Wind, wind and more wind
The recent high winds played havoc with pretty much everything on the farm. We lost part of the roof of the large chicken house, the asphalt which was on the small chicken house ended up in a field about half a kilometre away and the newly erected fencing around our extended planting area was blown down. Unfortunately the fence landed slap bang in the middle of the pea bed, which up until then had been looking pretty healthy.
With the fence down the chickens and ducks took their opportunity to raid the vegetable patch pretty well demolishing the lettuces, the surviving pea plants, the broad beans, broccoli and the tops of the carrots.
The wind was followed by pretty heavy rainfall which proceeded to turn the field into a mud bath, making it impossible to even try and carry out repairs to the fencing and housing – oh yes and it was cold as well.
On a more positive note, the chickens carried on laying, despite the poor weather and shorter days and the planting areas which we had recently manured and rotovated got a good soaking and there is certainly plenty of good grazing for the goats.
At the time of writing the wind has dropped to a slight breeze, the sun is out, the ground has dried and we are finally starting to get on top of the repairs, so onwards and upwards.
Our two girl goats are just over a year old now and ready to mate. Our neighbour, Emilio, suggested that we took his male goat for a month and basically let nature take its course.
This was a good arrangement for both of us, Emilio got his goat fed for a month and we didn’t have to buy a male goat.
Emilio brought his goat over one Sunday in early January and although our girls were a little unsure, Billy (Emilio doesn´t give his animals names, so we just called him Billy), seemed very pleased with the arrangement and was keen to proceed with his given task.
5 weeks later, Billy returned to his own girls, after his pleasant little holiday and we are certain that Loli is pregnant and we are fairly sure that Molly is too. If they are we can expect the kids to be born in June and with any luck there will be milk to spare for our cheese making.
We have also recently purchased two new, female, Murcian baby goats. They are absolutely stunning and when the time is right they should be excellent milk providers. We are still bottle feeding them four times a day at the moment which is great fun and really helps with the bonding process. We will be weaning them off the milk next week and we will then integrate them in with the other two goats and Meme the sheep.
At the beginning of February we incubated another 20 chicken eggs, kindly provided by our Sussex hens. We were absolutely delighted that we managed to successfully hatch 16 chicks, (our best hatch rate yet) to add to our flock. The Sussex are beautiful birds, great egg layers and because they are large they are also excellent for meat.
Despite the weather we have been able to start our planting in the greenhouse. We currently have three varieties of tomatoes, leeks, onions, kale, cucumbers and peppers pretty much ready to plant out once we are sure the weather is not going to turn and obviously once the fence has been properly rebuilt and made chicken proof.