Newsletter July 2020

Mantel Farm is a family run garden farming business located in the heart of the East Sussex countryside
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Mantel Farm bees and ducks in lockdown and the negative impact of Covid-19 for refill shops

2nd July 2020

Being at home many of us have been able to let our little flocks venture out and about more in our gardens.  Our trio of Aylesbury ducks live in a lovely pen and enjoy some supervised trips into the garden...

It is always lovely watching them dabble in the grass and become more confident in how far they venture each day - but they soon find the flower beds!  On occasions this doesn't really matter as they love searching for slugs and don't really eat the plants (unlike the hens) but they are so clumsy and heavy and in their excitement they soon trample on everything!  So garden visits have to be limited and I have to put up with those sideward glares until I feel guilty and let them out for a while or give them a treat of lettuce leaves.


It's also been a rather eventful beekeeping season for us here at the farm and Josh has given an update below, along with Amanda’s usual notes from her Apiary.


For the time being we are continuing with our current shopping arrangements,  limiting the risk for our customers, staff and business as much as possible, please see more info below and we hope to soon be able to welcome you back into our farm shop and chicken areas. 


It is concerning to hear how the Covid-19 pandemic is having a negative impact on the many new refill shops that are popping up around the country - with so many touch-points these shops are finding it hard to re-open to the public even as restrictions ease.  A recent survey also found that less than 12 months ago; 51 per cent of consumers complained that their food was wrapped in too many layers of unnecessary packaging, then with Covid-19 upon us in April, 40 per cent of consumers said they’d  changed their views on packaging with 66 per cent saying they now see it in a far more positive light.  We really hope this change in viewpoint is only temporary and we are determined to continue to offer refills for our products as much as possible - after all, if a business like ours doesn't strive to improve and reduce plastic use how will we ever beat the plastic problems?



ECO Product of the month...

Poultry Shield Refills...

This month our featured ECO product is Poultry Shield, in our opinion a must have product for all chicken keepers to  keep away the dreaded red mite.


Earlier in the year we were really pleased that the manufacturer of Poultry Shield agreed to supply us with a bulk quantity of liquid so that we could offer refills, saving the need for a new plastic bottle with every purchase.  This makes us the first retailer in the country to offer Poultry Shield Refills, then as the large container arrived we went into lockdown and couldnt offer a refill service to our customers!  but now with lockdown easing we have set up a drum of poultry shield on a table outside so that refills can be made easily and saftely with gloves and gel at hand, so please bring along and refill your 1Ltr or 5Ltr poultry shield bottle* and not only will you help to reduce plastic use but you will get a refill stamp saving 10%**

*please note only poultry shield bottles can be used

**Fill your card with 10 stamps then refill for free.


Current Shopping Arrangements:


Cluck & collect 

Fridays and Saturdays...

Place your order though our website, select customer collection and we will confirm a collection time with you.

You will have a dedicated half hour collection slot and so be the only customer at the farm.  


Call in and collect Sundays ...

Simply call to our farm, place your order, pay by card and we will get your order ready and take it to your car for you.  If there are customers in front please wait in the marked spaces maintaining 2m distancing.


Home Delivery...

Place your order through our website, select the appropiate delivery option (dependant on you address) and we will confirm a date to deliver to your door.


Further afield?...

Many of our items are available on our website for courier delivery, just select this option at the checkout.  


Please note:  All livestock sales are currently being made by pre-order and collection only to avoid any queues or disappointed visits to our farm.  Your ordered birds will be popped in a chicken run ready for you to see so that you can ensure you are happy with your choice before taking them home.  You will have an allocated half hour appointment so that you have time to discuss any chicken keeping questions you may have with our staff.


Notes from our Apiary:

We've had a couple of swarms leave, which depleated one of our larger colonies. Sadly, we had a rather cooler and wetter week in May and that meant that we were unable to check on them. I'm almost certain that the congestuon caused by fewer bees flying for this time had a role to play.


Upon opening the hives the week after we did have several virgin queens, which we used to queenright one of our others and create two new colonies.  Since then our bees are doing well. One hive we did a shook swarm on last week, which we hope will draw out decent comb unlike how it had built out previously.   They've got plenty of stores as they've got two supers.


Our other three colonies also seem to be doing well with mated queens in all of them.  With the recent rainfall and so much in bloom, there is a fair nectar flow on at the moment.


I will update you all again soon with how they're doing...Josh


Amandas Beekeeping notes ...

How different this year is to this time last year... when I had been suffering with rainy weather, poor queen mating, slow nectar flow or the bees not wanting to go out to collect it. This year, touch wood, is going to be one I will remember for a while with a smile, and that includes being at home more to look after them....


More here


Chicken update ...


Hybrid Hens:

July hens:  Our July flock have arrived so if you have ordered hens from this flock you will soon be contacted to arrange a collection time.

August hens:  These flocks of hens are now reserved and we will contact you in August to arrange a collection date.

September hens:  Our September flock are now available to order on our website.   

Hybrid Hens


Pekin Bantam Hens:

Our June pekins have now been collected and we have a few available, please see on our website for up to date stock (look for the little 'in stock traffic light sign' for available colours.  We are also taking orders through our wesite for future flocks.  

Pekin Bantams


Pure Breeds:

We have just a few odd (but lovely!) left overs available and will pop picures and info on our facebook page when we can.




This years Quail have now all sold.


Animal Boarding...

Holiday bookings for 2020 onwards

As people manage to rearrange their summer holidays our boarding pens are getting booked quickly, so if you would like your hens to holiday with us dont leave it too late to place your booking!  





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