Poultry Category

  • Chickens & eggs

    Agricultre, Chickens, chicks, eggs, PoultryComments (1)

    On February 3, 2014 • By

    Eggs are coming thick & fast and the cockerels seem to have been much more active recently, so I’ve decided to try a dozen eggs in the incubator. If they work, they work. If not, I’ll try again later. Mixed results last year with the incubator, but I’ve got a much better idea of what I’m doing this time.

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    In terms of eggs, I think I now have regular customers for all my eggs, at current output levels anyway. Good local eggs are one thing that’s always guaranteed to sell.

    I also moved 3 pullets (and a young cockerel) in with the rest of the hens tonight. My dad’s van is handy for transportation of this nature. Glad he doesn’t pay attention to my posts!

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  • Some Air An Lot developments

    Agricultre, Chickens, chicks, Ducks, eggs, Pigs, PoultryComments (1)

    On February 2, 2014 • By

    I am full of enthusiasm for the crofting year ahead. So many ideas are popping into my head and I’m having a job prioritising them just now. The barn is obviously top of that list, but I have a couple of smaller developments, which should provide a little additional income.

    First up is the eggs. More hens are coming into lay every day, and the new hen house and run are proving to be much more efficient than I could have hoped for! Last year I was lucky to be getting 3/4 eggs a day, as the hens were laying them in long grass and crows were stealing them from the hen houses. I am now at a dozen eggs a day, here is today’s haul

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    I’ve been selling them regularly at work and also to a few people locally, but I’m now at the stage where I’m still left with more. For anyone in Ness, including my regular customers, I’m putting a plastic box on the main road, at my parents’ house, to sell additional eggs. £1.50 per half dozen.

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    I’m also firing up the incubator tonight and hope to put 15-20 suitable eggs into it shortly. Once they (hopefully) hatch, I think I’ll get some duck eggs to hatch too.

    My other, more exciting development, is that I’ve booked some piglets! I bumped into my pal ‘Cudaig’ last week and asked him to keep me 4 piglets from his next litter – hopefully around Spring time.

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    I’ve had pigs before, all from Cudaig; 2 in 2009, 4 in 2011 and shared 4 with neighbours in late 2012. My plan for these ones is to fatten them up and sell the meat. If you want top quality pork, you can get your 1/2 or whole pig right here! The sausages are just out of this world!

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  • I love Saturdays

    Agricultre, Chickens, eggs, Lambs, Poultry, Sheep, tractorComments (1)

    On February 1, 2014 • By

    Today was an extremely satisfying day.

    Started off by helping a neighbour, Donnie, take home one of his lambs that had been a bit poorly. A refreshing spin in a tractor trailer is a good start to any day.

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    I then moved my own lambs from behind my parents’ house to another field, which offers more shelter. Bud helped me move them and I gave them a bale of haylage – they love it.

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    My ewes are due to be scanned a week Tuesday (11th) and are currently at the bottom of the croft. I took them a big bale today, which should last them until then.

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    This was the first time in a couple of months that I had the tractor out. I haven’t put it back in the barn, as I fear I may need it to feed the sheep, should we get snow soon. They’re happy enough as they are though.

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    Last activity on my hitlist was cleaning out the hen house. I’m actually enjoying doing this, now I’ve discovered how good the snow shovel is at cleaning it!

    Eggs are coming thick & fast now. Think I had 6 dozen this week and numbers increase every day.

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  • I’m a genius

    Chickens, eggs, Personal Favourites, PoultryComments (0)

    On January 26, 2014 • By

    Sometime you have moments of inspiration which surprise yourself. Yesterday, I had one of them.

    I was doing my usual Saturday morning chore of cleaning out the hen house floor. It’s covered in poo and saw dust, and takes a wee while cleaning it all out with the spade; maybe 15-20 minutes.

    Just as I was starting, I thought I might try and use the snow shovel that has been sitting unused in my utility room for the past 2 years. We’ve had no snow to talk of in that time, so I haven’t actually ever used it. I thought the plastic might be a bit flimsy for the gunk on the hen house floor, but it was just perfect. I can’t describe how delighted I was!

    5 minutes later, I had a pristine floor and it didn’t take long for me to lay down the fresh sawdust.

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    This will make mucking out so much easier and I might actually enjoy it, when the weather starts to improve!

    The other plus point is that the eggs are coming thick & fast now, up to around 10 a day.

    Won’t be long until the hens have paid off the hen house!

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  • 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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  • 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.

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    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!

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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  • A concern

    Agricultre, Chickens, chicks, Ducks, Poultry, WildlifeComments (1)

    On October 15, 2013 • By

    A slightly worrying turn of events in the last couple of days. Next door told me that their cat & dog had got worked up by something at the end of last week, suspected to be a mink or ferret.

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    I got in touch with one of the mink trappers, from the Outer Hebrides Mink Project, to come and have a wee look.

    Mark turned up with his Bedlington Terrier, who soon confirmed that there had indeed been a mink or ferret nearby. The dog followed the track right along the side of my new chicken run and hen house. Not good news!

    Mark’s going to come back and set a couple of traps in the next few days, hopefully that will catch them before they cause any damage. The dog also smelt some rats next to the barn next door.

    there are quite a few ferrets near us. Mark has caught several about 50m from me, down by Cross River, and this poor pictures ferret was drowned in a bath on my croft back in March.

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    I’ll update once there is some progress!

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  • Chicken Run

    Chickens, chicks, eggs, PoultryComments (2)

    On October 11, 2013 • By

    What a beautiful, relaxing and satisfying day.

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    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!

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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!

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