Wednesday, December 28, 2011

BHWT Rehoming

I volunteer for the BHWT, British Hen Welfare Trust, and we had a rehoming day in Northants today
We rehomed 537 ex-commercial battery hens which would all be going to slaughter because of the 2012 cage ban coming in next week.

I came back with 5 poorlies to look after - 2 baldies, a badly twisted beak and 2 skinnies.

Hens ready to be rehomed:

My 3:
 Tracy Beaker with her twisted beak:
I was only having 2 but she's too cute so came home too!
Needs help eating and prefers to eat from a higher up coop cup.

2 baldies:

2 skinnies:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Out with the Old, In with the New... Dinner Chickens

So, as we've got the 3 new hybrids, the cockerels have to go :(

I was going to do it yesterday but left it too late so just got the stuff ready; bin for the feathers, small broomstick pole and a chair!
Let the 3 cockerels out for a free range in the snow earlier but restricted their food so that they're easier to gut etc.

Got Little Miss Meaty (the name stuck for him) in the eglu so I could pick him up and took him to the side passage.
I was alright in doing it 'cos have know since they were cute little chicks under Hilary that I'd have to do it:

Was alright doing 'the deed' but you always get paranoid from the nervous responses that you haven't done it properly even though I knew he was dead, and I had to double and triple check :/

Plucking was alright. It took about an hour to do, which is way longer than the huge turkeys at the farm! but tbf I haven't done it for a while, and the turkeys are hung so that makes it a lot easier. Ripped the skin a couple of times by the breast but thats not a problem.

Just got Mr Meaty to do next!
Was going to do him tonight but he's still not very muscly + mature, and it would leave Mr Dinosaur on his own in the eglu. Mr Meaty doesn't really crow, although he probably will now Little Miss has gone, but will see. I can always do it in the next couple of days.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Poultry Red Mite - Dermanyssus Gallinae

I found Poultry Red Mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) in the chicken coops earlier in the year, and me being me decided I needed to get some High Res photos of them, and then have a look at them under my USB digital microscope!

Got a few photos, some of the best ones are here...
(Click to enlarge)

Will be used for Uni work so please don't use them without my permission ;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

National Poultry Show 2011

Have had a busy weekend at The National Poultry Show 2011!
Got home on Thursday to go to work on Friday, set up the stand with Jude and then stopped at hers. Had the show on Saturday, went to the Poultry Club social, stopped in a Travelodge and then the show on Sunday.
Then when its all over for the public we take everything back down and load up the van!

We were busy all weekend on the Cotswold Chickens stand which was good but I could hardly talk at the end of Sunday! Everyone lived our Wychwood Hen Arch house, took orders for a few and even sold the one we had at the show!

I managed to get a Second Place for one of my photos...
... I did enter the photo of me in a chicken suit for "Any Poultry Subject" but it didn't place ;)

I met Jamie from Poultry Talk and had a good chat with Sandra from Chicken Vet who was really nice, she said anything they can do to help, and help with my dissertation etc, just to let them know :) Will be seeing them at a couple more shows so can have more of a talk.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Product Testing new Omlet Qute

Omlet asked me to preview and test their new small animal house, the "Qute" and so far I'm really impressed!

Its like a contemporary piece of furniture that doubles as a functioning small animal house!

It seems well built and robust like the Classic and Cube are, really chunky piece of furniture, well thought out and the gerbils seem to like it! Nowhere for them to gnaw at edges like some cages either so it should last ages – even the tube has a metal rim so they can’t chew it!
Its easy to keep the pets in the top or bottom with the “Lift ‘n’ Twist” tube to be able to clean out the bottom drawer, or to fill up food and water. I added a couple of tubes into the bottom draw so they were running though those and making tunnels.
One thing with it being solid on top is how dark it is inside the top ... good with nocturnal animals!

The drawer comes out to empty it to clean ... or use as a "Mobile Play Pen" and take it around the house, as the advert says.
 Looks good next to ma bed and perfect height to use as a bedside table to put my alarm clock on!

Only bad things are – its really heavy! 
I struggled to carry it upstairs so a child would have no chance moving it. They can easily use it to take small furries out and to clean out though. You do need a big deep sink to put it under the tap like photos show with the massive double sink! Its easy to take the top apart and give it all a wipe down too, just 2 clips at the top and it slides out.

 Top opens down to clean it out...
 And the tray comes out to give it all a proper clean...
I think it could do with being a bit taller as they like to climb which they can’t really do so if the top section was taller you could put in shelves, hang in hammocks and wooden ladders – could be used for degu then! The draw is also a really good idea but could be a bit bigger to fit a hamster ball or bigger bag of food in.

As great as it is, I do think its a steep price tag. Have seen a few people comment to say similar, I paid around £50 for my Gerbilarium which is similar and thought that was expensive.
So, I’d definitely get one, would look great, be easy to use and the gerbils would love it ...  just not on ma Student budget! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Meet Sherlock and Alexander

We went to the CoOp to buy milk, went into Pets at Home just to have a look ... and now have 2 rabbits ... and no milk ;)

Have said for ages I want a Uni rabbit but thought I should be sensible, then we saw this litter of four lops, 12 weeks old, up for adoption on Wednesday ;)
Went back the next day (yesterday) and bought their cage and everything and just the one rabbit ... I went back an hour later to get his brother!

