any bullied but when confined it’s more difficult. I was thinking as I went round this morning that I can’t see the point of keeping them in really after all if the bird flu hits the area in wild birds there will be a cull anyway and you can’t stop the wild birds getting it. I feel sorry for the garden birds they are clearly used to feeding off my hens and ducks feed and now it’s not available to them, if the weather turns harsh there will be a natural cull of its own through starvation.
Got an early start on a stew for tea later and we plan to make mince pies this evening so I will be making pastry today. For the first time in a week I feel that normality, such as it is, has resumed and I can focus on the day to day stuff.
Went to get the Christmas tree, we always have a real one and in the old days the girls would go off with their Dad and bring back an enormous tree that we usually had to cut the top and bottom off of, in later years the girls did it between them and now everyone has left home I can at last pick a tree that fits nicely, does not take up half the sitting room and doesn’t need pruning before we can get it in 😜
I got the night wrong for mince pies but made the pastry anyway, ready for tomorrow night.
Thursday: Went round and did the morning feeding, a bit of cleaning out etc and then take a battery to connect to the solar panel on the front chicken hut, as John has cleaned it out we decided to put some of the chickens back in there to relieve the crowded situation under the tarp area, it is a little on the dark side in there but with a light on it should be fine for around 15 chickens, and it’s got to be better than the muddy area they are in now. The netting finally arrived but although it’s very long it’s not really wide enough to cover the expanse I had in mind, if the ground becomes too unbearable I will move the last lot into a stable for the duration. A mornings work done outside, I am off indoors to do some ‘normal’ stuff and maybe catch up with The Walking Dead 😝
Did some sorting out of the spare room, my aim is to furnish and decor it for next to nothing, so far apart from new sheets and duvet covers for single beds I have blown a budget of 99p for a foldaway bed on eBay, everything else I have up-cycled, been given or had in storage somewhere, very pleasing.
Made around 6 dozen mince pies in the evening with Shelley and trialled mince meat popcorn, I’m not such a fan of pop corn as the bits get stuck in my teeth and throat lol.
Friday: Did the morning rounds, everyone seems fine and mostly happy, I have been giving them some butternut squash and apples to peck on to try and stop any boredom. Then indoors to tidy up and light the fire as I am off to Joshua’s little party for his friends for his birthday.
Came back and did the afternoon feeding and collected the eggs, I was worried at the beginning of the week that the customers were not coming but the eggs are going thick and fast towards the end of the week.
In between feeding and putting to bed, rumours began to emerge about a possible case of bird flu on a Turkey farm in Lincolnshire, as yet unconfirmed, time to prepare the geese for lock down, I cleaned them out quickly, put in new bedding and moved their water tubs inside, luckily both huts are big enough to house them albeit a little restricting. We will have to wait for the reports to be confirmed to see what happens next.
Ordered some big bales of straw, we are going to need them, and the log delivery finally arrived, although we have cut plenty of logs from the felled trees they need to season for a year or more before they can be used.
Saturday: I am not happy with the conditions the chooks under the tarp are living in, there are too many in there so after feeding and cleaning out we set about making a stable ready for 26 of the hens to move to, we moved 5 more to their original hut in the paddock making a total of 20 in there, it’s more spread out and more work but I feel it is better for their wellbeing in the long run. The geese were not too happy about being kept in but better safe than sorry I say, the delivery of straw arrived mid morning and after that I set about putting up the Christmas tree in the front room and decorating for the festivities. Commence the yearly battle to detangle the Christmas tree lights 😜 I really must put them away nicely next year to save me an hour or so!
Early evening we went over to Charlie and Macca’s little cottage to sit by the fire and partake of some mulled cider, their first Christmas in their new home together and it is all looking very cosy indeed 😀
Sunday: I was up early and as some of the birds are indoors I can easily get started on the feeding and watering etc, again the geese were vocal about being kept in but they will get used to it eventually 😖 I have a poorly chicken, not bird flu though, but the one with the impacted crop that had it before, at the moment I have separated her and I will try and massage it free but to be honest it keeps happening so culling may be the only answer for her.
Off to Sainsbury’s as early as possible so we don’t get trampled in the pre Christmas stampede to empty the shelves as if there is to be a holocaust!
Had a relaxing afternoon, then went to the pub for early evening drinks, great not to have to worry about shutting the birds away.
Busy morning, getting bits ready for Christmas, the home made tipples and goodies for presents, the sprouts picked, and the stock on the go for the big feast.