Birds on the move

After lots of broody chooks and ducks all summer we are left we a bit of a crowd in the big pen. Sadly good homes for them have been hard to find this year, with only a few pullets leaving us and no boys. We don’t eat the boys and don’t sell to someone who might. Every year we thought we might need to make a bachelor patch but them found suitable homes for the boys. This year, however, we are going to need that bachelor patch.

Yesterday drakes Glowy and Ryder got moved into the old chook pen. That are both mules (a cross between one of our Muscovy girls and our mallard boy) and sterile. They are really big so the only ‘use’ they would have in most people’s eyes is as table birds. But they can just be pets here. Unfortunately even if they can’t reproduce, they sure try and the poor girls are getting a bit sick of living with 6 drakes! So the plan is to take 3 out and have them live in the old pen. This is a bit small but as soon as they are settled we’ll try letting them out to free range on most days.

Ryder was a single hatchling so he doesn’t really have any friends. Glowy on the other hand, was one of 8. 4 girls found a good home and we kept 2 plus him and his brother Sprinkler. This is a mallard cross drake and fertile but I have 2 Cayuga drakes I want to leave in with the girls so Sprinkler will also go to the bachelor patch. However, Sprinkler and Glowy are very close friends and occasionally gang up against Ryder so I figured that having them all 3 together in a smaller pen would not be good for Ryder. For this reason, I moved Glowy in with him at first and hopefully they’ll make friends so when I introduce Sprinkler they can all be friends… We’ll see… 

Glowy and Ryder in the new pen. much smsller but very lush so hopefully they’ll be entertained for a week or so until i let them free range.

I also moved Harriet chook and her 3 big chicks (2x Speckeled Sussex and 1 Barbevelder) back into the big pen and will move the two spare cockerels in the old goat pen … As soon as I can catch them 🙂

Llama llove

Reba and Enrique mated today. 

They mated twice then we split them again. Clear signs on Reba that the mating worked. Hopefully there’s a baby on the way.

  
So impressed with all of them, they behaved so beautifully, Ravel eventually jumped the fence but I caught him right away and he called down. Valentine over in the other paddock was not too upset. Such good llamas 🙂

Sourdough starter experiment

I am 7 months pregnant and I haven’t been game enough to drink my usual ferments like Kombucha or milk kefir until baby is out. Sad, as I think the extra probiotics would be good for both of us, but I am just a bit nervous about consuming raw products right now, so the above have been out, and so has been raw milk from my lovely goat Tag and any raw dairy products I was learning to make from it.

With my 5 yr old daughter starting school, I got back into bread making for her lunchbox sandwitches and I thought this might be a good time to try sourdough. Besides it’s been horribly hot lately which I totally hate so I figured I could use the heat to my advantage and ferment something I can eat while pregnant and hopefully will give me a different bread for school lunches, too.

I know people who have the starter but I thought it’d be nice to try and make my own if I can. I checked out a few videos and recipes which called from all sorts of things from potato water to pineapple juice to just water and flour. From what I gathered, all you want is a source of food for the wild yeast in your kitchen to eat so that it can move into your starter jar and live happily ever after. Yeast likes sugar in the form of sugar or carbohydrates so I am trying the following recipe which I have made up from a bunch of others. If it doesn’t work I’ll follow an actual recipe next time, but I was curious to do my own experiment first 🙂

My starter recipe:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 2 Tbs raw sugar
  • Filtered rain water to cover up the whole thing
  • Stir

Note that I have used raw sugar and filtered rain water not to be fancy or because they are particularly necessary but because that’s what I had at home. I am sure regular sugar and tap water are fine, though I would let the chlorine evaporate first if you are on town water.

So now I have covered my jar with a colander to keep bugs away but hopefully let the yeast in and set it on my counter. 

Will report back in a couple of days… 

sourdough starter
my sourdough starter experiment…

UPDATE: I tried using this starter 24 hrs after making it as I could see some bubbles but the bread didn’t rise. I left the starter there a couple more days and it went moldy so I had to throw it out. Oh well… I am now waiting to get some off another person and next time I cook potatoes I might try using a recipe which involves potato water to make my own… We’ll get there 🙂 

Bye Renata

Some days, living on a farm is no fun at all. 2 days ago, we found our beautiful llama Renata dead. We suspect snake bite as she had blood out of her eyes and was on her back with the legs up in the air. Horrible!! Hopefully it was quick. Her son Ravel was grieving next to her body for over a day. So distressing to see. More info about our beautiful girl here https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=802245816548789&id=345409105565798

As she was one of our most promising breeders this may well be the end of our breeding adventure… Her mum Reba will probably have another one for us and her little sister Ariel might too but for now we just take s break. RIP dear girl 😦

llama and child
the day Renata was born, with my daughter Elody

On the chook front, our Silky cross Harriet is raising 4 chicks we bought as day olds. They are 2 Barnevelders and 2 Speckeled Suxess. Unlike most, these chicks weren’t doing well in the big pen with everyone else, in particularl one of the Barnevelders was very thin. I moved them to the old goat pen a couple of weeks ago and they seem to be thriving there. They are gaining weight again and all seems well. However, we thing the Banevelder who was struggling most of all in the big pen may have a neurological or vision problem as it seems to have trouble pecking at food precisely. Last night I picked her up and she has gained weight and get crop was full, so that’s great but she is still a little thin. I fed her mealworms away from the others and she ate them but definitely needs to be fed on her own as she takes a while to get the worms. Seems to have better success if the worms are in her right so she may be blind on the left. If we can put some weight on her I think she’ll be fine but she may have other issues … We’ll see. We might call her Blink.