Newsletter March 2022

Mantel Farm is a family run garden farming business located in the heart of the East Sussex countryside
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March 2022

We seem to be having an Eggstravaganza at Mantel Farm! 

Our new flocks of hens have arrived so we have a barn full of Hybrids and Pekins, both flocks have arrived slightly older than usual and so have started to lay eggs before they have found new homes!  Its always nice finding the first newly laid eggs; often the girls have not got the idea of laying in the nest boxes, so the first few days just need a little hunt around in the shavings to see what colour egg can be found, but over the last week most of hens have now come into lay, so there is no more hunting with a few hundred extra eggs to collect each day!


We normally only keep a small flock of hens here for our general egg sales, so all these eggs from the young girls (pullets) are extras!  This is only a short-term problem as with chicken sales increase through the spring the egg numbers reduce, but throughout the year we always have fluctuating numbers of pullet eggs so have decided we need to be able to sell our pullet eggs away from the farm when we have them (current regulations mean we can only sell eggs from our shop without the need to register or stamp our eggs).  So we have applied for an egg producer licence and ordered the stamps; our little pullet eggs will be classed as barn eggs even though they have access to the outdoors (when allowed), the selling pens do not meet the extra free range certification.  Then the difficult part - we need to find short term outlets!  Most shops or restaurants need a regular supply that we can not commit to, so a call for help... if you know of any organisation (village markets to cafés) that would be interested in occasional eggs from a local farm then please let us know.  These eggs if purchased in bulk will be at a good price but we will need to charge to cover the costs of looking after the girls.


Free Range Farms and Avian Influenza:

Applying for a producer licence also got us thinking about the current situation with shop eggs and how lucky we are to know how our hens are being kept during the avian influenza lockdown, although our girls have to be shut inside the barn they have lots of space, are cleaned out regularly and given treats each day.  In your gardens I am sure they are spoilt even more and although they cannot free range in your veg patch they are still being well treated.  Free range commercial farms have been allowed to continue to label eggs as free range even though the birds are being shut in, so all is not clear on the supermarket shelves!  I feel for both the farmers and hens during these lockdowns as the free range and organic rearing systems are not set up for so many birds to be kept indoors and it must be putting a huge strain on their business, to have to drop their price at a time when they have to put extra work in place (or reduce stocking numbers) to keep the hens healthy would only make the situation worse.  Let’s hope they continue to be able to produce hens to the higher welfare standards than the commercial barn or cage alternatives, and if you do need to buy supermarket eggs please continue to choose the free-range and organic eggs if possible, so supporting better welfare.  


Of course our preferred solution is that you buy your own hens from us, so increasing your own egg production and reducing ours!  Why not pop in and see if you are tempted by our lovely hens!


With our best wishes for 2022

from Kerry, Jason and all at Mantel Farm.


Chickens for sale...

Hybrid Hens and Pekin Bantams...

A lovely selection of hens are now available...

A hen for every situation:  Hybrid hens are fantastic egg layers and back garden hens.  The little Pekins make great family pets, are easy to handle and lay lovely little eggs.

A Bee Experience Day,..

Help the bees where you can...

Bee-killing neonicotinoids have been banned across Europe since 2013, but the UK government has just approved these deadly chemicals for emergency use - posing a lethal threat to bee populations

However there is still lots we can all do, so visit the Bumblebee Conservation Trust site and join in with Bee the Change, or come along to our Bee Experience Day to learn from Dr Nikki Gammons how we can identify and help the Bumblebee and receive a years free membership to the trust.


Chicken Trippers

Booking a Holiday?...

Then dont forget to book your hens (or other pets) in for their holiday at Mantel Farm,,,


With people able to get away for a break this year dont forget to book your hens stay well in advance.  Rates remain at just £2.50 per hen per night (including VAT) and we are happy to give special treats and special care!  


Watch our video...

Failing Colony? - Josh and Roger investigate...

Roger and Josh take a quick look inside our polystyrene hive after noticing a lack of traffic at the front entrance...

We have had some rather pleasant, spring-like days over the previous week and most of our bees have been flying. We did observe pollen coming back into the other three so to see no activity from the Poly National was a bit concerning...


Amandas Notes...

Amandas Beekeeping Notes...

I hope all your colonies survived the recent storms and that no branches fell on them. Also I hope none blew over, but as we all strap up our colonies when warned of high winds it should be a simple matter of putting them back on the stands. Unlike a beekeeper in London moaning that 40 of his hives blew over and fell apart exposing the inmates to wind and rain – not a single strap in sight!...



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