Relaxed at home
Relaxed at home
Relaxed at home
Relaxed at home
Relaxed at home
Relaxed at home

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1st: Peas and beans doing well, only nine poles (out of 24) with no growth at all. None of the regular peas are showing though so we may need to do some re-sowing - we will give them a few more days. There is also the small matter of lack of rain...
And talking of green plants, House rhea took her first independent piece of dock leaf today and then grabbed a mouthful of crumbs and a drink - horray!!
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2nd: We have a very poorly Coriander: somewhat bizzarely she is constipated and walking very, very oddly, straining and in obvious pain. The vet gave her an enema, drench, ABs and pain relief and we now wait to see if she responds. In better news, we have moved House rhea to the avairy to live with the pheasants. We are confident she is now eating and drinking on her own and the extra space will be great for her.
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3rd: Corriander is no better and now producing red wee!!! After blood and urine tests she has been diagnosed with hemoglobinuria (cause unknown) which essentially means her blood cells are being broken down, causing the hemoglobin to pass straight through her bladder and out via her wee!! She does now have kidney damage, although the constipation (thought to actually be unrelated) has cleared up. More ABs, Vitamins 12 and lots of crossing of fingers.. with an unknown cause we are simply having to treat the symptons!!!
In other (and nicer) news, today we collected Roxy from Gloria's in Dorset where she has spent three days in the company of the rather handsome Jack (on the left), in the hope that come August, she may have a few of her own cuteness bundles, like this one on the right!! Oh my goodness!!
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4th: Meet Rescue Rhea, now living in the aviary alongside House rhea (moved there two days agao) and our seven pheasant. This little chap(ess) comes with a story. She (we are hoping it is a she) ran out onto a road near Princetown, was picked up by a guy from Southampton who took her home and after two days, then handed her in to a rescue centre in Alton, Hampshire. A search for her owner drew a blank, so having offered to rehome her, we then put a plea out on FB for help to bring her back to Devon. Melanie Forward just happened to be within 5 miles of the centre this afternoon and so was able to bring her back as far as Exeter, from where we collected her and brought her here. She proceeded to stuff her face with lettuce and crumbs and then crashed out!!! She seems remarkably unphazed by her grand tour and we are thrilled to have her. ( Corriander hanging in there... trying to get her to eat...)
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5th: Yesterday, this clever pair appeared with 16 ducklings, hatched between them at the back of the barn and today they brought them into the poultry paddock. There is the usual array of delightful colours and all look to be strong and in good health! We have found the chicken/ duck combination to be a good one when it comes to raising a brood of ducklings - we shall see what these two do...
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6th: We had our first rain on 3rd for weeks - it was MASSIVELY welcome but today has gone just a little too far: windy, cold and wet and basically feeling like winter!! Corriander meanwhile continues to sort of make progress, and today ate more than she has done for a few days (but still not enough). Her wee is no longer red though so despite damage her kidneys are now working again.
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7th: House rhea and Rescue rhea are getting on so well and really encouraging each other to eat and exercise. Rescue rhea wins the lettuce eating competition every time but we are confident House rhea will catch up - if only by stealing pieces direct from Rescue rhea's mouth!!!!
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8th: Whilst the day job has seriously got in the way of our wool activities (cannot recall the last time we used the carding machine), we are confident that come the summer holidays, we will once more start to feel the lanolin between our fingers. This then, is the next stage.... a spinning wheel... huge excitements!!!
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9th: We are loving watching Beta male be a dad. Watching him wander round the 3-acre with his chicks, all of whom are no bigger than one of his feet, is an utter joy. We do worry about the change of weather mind you and the chicks getting lost and cold in the long grass!!! It is always a relief to see them each morning, although we do sometimes have to walk all round the field before we spot them.
And yet more emotions with Coriander who today seems to have turned a corner: she ate loads and was up and about a bit more too. Dare we hope she might be on the mend???
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10th: Smallholding is all about taking the good with the bad.. so as our latest hatching gives us an amazing 14 out of 15 turkey poults, we are also struggling with the guilt at losing most of our latest ducklings to Corvids!! We have always been lucky with the rooks and crows but with this latest brood sleeping in the barn, our guess is that they came out very early in the morning and the corvids swooped before we were up!!
