Sunday, 8 February 2009

Update For First Week in February

This week has thankfully been a bit less traumatic, I’m still waiting for the results of the autopsy on Theo (autopsy is used for animals here in France) but Leah visited on Thursday and has given me some general pointers. So the alpacas will be out in their field as soon as possible and a couple of them need a tooth trim. The hay is not bad but not good either. I cut it a bit late because of the wet weather last year and that means it’s not as rich as early cut hay. No one round here got any early cut hay, but hopefully this year will be better and I’m aiming for a cut in May.

There have been chicken things too this week. Sadly sick-chick finally succumbed to whatever was here problem. She was the one who had the three maggot attacks last year. She seemed happy enough but never really recovered. Over the last few days of her life I noticed her tail was down quite a bit and an extra dose of wormer didn’t do the trick this time.

Egg-wise, I was really chuffed when the hens started laying after the shortest day but they stopped after the storm. I was a bit miffed at this as I was just getting back into the swing of having plenty of fresh eggs. Then on Thursday I noticed that the young hen was missing when I was feeding them and I wondered if a fox had been round. I carried on working round the house and then just in the time it took to turn round I noticed another of the hens had gone missing and not a fox in sight.

I then spotted her under a log stack that sent me looking for the other hen. I eventually spotted her under the branches of the felled tree round the back of the house. Once they were both out and about again I checked the two spots and was rewarded by 2 eggs under the logs and 13 under the branches. They’ve only been laying outside for a week so I quickly gathered the egg and took them inside to test them in a bowl of water. All of them sat at the bottom of the bowl, so eggs are back on the menu here.

On Wednesday I noticed a group of cranes flying over, four weeks earlier than last year. Well I think they are earlier, it might just be that I’m outside earlier than last year and so able to see them. Still it’s another harbinger of spring along with the first of my crocuses flowering. They are a little late but since I only put them in the ground Oct/Nov I think they’ve done really well. I’m now waiting for the snowdrops but they might take until next year to flower.


aims said...

I was talking to The Man yesterday as we made the 2 hour drive to Calgary. I mentioned you and your alpacas and his first question was - "What is she doing with them? Raising them for their fibre?"

I realized I don't know. Have I ever asked? Have you said?

It smelled like spring here yesterday as it was just above freezing. But we know better here. The 'real' snow doesn't hit until about March and April. That's when we get the biggest and heaviest snowfalls. So I enjoyed the smell while I could.

dND said...

Aims, Cottage industry - a few for sale but the rest for fibre - knitted and crocheted goods.

Snow still to come! By March I'm looking to be planting out - but then that's why I travelled south :-D

Frances said...

Dear dND,
Thanks so much for dropping by my blog! Do you live in the Lot too? V impressed at self-sufficiency, just you and the animals, it sounds wonderful and very hard work all at the same time. Wow - you have alpacas for fibre, that is fascinating!! I love what I've read of your blog so far and will add it to my blog roll. Hope to keep in touch!

Barbara Martin said...

Hens will lay their eggs in whatever place they think safe.

Toronto stays cold until March, and spring comes about a month before Alberta has it, at mid-April. I've seen heavy snowfall on the third weekend in May in southern Alberta, but it melts.

Debra in France said...

Hi Deborah, I am still keeping my fingers crossed for some useful info for you from the autopsy. Our chickens have done that a couple of times. Although they have a lovely warm and safe chicken shed, our best layer and favourite chicken Skippy (who was killed before xmas) once layed 15 eggs under the honeysuckle! Perhaps she preferred the smell of it to the coup! When I went to let the chooks and geese out yesterday morning, the geese had produced 4 eggs!!!

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