Drenching & vaccinating

I’m quite sore and tired from all the work yesterday; every single sheep drenched and all the lambs vaccinated.

It was a miserable morning, so I didn’t get started with the sheep until nearly 2pm. I got the hens out of the way in the morning, cleaning out the hen house and topping up feed & water. All under the watchful eye of Bud and the relaxing cat

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I also removed a trio of birds that I am going to breed from. I hatched these Speckled Sussex from eggs I got online last spring. Fantastic birds and I’m going to hatch a batch of my own now.

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So on to the sheep. They are split into 4 smaller flocks, to spread them amongst the crofts. That means more work gathering and penning them. We’d probably have been done in an hour, had they all been together.

Uisdean passed the lambs to me and I doses, injected and checked them all.

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We worked quite well and efficiently, just the way I like it!

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Uisdean is volunteering with me as part of his Duke of Edinburgh award. He is down most weeks and enjoys working with the sheep. He’s considering getting a couple of his own, which I think is a great idea

More chicks

I ordered some eggs from Andy at The Chicken Street about a month ago, and they hatched on Mon/Tue of last week. This was quite a surprise, as they were due to hatch the previous Saturday! I candle the eggs and saw that 7/8 of them were fertile and waited patiently for them to appear. Nothing on Saturday and nothing on Sunday. Oh. I was worried.

I’ve had workmen in for the past 3 weeks (they came at short notice, otherwise I wouldn’t have had the eggs in the incubator) and I thought the fact that they switched the power off now & again may have affected the eggs. I was all set to switch off the incubator on Monday morning, but thought I’d leave it until I got home that night. I hadn’t heard any cheeping from the eggs, so was convinced they’d all failed. I was quite surprised to be greeted by these wee ones when I came home!

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Another three hatched over the next 24 hours, leaving 5 in total.

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These are Speckled Sussex and the second batch I’ve hatched of them. Hopefully they’ll be just as nice as last years ones. 2 hens & 2 cockerels. Here is one of the cockerels.

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Incidentally, the work happening at my house is applying external insulation to the walls, as part of a funded scheme. It should be ready in the next couple of days and currently looks like this!

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Sick chick

I had 6 chicks successfully hatch this week, but had a bit of drama with one of them on Thursday night.

I was away in Skye on Wednesday-Thursday, coming home Thursday evening. My mother had been keeping an eye on the chicks and all had been well, until I popped out to see them once I’d got back. One of them had got stuck between the water bowl and the brooder wall. It was wet, cold and only had the tiniest flicker of life. I grabbed it, ran into the house, fired up the incubator and put it back in there. I didn’t think it stood a chance

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What a difference some warmth made though! Within an hour it was back up on it’s feet. It was still a little wobbly for the next 24 hours, but now it’s back in with all it’s brothers and sisters!

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chicks hatching

Oh it is all go today!

A beautiful morning so I popped out to feed the animals before work.

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I have 10 eggs in the incubator just now and thought they’d start hatching later on tonight, so I popped in to check there was enough water in the humidifier, to get through the day. There wasn’t, but that wasn’t the surprise, I had a cute wee chick waiting for me, with another on the way!

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The second wasn’t long in joining it.

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It’s 5pm as I write this and there are still only two, although at least one more is showing signs of hatching. I’ll update later!

Saturday Marathon

Phew. Time to put my feet up and relax in front of the fire.

I’ve had a busy week and had a few jobs to catch up on.

First up was cleaning out the hen house and making sure their food & water was topped up. I lock the hens out of the house while doing this, and sometimes they lay eggs outside. Martin helps me clean the hen house so I asked him to go outside and collect the egg. It took him 5-10 mins! I hope you can all spot it!

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He also gave me a hand feeding & watering the sheep. A helper really is handy!

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Of course, Martin gets some eggs as payment. They come in all shapes, sizes and colours. A nice mix in this box.

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After feeding the sheep, preparing for the arrival of big bales on Monday and running Bud on sheep, I decided to re-pen the ducks. They’ve been free to roam for a few months but unfortunately 2 of them ventured out to the main road, before Christmas, and were run over. I’ve tried to get them into a run a couple of times, but they are nigh on impossible to catch!

Today I decided to give it another go. Last spring, my brother Murdo and I made some new pens. I used it for sheep during lambing last year, and latterly for chicks.

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I used an old fishing net that my dad had (with his permission) to stop them flying away. Hopefully I’ll start to see some eggs now, I haven’t had any in a while.

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The weather has got nasty later on in the day, so I moved indoors. I put some eggs into the incubator nearly 3 weeks ago and it was time to switch off the turning feature and increase the humidity. Two eggs have burst in the last few days (two on the left, 2nd & 3rd down), so I removed them. With luck, some chicks will hatch on Monday!

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