We are also worried about Corriander again who today seems to have slipped backwards - she has not eaten that much and had been laid down most of the day!
The photo is relevant to none of the above, but seems fitting!!!
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11th: The grass in the bottom three acre is very long and for ages we have wanted to put the sheep and alpacas in there to graze it. Today we therefore decided to move Alpha, Beta and the chicks back in with the other rhea (in the top 2-acre) and thus free up the 3-acre grass for the 4 leggeds. It also meant we woudln't have the worry of long wet grass being too much for the chicks. Well, the sheep and alpacas were thrilled with this as you can imagine and we were similarly thrilled when the meet and greet with all the adult rhea and the chicks, seemed to go well. A couple of hour after these photos were taken however, and as the heavens emptied once again, we found a different picture: three, wet, cold chicks and a wandering Beta who seemed to have fogotten how to be a dad...
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11th/ cont: Worse, the chicks seemed to have a few red sore patches from pecking maybe??? We scopped them up, threw Beta a 'what the hell are you thinking' look and raced back to the house. We headed for the aviary in the stables and got the trio under a heat lamp, surrounded by straw!! For the next half hour, they shivered and called for their dad whilst we lamented at this hideous turn of events. Gradually they all warmed up and by early eveining were wobbling their around their somewhat smaller than usual accomodation. House rhea and Rescue rhea met their new house mates with vague indifference but as night fell, all five snuggled up togther and we breathed a guge sigh iod relief that we hadn't lost any of them. So now we have five indoor rhea and a definite need to get hold of an awful lot more lettuce!!!
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12th: So, in an effort to bring some good news to the blog, we are happy to report that our turkey poults (currently over 30) are now enjoying some quality outside time (in between the showers) as we have netted off a small area immediately outside the pop hole to their broody area, so they can wander in and out when they like. Napoleona is proving to be an exceptional mum and even though she only has two of her own poults left (the rest have been sold), she is essentially a mum to them all. We still have two goslings living with the turkeys and at night, it is rather extraordinarily cute to see everyone snuggled up together. Napoleona is often under a heat lamp herself with the youngest poults under her whilst the rest squash up against the goslings or in some cases try to burrow themselves underneath!!!
Coriander may also be picking up again and in all the fields, animals are settled and we have had no more 'cold chicks' dramas (we missed out the exploding egg story from last night - and yes, it was as bad as it sounds...)!!
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13th: We have exciting news: one of the rhea eggs we saved from Beta's nest has internally pipped and is now esconsed in our new super duper (and expensive) Brinsea hatcher. We had no idea when the eggs were due, as of course they were part incubated when we collected them and so we have been candling most nights in order to keep an eye on them. We are not sure if any of the others are still viable and have already removed several that have obviousy died (or were clear). To date we have six others from the original nests in the incubator as well as 12 new ones, laid over the last two weeks. One from a batch started at the end of May is fertile but it is too early to check the others yet. We really hope we can hatch a few more.
And as well as the goats enjoying the browsing in the gathering area today, we are also very happy to announce that Corrinader positively stuffed her face this evening on browsing, hard feed and hay... after a dodgy start to the day, we cannot quite believe how she ended it!!!
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14th-15th: Twice on the 14th, Coriander totally cleared the browsing we had given her, she also had a fair few mouthfuls of hard feed and was caught chewing the cud on more than once ocassion!!! And then today she began grazing again and actually spent some time with Sorrell. She is still walking a little oddly though - somewhat stiff legged and despite spending some time with mum, she is actually very warey about being amongst the rest of the herd! We are not keeping her shut in all the time any more because we want her to graze and browse when she wants and, just as importantly, start being with the others.
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14th-15th/ cont: The strong pecking order of goats means she has lost her place and needs to regain it but it looks as though this may take a while. It's two weeks since she fell ill - it's been a long trawl back to good health and we are not there yet but maybe, justy maybe we can now see the trend line is on an upward slope!!
And as we are having a spate of 'good news, bad news', just now, we are sad (actually gutted) to report that one of the field trio of rhea has died. No known reason but we suspect maybe it wasn't eating enough?? Bloomin sad!! And then there were four - BUT we may just have some good news about our egg in the incubator.
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