Butterflies, slow worms, new chickens ducks and cockerels.
Lush plants, quacks and crows:
Last month I mentioned we have more nettles than vegetables, well after a month of sun and rain, we seem to have grown record breaking stingers! We have never seen Mantel Farm as lush at this time of year; a combination of little gardening and this years weather conditions have resulted in a forest of nettles and other weeds spreading strongly amongst the loaded fruit trees. The advantage is that we are also seeing more butterflies, moths and reptiles than ever before. We have even spotted a few Peacock butterflies and slow worms, our garden pond is full of frogs and and we now have a resident toad in our greenhouse. A great sight when a few years ago the ground was fairly bare, having historically been intensively used for chickens. So the old saying '1 years seeding, 7 years weeding' (it never encouraged me to pick up a hoe during weekends spent at Mum & Dads allotment!) still seems very true, however it is not working for my wildflower seeds spread around the edge of the car park earlier in the year, with not a single flower showing itself yet!
This month has seen lots of new arrivals, a new flock of Hybrids are here and we have a few new breeds; no details are yet available on our website, just come and have a look; they include a Millefleur looking hen, a lavender splash and a new blue egg layer. We also have lots of Pekins, these little birds are only young so need a few more weeks to grow before we can let them go, but they are available to reserve and fall in love with!
We also have a little flock of call ducks. We have been trying to source good quality, well reared ducks for a long time now and finally have a little flock to offer, so if you are looking for ducks, dont leave it too long to pop along and see them (in the pen by the bee apiary) as they are likely to be the only ones this year.
And not forgetting our new Brahma cockeral in the pen by our house - how could I forget after the early morning wake up call this morning!
Call ducks make lovely garden pets, and help with slug and pest control with less damage to plants than chickens, and less mud than larger breeds of ducks. The girls have a loud quack, the boys are very quiet.
We are hearing lots of reports of serious red mite infestations: The hot, wet weather this summer seems perfect for mites, so to keep your hens happy and healthy you should be checking and treating for mite regularly. More info can be found in Jasons Red Mite articles:
Our 2 recommended products for Red Mite prevention and treatment. Spray and powder the chicken house regularly, concentrating on the ends of hte perching rails and you should keep these nasty mites away
Apologies Amandas notes are a little late this month but there is still lots of great info to read and tips to help, inlcuding the honey crop, winter bees, feeding, mite control, things to do and latest research....