I have one and my housemate has another, living together atm but will be separated (and neutered in a few months) to another cage. Housemate lives in Bulgaria so I have offered to have them both over the holidays!

Mine's called Sherlock 'cos we live on Baker St ...don't know why he's called Alexander, he was going to be called BMW?!

Me + Sherlock...
 Sherlock + Alexander

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dairy photos

Got some photos on the Dairy Farm so thought I'd pop them on here!

Calves nomming on my hand...

Sid! My favourite calf :)

 Little red calf

 Lesbanim calves kissing each other

 Inside the milking parlour...

 Cow being milked

 Clusters / Milking unit on a cows udder

 Cow on antibiotics being milked out into a dump bucket

 Milked out mastitic milk

And last but not least!

Me with my arm up a cow...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Third day at the Dairy farm this week and like it!

I scraped out the yard with this little old Case tractor! :))

Told Michael I couldn't reverse but he said would be fine and I was :P I did down along the cubicles and didn't crash... he did have to do between the cubicles nearest the parlour 'cos it was fiddly but only 'cos we were in a rush.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dairy - Been milking!

Been milkin' today! :D
Got there at 9 and had to scrape out and then bed down (sawdust + straw) all the beds (for 80+ cows).
Then bedded down some more and moved some heifers out, bulls over and moved some calves :)

Went out in the Tractor with Michael to give cows out in the fields some straw. "Have you ever driven a tractor?" Nope "Ahh, you'll be fine!" ... didn't today but they'z said I might be scraping out :) - will warn them I hate reversing ;)

Did some jetwashing + then home for lunch 'cos its only round the corner.

More jetwashing then prepped + washed 4 calves with Anna ready for a show at Stoneleigh!

Got the cows into the yard + into the dairy and started milking! The parlour is all mechanised and has sensors, 2 walkways either side with 4 bays. A gate opens to let cows in + then out after too.
They all have numbered collars on so you put that into the machine and put the milking clusters on - have to check they're not on antib's or have mastitis, they get milked into a dump bucket, not the bulk tank.
Fed some calves their milk in buckets and had my hand nommed and clothes sucked!

Washed all the clusters + all the floors in the parlour and that was us for the day! :D

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Going Milking!

I decided a while ago that I wanted to get some Dairy and Calving work experience.
I applied years ago to a place round the corner but got turned down 'cos I was too young for insurance - think I was 16 or 17 at the time.

I wrote a letter explaining what I'm doing at Uni and what experience I already have and took it to a local dairy farm. I spoke to a lady there, the farmers daughter and she rang me a couple days later, I can go next Monday! :))

Have experience with most farm animals now but hardly any with cows so am looking forward to it.
Start at 9am which I thought seemed quite late for milking but we'll see!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Womble progress!

Was SO happy with Womble (one of the rescue ponies) today! :D
He let me hold him on a lead rope straight away this morning, then we let him smell the brush + managed to brush him all over (apart from his tail) combed his mane and let us spray him to make him all shiny.
Kevin came to look and was surprised! After a few goes I managed to pick up his foot and then Steffie hoof picked his front feet and everything!
We took him for a walk onto the yard on a lunge rope with Kevin and took a few photos, took him back to the stable and he refused to go in for Steffie + Kevin and would only go in for me :P

Considering he needed 2 lots of sedations and a tranquilisation dart just to get a head collar on him a few weeks ago, he's come a MASSIVE way in just 2 days.
I think he really trusts me now + know it sounds stupid but theres some connection!
ily him :))

Monday, July 11, 2011

Making friends with Womble

Been a horsey day at work today!
Helped Steffie muck out all the stables, I say help, I just held the horses, got straw and emptied the barrow. Think theres 16 although a couple have chicken stuff + tack in!

We took a few horses out to the field to give us 6 stables for some horses coming in.

Womble the little pony came in as a rescue and was really skitty and has been calming down a lot.
Me + Steffie went in and he let me hold his head collar rope today so we stood with him for ages. Let him go + did it again. He doesn't like women as much but eventually let Steffie get him.

He still won't let us touch him much, only his nose + face, but managed to scratch his neck :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cambridge Agric Tour; Pigs

The sows farrow in these outdoor units which are bedded down with deep straw. When they're due to farrow they nest down and the little windows at the back means the farmers are able to check on them easily without disturbing her.
 Once the piglets are a couple days old they'll be up and about, running around the sty and outside.
 The sows had loads of room separated off by electric fences which the piglets could run underneath if they really wanted to but they tended to stick close to mom and not venture too far.
 After about a month the piglets were weaned and moved into groups with big automatic drinkers and feeders which they soon got used to and had a lot of space to run around and wallow in.
 You can see here the size of the field they were in and how much space the pigs had, this was just once of the fields they kept - they had tens of fields like this full of pigs.
 Everything is arranged like a clock around the central unit in the middle so if the pigs need to be handled they can just open one of the gates and herd them into the middle making it stress free and easy for the staff and the pigs.
The middle unit had lots of gates and panels to allow them to separate groups of pigs by size, sex or for any other reason easily then back up a trailer to load them straight into to move them off site or for slaughter.