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West of England Goslings

West of England Goslings Update

West of England GoslingsI went on one of my regular trips to our neighbour’s farm two fields away, for the usual chinwag and cud-chew over  a strong cup of tea. The “I’m just popping round to the farm for ten minutes” type of visit that Suz knows full well may be the better part of an hour or more. But today was a special day, as two of the West of England goslings being sat under a broody bantam chicken had hatched! Luckily I’d take my camera and managed to grab some images that are just too cute – proud mum and huge children!

West of England GoslingsOf course, it didn’t stop there! The new broody banty setup had increased the hatching rate to a ridiculously high level, surpassing everything Pete and Rob had experienced in the past. It’s a magnificent site, with West of England goslings at every age waddling around, like a mini, ever-so-slightly less vicious Jurassic Park.

2016 goslings west of england 3These goslings were about two weeks or so old, and have been moved to one of the heated coops outside, so they canchoose to run in the sun if the day is warm enough, or retreat to the warmth of the coop if they so choose. It also gives them a chance to mix with the main flock of geese, some of whom are no doubt their parents.

West of England GoslingsAnd then of course you have the teenagers – these are eight weeks old now and are part feathered. Like every teenager, they prefer to hang out by themselves, probably listening to awful music and muttering under their breaths about how fuddy duddy their parents are, or how annoying their younger siblings are turning out to be, and they were never that bad 😉

New Duck House!

2015 new duck house

“Ooh – roomy!”

With Dotty and Lilly firmly entrenched, their new duck house finally arrived from Green Frog Designs. We’ve used one for the geese for a few years now, and know it’s a cracking bit of kit, so we’ve bought another. The expense of plastic will work out over the years through lack of maintenance needed and longevity of the material. It will probably outlast us!

Here’s Dotty checking it out for approval, before we’d even added the ramp! They’re both mixing with the boys quite well now, but we’re still going to keep them seperate during the night as the boys will become quite nasty next spring, and it won’t be fair on the girls. They’re managing two eggs a day, which is wonderful – apparently Khaki Campbells will lay around 300 eggs a year each, which is fantastic! To that end we’ve started them on layers pellets – the same we give the hens, as we know it doesn’t contain Coccidiostats – something water fowl can’t cope with. They also get some mixed corn in a bowl overnight, along with sand to help them digest their food. They also get a small bowl of mixed grit and shells, although the layers pellets should, in theory, have enough calcium in it for their egg shell production. It just feels good to give them something more natural to do with their time, foraging for stones and shells rather than giving it in pellet form.

The plan is to move them, once settled, into the veggie patch so they can get to work on those pesky pearl slugs! Yay!

2015 larry carried

Carry me, slave.

And just for the sake of it – here’s another photo of Larry relaxing!

BBC’s Home Away From Home is after Smallholders!

BBC LogoWell – really – no we’re not 🙂

But this is a post I promised we’d pop up here on behalf of a nice lady at the BBC, who contacted us to ask if we wouldn’t mind publicizing a new TV programme. Auntie (as some fondly call the BBC) are bringing back BBC’s Home Away From Home, and they’re looking for people who want to try out a home swap holiday in the UK!

They’re on the hunt for people who live in a home they’d be happy to swap with someone elsewhere in the UK, for a short break.

Apparently you’d get the chance to have a new experience and discover local cuisine, sight-seeing that goes beyond the guide book, and it would be an ‘authentic’ place to stay.

This time around they’re particularly interested in featuring people with smallholdings! I can see it now – the frantic animal house clean-out the day before, and packing your own eggs as someone else’s just won’t be the same 🙂 It would be a grand way to see how other smallholders do things though!

Home Away From Home LogoThey’re looking for couples (partners, friends, family members) from across the UK to swap homes over the course of three days – the thrust of the programme is to provide a warm-hearted series that celebrates the beauty of our homes and localities in the UK.

The filming is scheduled to start at the end of May, running through to the end of August, so time is of the essence!

Their website is here: Home Away From Home

The Be on a Show page is here: Be on a Show

Or you can email them at homeawayfromhome@bbc.co.uk, or telephone them on 0208 008 1468.

There you have it! If you fancy letting someone else open your various pens at the crack of dawn, you now have the chance 😉