Apologies for any inconvenience but Hollywater Hens will be closed this weekend only (26/27 September 2015) due to a family wedding.
1 SEPTEMBER - 31 OCTOBER
Visitors to The Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park will be able to explore and enjoy a display of imaginative and innovative sculpture, forming an exciting trail which leads around the Garden. The sculptures are inspired by the natural world. All pieces are available to purchase and standard Savill Garden entry fees apply.
While being very careful to blur the price off this sculpture - it was quite expensive! - another visitor to the Sculpture Trail did say with all sincerity "She's being very still for you to take your picture".
Police in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, stopped traffic to help a mother duck and several ducklings cross a busy road.
A hen keeper for more than 20 years with a 300 strong flock on her Hampshire / Surrey smallholding, chicken expert Suzie Baldwin from Hollywater Hens offers her advice and September tips for keeping chickens:
We've been busy moving the coops nearer to the large barns and hedges that will provide shelter from the elements later in the autumn. The barn has been fllled with straw, which made for hours of fun for my children and chickens alike, while the sheds where the chicks were raised in spring and summer are now clear and disinfected; they will remain empty until we start hatching again next year.
With the nights beginning to draw in, it's also time to spruce up your run, if it is fixed. For bare ground that is prone to becoming water logged: after turning over the earth, removing any heavily soiled areas and spraying with Virkon -S disinfectant, add a good, deep layer of bark and some lengths of timber for your birds to perch on and explore. Place slabs around the outside of your fencing, as this not only gives you a path to walk on but helps prevent predators digging in. Similarly, check feed bins for signs of rodents, which maybe moving into more sheltered places - especially if corn and layers pellets are available - and remember to sweep up any spillages.
Very fresh eggs have a cloudy white caused by CO2, which gradually escapes from the shell.
We can’t describe it any better than this video does. Enjoy:
A hen keeper for more than 20 years with a 300 strong flock on her Hampshire / Surrey smallholding, chicken expert Suzie Baldwin from Hollywater Hens offers her advice and August tips for keeping chickens:
The Pekins have a new coop this month and seem rather taken with it, they’ve been clucking excitedly while exploring, rather like a group of girls in a new boutique. If you have a wooden hen house, reduce the amount of time you spend scrubbing it by lining the floor with remnants of cheap vinyl - simply turn up the sides and tip the droppings straight into the compost bin.
During summer, chickens love to dust-bathe. Shaking the soil in among their plumage helps them to keep cool and healthy, it removes excess oil from feathers and eliminates any pests. Your flock will burrow into the earth, often choosing areas by boundaries to create their hollows. You may wish to provide ready-made dust baths to prevent them undermining your fence. To do his, fill large, high-sided seed trays with dry soil, compost, sand and ash, then position in a shaded area.
- Gather nettles (wearing protective gloves) then blanch them for a few minutes and freeze in small batches. Give them to your flock for a dose of vitamin c and iron.
- Keep chickens healthy by worming them with a natural product such as verm-x.
- Once a month hang bunches of fragrant herbs, including mint, rosemary or lavender, in the coops to mask odours which are especially pungent in the heat.
Which came first, the chicken or the strawberry?
A Scottish farmer has posted a picture of a strawberry shaped like a chicken. Reuben and April Welch from Grove Farm in Bonnyrigg, near Edinburgh, found the strawberry while harvesting their plants for the Summer. When turned upside down the hull or green top part looks like a nest and a small portion of leaf was attached to look just like a little beak.
The original comment posted on Facebook was:
Going to have to eat this chicken as it hasn’t laid a single bloody egg yet.
The strawchicken has become an internet celebrity with the post going viral across social media and the printed media have now also followed up on the story.
A hen keeper for more than 20 years with a 300 strong flock on her Hampshire / Surrey smallholding, chicken expert Suzie Baldwin from Hollywater Hens offers her advice and July tips for keeping chickens:
With my four children enjoying their summer break we have more time to provide entertainment for the hens. My sons have been dragging branches into the enclosures, and my daughters have placed compost mixed with Barrier Red Mite Powder in the dust baths. This prevents parasites and has a lovely herbal smell.
Long summer grass can cause problems, not only grounding the power for electric fences, but also forming balls that obstruct a chicken's crop (where they break down their food). So keep grass fairly short and provide grit. Deterring insects is another summer job; spray citronella around the coop and stick fly paper up out of the bird’s reach. Hang bunches of protein- and vitamin-rich dandelions in the run, and blanch and freeze some for the winter. You might find your girls begin to moult towards the end of this month. Growing new feathers can take up to eight weeks, so give them a boost with Battles Poultry Drink.
We had a fantastic fun evening with Luke from Merrist Wood College and his smallholder group who were all presented with their certificates of achievement. Well done and lovely to meet you all, I hope you all enjoy my new smallholding book x
Merrist Wood is a 400-acre, multi-award winning College specialising in the land-based industries.
The College is widely recognised by industry specialists for its training and for its many successes at RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows. Work from the estate is known across the country and in other parts of the world.