Video: Smallholders' Diary

PUBLISHED: 16:17 22 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:58 04 May 2010

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OUR eight light Sussex chickens have now settled in well, albeit they are reminded regularly who is boss by our older hens, and generally have to wait their turn before getting near the feed and water containers. The one good thing we have noticed with th

OUR eight light Sussex chickens have now settled in well, albeit they are reminded regularly who is boss by our older hens, and generally have to wait their turn before getting near the feed and water containers. The one good thing we have noticed with the new chickens, is that they will chase the wild birds away from the feed.

As the birds are getting older it is becoming more apparent that we have at least four cockerels out of the eight chickens. However we are only basing this on appearance and behavior!

The four younger chicks will be let loose in to the run next week, and we are now pretty certain they are Peking bantams, all different colours- black, grey, white and lavender.

Three of our hens have gone broody, the two original hens that hatched the Light Sussex eggs and our oldest hen. This time we have purchased some fertile Welsummer eggs which they are currently sitting on.

Our two large black pigs are doing very well and have voracious appetites, eating most things offered to them. Of course as per regulations, they are not offered scraps from the kitchen and are only given supplementary items from the vegetable patch prior to it going to the kitchen. They absolutely adore spinach and beetroot leaves, and know when we are in the vegetable plot as they come up to that part of their run that is closest and squeal in anticipation of a tasty morsel.

We purchased our pigs as weaners from Cambria Farm in Isleham, who only breed rare breed pigs on a completely free range basis. Two weeks ago Jane Wilton-Clark, who owns and runs Cambria Farm asked if our two Large Black pigs could be taken out for the day to the Pymoor show to represent Cambria Farm. Her own pigs were the subject of a 20 day Defra standstill which is the norm when you move a pig in or out of your holding. We were more than happy to accommodate this request, not only to help Jane out but it also gave us practice at getting the pigs in to and out of a trailer. I must say the pigs were extremely good, getting in to and out of the trailer with no problems as and when required. They certainly attracted a lot of attention at the show, and were obviously spoilt.

They are now back safely in their outdoor run where they spent a large part of the next day just lazing around. No change there then.

The vegetable plot and polytunnel are currently at full steam producing copious amounts of goodies. Any excess produce that we have we are currently either freezing or bottling for use later in the year. Any over and above this we are currently looking in to the prospect of selling.

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