Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Friends and Foes.

Being 'Organic' brings many beneficial animals and insects, however it also brings unwanted guests, our latest friend is Mrs tiggywinkle, a hedgehog who moved into our big barn, to give birth we think, the unwelcome visitor was a Stoat! Now, as anyone who keep poultry will tell you, as pretty as they might be, you dont want them, fortunately one of the cats had killed this young one that we found, but there must be others around, last year we had a problem with Pine Martens, and we lost three broods of chicks. Our rabbits should be safe enough as they are housed where the dogs sleep, but the hens are very vulnerable, especially the chicks, we now have four more chicks from the incubator, two black and two blond, we are hoping that there is a colour link to the sex and the the black ones are female, we shall have to wait and see.

We have now set the first batch of quails eggs in the incubator, although we had to go back twice to the agricultural suppliers to get the females that we required, the man had a very strange way of sexing them, he looked into their eyes! in the end I had to show him the males foam ball, I do suspect he had a surplus of males and thought he could palm them off to the stupid Brits.

Colorado beetles will always be a problem, as will mice, who nibble the potatoes, as do mole crickets, they also eat any roots of young plants, moles are a menace as well. We have found that the second lot of potatoes planted didn't get either the beetle or blight, we experimented with just using stinging nettle juice and using cut nettles to earth up, we shall rerun this experiment next year to see if it was just a fluke.

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