eggs Category

  • A look back at 2013

    Agricultre, birth, Cats, Chickens, chicks, death, Dog, Ducks, eggs, Lambs, Peats, Personal Favourites, Poultry, Rams, Sheep, video, WildlifeComments (2)

    On December 31, 2013 • By

    As 2013 draws to an end, I thought I would do that typical thing of looking back at the year.
    It wasn’t the easiest of years on the croft, with many more losses over the last winter and my lamb prices being lower than previous years, but it was still an enjoyable one. It’s been another busy year, with a full time job, playing in goal for Ness F.C., vice-chair of the Social Club and my freelance media commitments.
    I’ve gone through my blog posts and chosen my favourite ones. I have chosen them because I liked them or because I think they are important for one reason or another.
    Thanks for reading!

    My first one is from January and is a video of Bud struggling to come to terms with the laminate flooring in the kitchen.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/01/21/bud-and-the-door/

    In February, I had a Buzzard attack some of my chickens. I haven’t chosen the post about the attack, but I’ve chosen the video I managed to get of the Buzzard returning a couple of days later, enticed by a chicken I had to cull. I think this was the single most viewed post in 2013, with thousands of views on facebook.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/02/26/brilliant-buzzards/
    Easter is my favourite time of year; lambing is usually in full swing and the local football season starts! Love it. Here are a couple of my lambing related posts, including Lasarusina, the lamb that came back from the brink of death (I kept her, she’s a beaut)
    http://airanlot.com/2013/04/28/lamb-pictures/
    http://airanlot.com/2013/04/23/lazarus-lives/

    I also used my incubator for the first time, it wasn’t as successful as I wished, but at least I got some chicks out of it.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/04/14/five-alive/
    May is peat-cutting season, this year a group of us helped a neighbour who wasn’t able to cut his own. A very enjoyable evening for all of us.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/05/20/helping-with-the-peats/
    Now, I fancy myself as a bit of an amateur photographer and was quite chuffed with myself for getting these pictures of a cuckoo – a bird I had never actually seen in the flesh before, despite hearing them all my life.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/05/28/cuckoo-pictures/
    Every now and again, something happens that reminds you how susceptible livestock are. In June, one of my older ewes had her eye removed by a black-backed gull. Don’t look if you’re too squeamish. The sheep is fine, and still with us.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/06/14/horrible-stuff/
    My egg-laying empire took a big step forward this year, with the introduction of my new hen house. I had to assemble it myself and I also got a 60% CCAGS grant for it (which I am still to claim), otherwise it wouldn’t have been viable.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/09/14/complete-hen-house/
    I ended up with an extra cat for a few days in September (can’t believe it was that long ago). She was a stray but has successfully been rehomed, elsewhere in Ness.
    http://airanlot.com/2013/09/29/unexpected-guest/
    One of the most important acts in the crofting year – releasing the rams. This needs no further explanation!
    http://airanlot.com/2013/10/25/rams-let-loose/

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  • A quiet(ish) Saturday

    Agricultre, Chickens, eggs, Rams, SheepComments (0)

    On November 2, 2013 • By

    From now until May, Saturdays are going to be busy. The days are much shorter, so I don’t get anything done during the week, meaning all my chores have to be squeezed into a few hours on Saturday. Today was the real start of my winter, but I took it quite easy!

    My hens have been in the new hen house & run for a week now. I’ve had no problems at all, until I emerged from the house this morning, to be greeted by THIS:

    20131102-081346 pm.jpg

    No idea at all how it escaped. I put it back in and then decided that it was time to clean out the henhouse.

    The hens have been there permanently for a week now, but 10-20 have been using it for around a month, so it needed cleaning out. It stank. Wasn’t nice. I got it done!

    As I was topping up the feeders & the water, I thought that it would be so much easier if I could have the food stored nearby, instead of out at the house or barn. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but decided to get my finger out today. I went down to the Habost Amenity Site – waste/recycling point on the site of the old dump – still referred to as the dump locally. There, I ‘recycled’ this fine storage unit.

    20131102-081458 pm.jpg

    Yes, it’s an old freezer! Judging by the sheep feed in the bottom, another crofter had been using it as a similar store.

