This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I realised that I haven't mentioned my menagerie lately. My hens are not laying quite so many eggs because it is autumn and the days are getting shorter. They are very light dependent. The two bantams are still going strong. I thought that the cold weather last winter would finish them off because they are very old - but they are tough old girls. The middleaged ones are moulting and look a right scruffy lot. They are taking it in turns to lay an egg now as their energies go into making new feathers and not into eggs. When they do lay, the egg is very large and must have caused a bit of stress to produce... The younger ones that I got this year are laying about the same number of eggs still - so they are the ones who are supporting the others financially as I sell their eggs. Next winter, there will be a lot fewer eggs and I will have to go back to rationing my customers again.

I am doing quite a trade in eggs at the moment and am able to sell all that the hens produce. Over the summer, the hens cost a lot in wood preservative for the henhouses and in treatments for red mite - probably towards £100 extra if I added it all up. Normally, averaged over the year, I would reckon to cover the cost of the food and a contribution towards the other expenses. This year, having the new hens, I think I'll end up with a large contribution towards this summer's extra costs.

The cats are loving having Whiskas again, thanks to Asda having one of their varieties still on offer. I was on foot when I managed to call into Asda this week so could only buy a few tins. I have a wrist that is not cooperating fully so I can't carry much. But every little saving helps! AND the cats are happy.

The rabbits are doing what they always do. The big one just loves a big pile of grass to munch her way through. She does not like the winter when there is no grass growing and thinks cabbage or any other greens make a poor substitute. Maybe I ought to put a little bit in a couple of pots and grow it inside so that she can have a weekly treat over the winter. I do notice that we get through a huge amount of bought rabbit food (pellets/muesli mix) over the summer as the big one always eats the grass first.


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