Newsletter March 2021

Mantel Farm is a family run garden farming business located in the heart of the East Sussex countryside
facebook twitter pinterest instagram
trustpilot reviews

Mantel Farm Newsletter - March 2021

Spring Projects - Growing Veg, Herbs and a new Bee Garden

As I write this the wind is gusting outside, but what a difference a few dry, sunny days made last week!  finally the ground is beginning to dry out enough to make it workable and the days are lengthening.  The daily routines here keep us closely in touch with the seasons, especially noticeable in the spring when it becomes later each day to close the doors on the chicken houses and the geese make it very clear in the mornings that they are not happy to still be inside much after sunrise! 


The longer days at this time are appreciated with so much to prepare for our main spring and summer seasons:  this year there is more to do with ongoing plans to make the business work through changing covid19 restrictions.  We have been re-scheduling courses during March but are hopeful that from April things will settle down and our training programme will be back as planned.  With non essential retail maybe opening next month we hope we will be able to welcome you all again into our shop and barn to see the chickens, but this is something we will be watching and planning carefully over the next few weeks to ensure we make the best decisions to keep our customers and staff safe.


As with many people, the changing world during the last year has given us many reasons to reflect on how we live our lives, and we hope that our little business will come through this stronger and more determined to promote a sustainable way of life.  We do not pretend to live 'the good life' or be fully 'self-sufficient' (if only!) ourselves but we do feel that every little step we all take towards this will make a difference.  So we will continue to constantly review our business, sourcing local eco products wherever possible, offering useful and enjoyable training courses and helping you to make the most of your own spaces the best we can.  We have also looked again at how we use our own space and have some exciting changes planned:


A new veg patch!

We have grown veg on and off for the last 25 years, only for our own use and we are far from experts so our patch is generally hidden out of view so you all cant see our moth-eaten leaves and blight struck tomatoes! much of what we do has been picked up from our parents and with mistakes learnt along the way we really should know better than to plant a veg patch for all to see without any protection from the badgers, rabbits, pigeons, etc. that share this place with us!  But how can we keep encouraging you all to make the most of your gardens when we are not fully sharing our own experiences?  We had planned to set up the perfect patch (with rabbit netting etc) but time has not allowed so we have decided to just go for it - plant up a veg patch by the shop and see what happens! We obviously hope we will have some success and with the help and guidance from our tutors on our edible garden and herb growing courses, friends and family we may even manage to get a few peas in our pods, but we do know we will enjoy it whatever happens and hope you will enjoy sharing it with us!


A Bee-Friendly Garden 

We are also planting up one of our pig pens to encourage bees and other pollinators.  With fewer pigs here on the farm we no longer need all the pens so we have been busy planting the pig pen by the car park.  We have so far moved plants from around the place - shrubs being overgrown in hedges and seedlings that have popped up in chicken pens while the hens have been in lockdown (but would last just seconds once the girls are let back out) and we have sowed some trays of seeds to add later, but its a big space and the more we can plant the more bees and insects we will attract, making a lovely area to spot bumblebees in the summer with Nikki from the Bumblebee conservation trust..... so if you are splitting any plants or have plants popping up where you don't need them we would very much appreciate any donations of bee-friendly plants to help fill our patch.


With our best wishes for the start of a new spring.... Kerry, Jason and all at Mantel Farm.


Chickens for sale...

Hybrid Hens and Pekin Bantams...

Our Hybrid Hens and Pekin Bantams have arrived -

After a little bumpy start with snow and other delays, our first flocks of chickens have arrived and it is lovely walking through the barn again to the sound of contented clucks.  For now we are still selling chickens through our website and arranging covid-safe half hourly appointments for collection, so please place your orders as early as possible to get the best choices of hens. 


Birds can be ordered from our March flock and also
pre-ordered for April and May flocks.

Growing herbs and making herbal remedies...
Designing edible gardens and plots...

Edible Gardens and Herb Growing

New courses for 2021 - May and August

It’s not long now till our first edible and herb courses here at the farm, and we can’t wait to gain some tips from Rachel to help up with our own herb and veg patches!...


Rachel’s passion is edibles and growing them everywhere and anywhere as well as teaching people to do the same. She set up edge in 2012 with the vision of introducing community growing areas and teaching people how to care for them. This vision has grown, and Rachel is now helping people and groups to implement growing edibles whilst encouraging wildlife up and down the country. Rachel has been training others for the last 6 years and has a wide knowledge of all things edible. Specialising in year-round food production.

New Bedding...

New Product - Dengie Fresh Bed...

Keep your hens clean and cosy

This new bedding is sustainable, biodegradable and antibacterial bedding for your chickens. 

Fresh Bed provides a cosy, fresh, soft, dust extracted straw bedding.  The straw is coated with pine oil providing anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, and giving a pleasant pine aroma.  Fresh bed absorbs moisture and droppings as well as giving a cushioning bedding for your hens.


Easy to dispose of - 100% biodegradable, this bedding will break down quicker than shavings and wood pellets, providing great compost.  Its even wrapped in recycled plastic that can be recycled again. 

Available in a large 100ltr bale for £16.95

Hen treats...

Avian Influenza update...

H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza

Restrictions have not yet been lifted for our hens lockdown, so please continue to keep all birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of this disease.


We have received no new notifications of recent outbreaks in the UK, so we still hope the situation is easing and once the migratory season has passed Defra will be able to lift restrictions and we will let you know as soon as we hear more. 


Don't forget to keep your hens happy and healthy with fresh bedding, flooring and plenty of treats to keep them amused!

Quail for sale...

Quail for sale...

Our Quail will be available again from April   

These little birds make great pets, are easy to care for, lay lots of tasty little eggs and take up very little space.  Quail can have a reputation for being extremely flighty, but our little hybrids are very calm (we have kept many quail as pets - one even travelled on our summer holiday and spent time sitting on the beach with us!!).  

Standard hens, golden hens, and cock birds for sale
£12 each

Read More from Amanda...

Notes from our Apiary...

Despite the windy weather, it has been fairly mild at times and our bees have been out flying.


We managed to check our hives on an unseasonably mild day in February and discovered one hive was already rearing a fair amount of brood. They were taking in a good amount of pollen, but we did give them a pollen substitute fondant as a contingency given how changeable the weather has been.


Sadly, two of our five colonies haven't made it through the winter. They all had fondant on, but their numbers went too low. We think this could have been due to bees not managing to return due to their flying in inclement weather.


It is still a bit too early to know if all of the colonies will build up enough, but we remain positive.  On the next warm and settled day, we will be checking again to see how they're doing.


Amandas Beekeeping notes ...

I can hardly wait until the weather is good enough to see how the rest of my colonies are. I managed to check 5 of mine yesterday the smallest and the nucs, but the weather does not look suitable for doing the rest until March. Mouseguards and straps can be removed now.

The next sunny, calm day above 12-14°C I shall do the rest. This first inspection is as short as I can make it and I will not go through all the frames but I shall be looking for....









Product Note Status Price
Standard Quail Hens Standard Quail Hens
£12.00 *
Dengie Fresh Bed for Chickens Bale 100Ltr Dengie Fresh Bed for Chickens Bale 100Ltr
£18.95 *
Maran Coucou - SOLD OUT Maran Coucou - SOLD OUT
£22.00 *
Newsletter  Avian Influenza - Update Dec 14th 2020 Newsletter Avian Influenza - Update Dec 14th 2020

Prices incl. VAT

Display accessory details

Browse this category: Newsletters