    That’s it now beside the hen house, with half a bale of straw and some bags of feed in it. With the lid anchored down by the biggest stone I could find.

    20131102-081508 pm.jpg

    My parents have been away for the last couple of days, so I went out to theirs to feed the cats. I had a wee chuckle to myself when I saw the cats waiting for me!

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    Why do cats love boxes so much?

    I have 7 chicks in the barn. They are coming on nicely and I let them out every day. They’re funny wee animals, they sleep in behind one of the freezers!

    20131102-081523 pm.jpg

    One last thing to do, I checked the sheep to make sure the rams have been doing their thing. The cheviot I got last week has been doing his thing (yellow marks)

    20131102-084553 pm.jpg

    He has served 3/4 of his 20+ sheep, but the Suffolk hasn’t done ANY of his. Not time to ring any alarm bells just yet, but I caught him today, just to make sure his harness was properly fitted.

    20131102-081358 pm.jpg

    I tightened it up a wee bit, so hopefully I’ll see some orange markings on the sheep soon!

    Bud came in with me too. Here he is flying over the fence!

    20131102-081415 pm.jpg

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  • Hen House Video Tour

    Agricultre, Chickens, eggs, PoultryComments (1)

    On October 30, 2013 • By

    My brother Innes is away in Cambridge for a year and was wanting a wee video tour of the new hen house and chicken run, so I thought I’d share it with everyone here too!

    [wpvideo jzLItpZ1]

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  • Hen house & run complete

    Agricultre, Chickens, eggs, PoultryComments (1)

    On October 26, 2013 • By

    No more chickens around the house!

    My run is finally complete and I will no longer have the hassle of chickens loose around the back of the house, pooing everywhere!

    My new hen house has been ready for a few weeks, and the hens have been using it, but they keep coming down to the house during the day. Not any more.

    I started putting the fence posts up 2 weeks ago but needed someone else’s help to put up the fencing itself. My father was available today, so we got cracking at 9am. We had the fence up by 11.

    20131026-191353.jpg

    I’m pretty happy with how it is, but we needed to do some odd jobs around the run, making sure the chickens couldn’t get out (no predators here, so that’s not a concern). That took a couple of hours in the afternoon and then we rounded up all 44 chickens and got them into the run. They seemed to like it!

    20131026-191408.jpg

    I will keep it under 50 hens, as you have to register if you have more than that. I’m hoping I’ll have a few eggs to welcome me tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed.

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  • Mink Traps

    Chickens, chicks, eggs, Poultry, WildlifeComments (5)

    On October 16, 2013 • By

    I posted earlier in the week about a (probable) ferret or (unlikely) mink loose around our houses.

    I got home from Glasgow this evening and was greeted by two traps; one beside the barn next door, and the other at the corner of my chicken run.

    The one at the barn is hidden under blocks, near where it’s suspected that there are some rats and trail the ferret left.

    20131016-181126.jpg

    Mark, the Mink trapper, had his Bedlington terrier on Monday, and it followed the trail left by the ferret/mink. This went right along the fence I’ve erected for my new chicken run.

    I let Bud have a sniff of it, under my own supervision, so that he wouldn’t be as curious next time.

    20131016-181144.jpg

    It’s not a well known fact that I was employed by SNH as a mink-trapper back in 2007. I was on a no set hours type contract and had applied for the job as I had just started out self-employed and wanted to make sure I had enough work. As it turned out, I did the training but I was busier than I expected with my self-employed stuff, so I never actually got to go out. That’s actually one of my biggest regrets in my working life.

    Ever since, I have fully supported the Mink Project. The mink (and ferrets/polecats) are alien species here and have decimated ground-nesting bird populations.

    The traps don’t harm the animals, they spring shut and hold them inside. When the trap is open, it is checked on a daily basis. If a mink/ferret is inside, it is dispatched with an air pistol.

    20131016-181134.jpg

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  • Chicken Run

    Chickens, chicks, eggs, PoultryComments (2)

    On October 11, 2013 • By

    What a beautiful, relaxing and satisfying day.

    20131011-175521.jpg

    We have a long weekend here, so I’m off work Friday-Monday. These are the first days off I’ve had this year, when I haven’t had filming or lambing to do as well.

