Monday, 5 September 2016

Hedgehog Poo

28th August 2016
Little chicks set loose into big wide world
The little chickens, destined for the table, were let out of their pen today to take their chances with the rest of the poultry. We were not too worried about them, for the chicken enclosure is very large and there is plenty of space for everyone. With there being eleven of them, it was unlikely any one individual would get picked on.

As we expected, they made themselves at home very quickly. They are confident little things.

The reason for them losing their protective barrier is that the Muscovy ducks (also destined for the table, maybe sooner rather than later if they don't start behaving) have been a real pain to put to bed for a few nights. So we have moved their house to a corner and set up the barriers to funnel them toward the door.

A Reed Warbler stops off for a visit
Fresh easterly winds today were accompanied by sporadic showers, so it wasn't a surprise to spot a couple of migrant birds on the farm. Best was a smart Reed Warbler hopping around the herb patch. A close encounter with a Barn Owl at chicken bedtime was a welcome surprise too.

29th August
Run Rabbit, Run Rabbit...
I've been attempting to catch rabbits for ages but, despite me trying to get into the rabbit's mind, they are never tempted by what I put in the traps. In fact, I'd given up baiting the traps and shut all the doors, hoping that maybe they would become familiar with the traps and no longer be so wary of them.
But yesterday I decided to set up a couple of traps right next to one of the rabbit burrows under the hollow ash tree.
This morning, bingo! I've not handled wild rabbits much and it kicked more strongly than I thought and managed to escape. Sorry, but I'm not sentimental about rabbits.

My six monthly hospital check is coming up soon and it's always a bit of a worry. This one is a bigger three yearly 'investigation' so I've been wandering around not getting much done for the last couple of days.
At least it's been a chance to step back and spend some time appreciating our achievements here on the smallholding. I've been carrying the camera around too.
One of our honey bees deep inside a pumpkin flower
One of the sunflowers that made it, much appreciated by the bumble bees
The pumpkin patch is coming
along nicely

I think this is a Lesser Stag Beetle,
accidentally disturbed when I moved a large log

30th August
Another rabbit caught, or the same one again. This time it didn't get so lucky as I managed to quickly dispatch it. Arthur may be a sweet little dog, but the terrier in him appreciates a bit of wild food. Whereas Boris just wanted to play with his new rather macabre furry toy, Arthur soon claimed it for himself and set about tucking in.
Other rodents have been busy on the farm too. It's a shame they can be so destructive. They are very welcome to live in the young woodland or the long grass areas, the dykes or the sheep field, if they could only stay away from the farmhouse end of the smallholding. I have been trapping plenty of field mice and voles in the polytunnel. There must be thousands of them around for me to catch so many.
I topped up the rat bait stations yesterday too and the bait was all gone today. It is important to hit them hard when they move out of the fields so they don't start breeding and get established.
I have some excellent bait stations where you can monitor the amount of bait taken without having to disturb anything.

Welcome wildlife
Other wildlife is much, much more welcome though, even the hobby which had a successful raid today snatching one of the young swallows from the air. The swallows in the chicken feed shed have a very late brood, but it shouldn't be too long before they fledge. There were five eggs but I don't think there are five chicks in there now.
It is amazing that they will be flying to Africa so soon after they have taken to the wing for the first time.

Hedgehog poo!
Down in the young woodland I came across a rather unfamiliar dropping today. About 4cm long, all shiny and black and blue. It was obviously mostly composed of beetle wing cases. Back in the house I consulted a book which confirmed what I thought, HEDGEHOG POO! Fantastic!

31st August
An early start and an unwelcome drive down to London for my hospital check-up. It is not the most comfortable of procedures but it has to be done.

Back on the farm I had to take it easy for the day. The flowers in the veg patch are coming good now.

In the stable, Priscilla is enjoying clucking over her two chicks. Priscilla has always spent most of her time down near the stables and I suspect her two offspring will be the same.

Farewell summer
Tomorrow it is September. Even worse than the demise of summer is the fact that I have to go back to work!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave comments. They are really valued.

Looking Back - Featured post

Storm Arthur

What's been going on at Dowse Farm recently? Well, we escaped Storm Abigail, but Storm Barny swept through with gusto one night. We'...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...