Newsletter October 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

Autumn-fall and Feed Re-fills

Courses continue, cancelled Apple Day

27th September 2020

Apparently, Autumn is here and there is no escaping it when we step out of our door in the morning to see the Horse Chestnut Trees changing colour and dropping their leaves and conkers on our track.  The Oaks have produced so many acorns this year, much to the joy of the pigs who spend all day searching for them!   


It has been a challenging summer here as it has for everyone, sometimes it is difficult to think summer has come and gone, the weeks have passed so quickly and as you may have noticed there has been no regular newsletter - apologies for not keeping in touch as much as usual but it really has been heads down with focus on keeping everything moving forward.  We have been very fortunate to keep the business going throughout lockdown and we will continue to do our best as we move into the winter.  Our shop has now moved back indoors, although for now it is just to the counter area and we will gather your items for you, we feel this is the best way for us to keep everyone as safe as possible for the time being.  It does mean however that on a Sunday you could find yourself waiting outside; great for distancing but we appreciate it is not so great if it is cold or raining! so we will make use of our large undercover training area for a waiting area and will also continue to offer pre-arranged collection times on a Friday & Saturday so that you can book in advance and come straight into the shop, or dont forget we can deliver to your door - more info can be found below.


New Refills:

During lockdown when our shop moved outdoors, we managed to have a refit of our counter area, so the old desk and makeshift worktops have gone (the desk is now where it should be in the office as we couldn't part with it after all these years!!) and instead we have a nice new counter, made out of reclaimed timber and polished with local beeswax.  We have also been able to build a new refill area, giving us space to offer refills on the majority of our chicken feeds, bird seeds, poultry shield etc.  so our 1.5kg single use plastic bags and 5kg brown paper bags have now gone and replaced with refillable pots (that don’t tear as you walk up the track!)  Just use your tub (or any container you have) and we will fill it with feed for you and you get a refill stamp each time - 10 stamps for a free refill.    


We have also introduced a new range of of eco home products, including local handmade soaps, refillable organic washing up liquid, surface spray and laundry liquid, along with eco brushes and loofahs.  I had hoped to have all these products on the website before this newsletter, but they will be there soon and all are now available in the shop (the soaps are listed and well worth a look as they are lovely to use and make great gifts:)

Handmade soaps by Mollie Florence Holistics
Vegan, Cruelty Free, 100% Natural,
RSPO Certified, Fully Registered


And finally a dilemma; what to call our lovely new Brahma cockerel pictured above!!  

Our lovely young Columbian Brahma cockeral needs a name and we are hoping you can give us some suggestions? He's lovely and friendly (a great distraction!) and he will be staying with us on the farm. Please give us your ideas on our facebook page and we'll put them all into a draw and pick one on World Animal Day (4 October). Thank you



ECO Product of the month...

2Ltr and 5Ltr Refills of Feeds...

It is now much easier to see the range of treats and seeds we have available in our small and medium tubs and with winter approaching a treat feed in the afternoons can help your flock get through the longer winter nights.  This can be a simple treat of mixed corn or mash or maybe an extra special treat of super corn or kibbled maize.


And don’t forget about the wild birds too, with our standard and premium bird seed mixes, mealworms, peanuts and sunflower hearts.


All are now available in refillable tubs, just bring along your tub, ask for a refill card and after 10 refills get one refill free. 


Training Courses...

2020 Courses to continue where possible and 2021 course dates available soon

As lockdown began to ease we were again able to re-schedule our courses and although restrictions have since increased again we are pleased to be able to say we can still offer our courses in small groups using our outdoor area.


If you have booked onto a chicken or beekeeping course you should now have a confirmed date arranged, the willow courses have been more challenging due to the nature of the course and the seasonality of willow, however we have now been able to confirm the first dates for our willow courses and will soon be arranging more in the spring.


We are also working on our courses for 2021 and if you had booked onto a postponed course during 2020 you will get first choice of these dates.


Cancelled Apple Day 4th October

We have however sadly decided to cancel our planned Apple Day.  Having given it lots of consideration we have decided it is simply too difficult to maintain strict social distancing while pulping and juicing all the apples that are brought along.  If you have apples that you would like to turn to juice please contact Sassie of Eve Apples directly and she can come to you garden:

07540 118131   


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.


Local Home Delivery...

Place your order through our website, select the appropriate 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:

This summer has been a challenging one for our bees given the extreme heat we experienced during the height of the summer.  However, they have pulled through remarkably well. Bees really are incredible.


We've finished any treatments necessary and given them additional syrup where necessary. One hive even gave us a nice super of delicious honey. I think it had notes of chocolate — no idea where that came from!


We've managed to have several of our bee courses in our outside training area and I managed to spot and Mark a queen with a small group just the other weekend.


As the weather is beginning to cool down and become wetter, we're inspecting the hives less frequently and soon they will be left alone until the spring. Checking on them occasionally over the winter to make sure they're not light on feed in the form of fondant...Josh


Amandas Beekeeping notes ...

I have seen a few European hornets around cruising up and down my flowerbeds looking for unwary insects, but more on my apples and having picked all the good ones I have left the damaged ones in the hope the hornets and wasps stay there and leave my bees alone. I have also had a hornet-mimic hoverfly try for several minutes to get into a nuc but the bees shooed it off ....


More here


Chicken update ...


Hybrid Hens:

Brown Rangers : We still have some Brown Ranger hens available, these can be ordered on our website and collected during October.


October hens:  Our mixed flock of October hens have now sold out and we are currently arranging collection times.  This is the last flock of coloured hybrids for the year and we will soon be listing next year’s flock on our website.   

Hybrid Hens


Pekin Bantam Hens:

September flock: After a slight delay, our September pekins are now ready for collection from next weekend and we are currently contacting everyone who has placed an order to arrange a collection time.


October flock:  This will be our last flock of pekins hatched for the year, they will be around 12 weeks old towards the end of October and available for collection then.  Pre-orders can be placed through our website with your preferred colours noted in the customer comments box.

Pekin Bantams


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