    My chickens have been bothering me for a while now. They’re all round the house and making a mess around the back door, as well as laying their eggs in the long grass and losing them. So the new hen house is now ready and I’m building a run around it, for the hens.

    Today was a beautiful day and I got cracking mid-morning, putting up the posts. I ordered the posts from the Crofters several weeks ago, but this is the first chance I’ve had to erect them.

    Corner posts went in first. I used postcrete for them – magnificent stuff!

    20131011-175415.jpg

    20131011-175426.jpg

    20131011-175441.jpg

    I was very happy with how the posts ended up. Just perfect!

    20131011-175459.jpg

    Ii had Bud out with me for the day as well. He’s actually starting to behave himself off-lead!

    [wpvideo MLqhf3tB]

    The regular posts were next. This didn’t take too long.

    20131011-204421.jpg

    I had to stand on the tailgate of the pickup to knock them in. These are 8 foot posts, to allow the fence to be 2 rolls high.

    20131011-204639.jpg

    I managed to get half the posts in tonight and I should be able to get the rest finished before lunch tomorrow. Pretty chuffed with how it looks so far. More of the same tomorrow!

    20131011-175533.jpg

    20131011-175512.jpg

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  • Hen House 2.0

    Agricultre, Chickens, chicks, eggs, PoultryComments (2)

    On September 22, 2013 • By

    My hen house is now finished, but still no hens have moved in. I cannot wait to get them in there, but I’m waiting for it to be perfect before I do!

    In the past few weeks, the Comunn Eachdraidh, based next door in Cross School, have had interior insulation applied throughout the building. I’ve managed to wangle getting all the off-cuts from this work, to be used in the hen house!

    20130919-195613.jpg

    That’s the work they’re carrying out in the school.

    My father and I worked on it an evening this week and most of Saturday morning. It’s progressing well.

    20130920-210117.jpg

    20130922-085352.jpg

    The roof has been covered with plywood, as have part of the walls. Hopefully the chickens will appreciate this when the winter really hits!

    20130922-085401.jpg

    This part of it is just about finished, but what I want to do before getting the chickens in the hen house, is erect a fence around it. I’m fed up of the chickens being around the house. They make such a mess! Hopefully I’ll get that done over the next fortnight.

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  • Complete Hen House

    Agricultre, Chickens, eggs, PoultryComments (1)

    On September 14, 2013 • By

    It’s about a month now since my hen house was delivered, and it’s now ALMOST ready to house some hens!

    I’ve spent a few hours working on it, over several days.

    The first day, I had my cousin James to help me. We got the floor together and the sides up in about an hour. Innes was also there to help carry all the materials onto the croft.

    20130914-173639.jpg

    20130914-173655.jpg

    20130914-173710.jpg

    Next was getting the roof on. That took about another hour or so, this time with my father’s help. The motto of the day was: no ladder, no problem!

    20130914-174008.jpg

    It looked pretty good once the roof and nest boxes were fitted.

    20130914-174113.jpg

    20130914-174129.jpg

    Today was the final push, brought on by the storm forecast tomorrow. First up was moving the hen house down to lower ground, using the tractor. I towed & pushed it into position.

    20130914-174158.jpg

    We got the doors hung and anchored down the hen house.

    20130914-174145.jpg

    The hens will move in, once I get the fencing up!

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  • Pitter patter

    Agricultre, Chickens, chicks, eggsComments (2)

    On July 11, 2013 • By

    I expect to have some chicks on the croft again soon. Bud was acting weird tonight, on the verge of the road, so I went to inspect. He was looking quite proud of himself anyway….

    20130711-230120.jpg

    Hidden in the grass was a hen, sitting on 10+ eggs. I’ve no idea how long she’s been on them, but hopefully they’ll hatch soon!

    20130711-230130.jpg

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  • Giant Egg

    Agricultre, Chickens, eggs, PoultryComments (1)

    On May 5, 2013 • By

    It appears as if one of my hens has been fitted with a tennis-ball launcher!

    On the left is a ‘normal’ egg and the 50p is for scale.

    Poor hen. That must have hurt.

    20130505-105259.jpg

    Update:

    I decided to make some scrambled eggs, using the big egg. Double Yoker! First I’ve ever seen.

    20130505-113848.jpg

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