Adapting routines and a little business venture

Thank you to everyone who is commenting. I read every comment and will reply in due course. For now, I’ve a load of blog posts filling my head that I just need to get out there!! Here we go:

In addition to the quail expansion, we have lots of other ideas and rods in the fire.

We’ve taken on more laying hens, so we have 31 now and another 15 or so coming in 5 weeks time.  The idea of doing this is to provide ourselves with all of the eggs we could ever need and with a view to selling the surplus.  
There’s your basic brown hen and white leghorns here, very prolific layers though the white ones are extremely skittish and flighty.
Below are the eggs starting to build up, we’re averaging 20 a day right now and every one is spoken for the day or day after it is laid.
Our duck total is currently 4 Aylesbury, which we bought as 3 girls and a boy and since have proven the fertility of the eggs to only be low but still a reasonable amount.  We have put 19 in the incubator and will check for fertility again in a few days to only keep the good ones.  The plan for ducks is to grow some on for meat as we like duck, to sell them to friends as meat but then we would also like to become a local supplier of the breed as they are like hen’s teeth around here.  We will also sell the fertile eggs once fertility is up and also sell the duckings and adults.
At the end of February I received an early Mother’s Day gift which was just lovely.  Ste and the kids bought me 10 chicks from Durham hens.  I was sooo happy to get these, look!
There’s 8 Lavender Araucana and 2 Cream Legbars.  The first you can’t sex at birth but the legbars you can (from colourings).  Both of these hens lay blue-green eggs which is exactly why I wanted them as my own special addition.  We are going to breed these beautiful rare breeds too, which we hope will be the first of many to add to building up this little business.

Now taking all of this on whilst having a family, working full time, running a home and smallholding etc etc isn’t something that you can do without planning.  It means you have to adapt, change your routine, plan, review and do it all again if needs be.  Something that we are getting so much better at is doing this.  It’s no longer a shock to the system, which when you first set out it can be.  It’s planned in, dished out and gotten on with.

Every morning Rodney and I feed the horses, exercise (myself) and he sits and looks like he is training with me, I open up outside pens and feed the animals, starting at one end and systematically working to the other end.  Daily the horses stables are tended to morning and evening.  On a weekend I clean out what poultry houses need to be changed over.  The kids and Ste take turns with this but all have their own jobs too.  
I mean, do you even lift bro?
My barrow on our cleaning travels
However, now we’re getting more poultry we need to adapt.  What needed now is a daily spot clean of the poultry houses as this stops the hens and eggs becoming dirty and makes the weekend cleans fewer.  Once done, with a small bucket of chicken poop, I will head over to the compost bin and add it to it, along with any veg peelings and so on.  The horses muck goes to another pile as there’s SO much of it.  We also sell that to local allotments as we don’t use chemicals or straw and they can’t get enough of it.  It really is good sh1t!  We bag it up for them but currently don’ t have enough bags!  We reuse as much as possible to avoid increased plastic use.


We have another big change just happened too, more soon, which means even more adapting and changes which are all for the greater good and fantastically exciting.
Just as a side note, we did buy an incubator out of our savings to help up on our way with this.  It was a budget version and you may get what you pay for, however we will write a review once we have data to review.  In the mean time, this is it for anyone that is interested:


Take care everyone.

An unplanned productive evening.

Last night I finished work, got the kids from school and as they were both tired and Grace was feeling under the weather, they pretty much went to bed as soon as they got in and had tea.  Nothing serious thankfully, just school kids and more germs, but it meant I somehow had a really productive evening.
I set about in the veg plot digging over part of the remaining bed that I’ve been avoiding.  If I take it an hour at a time, it’s more manageable than the thought of doing it all at once.  It’s about 1/3 to 1/2 done now so I am really pleased.  I’ve added more rotted manure in to the bit I’ve done tonight and hopefully come the weekend I will get the rest of the plants in there.  Then that leaves one more bed plus a space that’s previously been used for burning god knows what.  That will become my potato bed very soon.
So in between the veg plot, I had a guy come and collect some manure which combined with another couple over the last week has made an even bigger dent in the muck heap.  Once he had gone and I’d done what I set out to in the veg plot, I spent an hour in the field picking up a barrow of poo.  It’s back breaking work but it was actually quite therapeutic as it is so quiet, so relaxing that in the end I almost enjoyed it.
In the greenhouse the tomato plants have started showing lots of the yellow flowers which will become the fruit so I am now getting excited!!  How long until I can harvest my first tomato!!  Rhubarb & asparargus were divine, I wonder if the tomatoes will be!
Finally I watered my plants then put the animals to bed before collapsing into my own bed, ready to do it all again the next day, what could be better!


Dad started digging the bed for me last night which spured me in to doing more tonight.
This is one of the many muck bins, look at all those mushrooms growing!! 
Close up of one of the mushrooms
The muck heap has caved in as it’s started to rot.  3 months old, good stuff this sh1t!