Sunday 24 April 2016

Hatching eggs

Currently I have some hatching eggs available:

French Copper Marans (brown egg) will hatch into all 3 colours (splash, copper black, and copper blue). Real French type with feathered shanks. £1
Cream Legbar, autosexing, pale blue egg £1
West of England goose -- autosexing breed £5

I only sell eggs when I have incubated from the same parents and seen good fertility, so unfortunately due to fertility issues the Dorkings are having at the moment, their eggs are not available. Heritage turkey eggs should hopefully be available later, as these are coming into lay and will be going in the incubator next.

Lost & Found update

The owner of the stray emus has come forward and the emus have now gone home. We are still eager to reunite the car keys with their owner, however. :-)

Saturday 23 April 2016

Vauxhall key

It is a day for lost things, as a tenant has handed in a Vauxhall key found in a pull-in opposite the pasture next to the house. Please get in touch if you have lost your car key.

Lost & Found

A neighbour telephoned me this morning asking me to come and get my emu chicks as their next-door neighbour had just found two escapees! I have three emus. One is not big enough to go outside yet and is in the dining room, and I had just been outside stroking the others, so I said that there must be some mistake as they were all accounted for. The neighbour passed on the telephone number of the couple who had found them, and I telephoned them and explained that they were not my emus, but that I would be happy to help and could try to ascertain whose they are and take them in and look after them properly in the meantime.

So I drove up the road to the neigbours' house. They were indeed emu chicks, and the people said they had found them wandering in the lane outside their house. They were lively and alert, although not in great condition, one of them in particular being quite thin and both of them having diarrhoea and tatty plumage. My estimate is that they are between 1 and 2 months old. Due to their condition and the circumstances in which they were found (nobody is aware of anyone else in the vicinity who has emus, chicks tend to stay in familiar territory at this age and not roam large distances, and the place where they were found is reasonably remote) my initial suspicion is that the emus have been abandoned by someone who got their hands on some eggs without properly thinking through how they would meet the needs of the emus or how they would fit into their lifestyle.

I went to the vet intending to ask for the emus to be scanned on the offchance they had been microchipped, but the vets were out to lunch, so that will have to wait for another day. If anyone has lost some chicks and recognises these emus, please get in touch. Update: the owner of the emus has come forward and the emus have now returned home.

Thursday 21 April 2016

Memories are Made of Trees

I like to plant trees around the place that have personal meanings to me. The Amelanchier is one of the first trees I planted here. Years ago, when I lived in the Midlands, and had a 'proper' job, life was busy and a lot of things were not perfect. But the weekends at that time in my life I remember as halcyon days. I would go to archery and spend the morning shooting with a good friend, and afterwards I would drive to my grandparents' house and eat a lovely meal my grandmother had cooked. My grandfather would usually be in his garden, either gardening or polishing his green Volvo. The garden was very beautiful because they put a great deal of work into it, and in it was an Amelanchier that had pale flowers on it in the spring, and on a sunny autumn day the leaves were bright red against the cerulean sky when you stood under it.

Time went on, and my grandfather's health declined so they sold the house to move elsewhere. My grandfather struggled with Parkinson's disease before the end. It took from him his ability to drive his Volvo, his ability to enjoy his garden, and finally when there was nothing left it took him as well. I like to think of my Grandad the way I knew him before he was ill, in his garden at their house. There is in fact a picture of him on Google Earth, captured from the road, standing next to his Volvo and tending to the lawn. I'm glad there's a little piece of the life he lived preserved there. Although change is inevitable, and we can never go back, when the Amelanchier flowers, the memories return.

My history with magnolias isn't quite so poignant, but there was already a magnificent magnolia here before we moved in.

I have two new collar colours for spring, made from cream leather and with a magnolia (pink stitching) and amelanchier (burgundy stitching) theme.

Monday 18 April 2016

Stand still and think of England

I have tried to mate Hobsey on her last two seasons to a lovely stud dog belonging to someone else, but unfortunately it hasn't been successful as she has proven to be a difficult maiden, which is perhaps exacerbated because she doesn't travel well. I've decided what Hobsey really needs is time with a dog who is experienced enough to be both patient and persistent enough to... well, to put it bluntly... to give her a damn good rogering.

So, Hobsey has been mating with Loki, in the hope that she will have her first litter and also be more relaxed and confident next time when I hopefully take her to meet an unfamiliar boy. I'm not really sure why Cally came outside in this video. Cally never went through puberty so she doesn't seem to know if she's a dog or a bitch, and seems to think this is a game three can play!

This is the 5th time Hobsey has mated, so if she isn't pregnant this time, it probably means there is something the matter with her, unless Loki has krupled his blutzon since he last fertilised a bitch in 2013. She is much more confident with mating now than she was before, at least. If it has worked, we will be hoping to have some puppies in mid June. Both Hobsey and Loki are health tested.

Thursday 14 April 2016


Despite the weather forecast, spring has come to Brock-o-Dale. Winter is a miserable time to do any sort of work outside, and it's always nice this time of year to go out and enjoy the livestock in pleasant weather, which is what it is all about!

Unfortunately the youngest emu died suddenly and unexpectedly the morning after it hatched, for reasons that were not apparent at all. This is incredibly frustrating, but just one of those inevitabilities involved in raising young animals. The other hatchling so far is doing OK and has started to peck at emu food and bits of apple, although it is unfortunately on its own for the time being and I don't know how soon it will be before it can be put in with the older two for company.

I don't normally let chickens set on eggs and hatch them, but we had an accident with a less reliable incubator overheating, and only two Marans eggs hatched from a clutch of many. One of them had something wrong with it, no doubt from the rise in temperature, and had to be put down. As single chicks usually die and I do not like to mess about trying to keep one warm and feed it, we put the peep in a spare house under a silver Dorking hen who had gone broody for some weeks and was refusing to get up. The hen accepted the chick, but the next morning as I was checking the overdue remaining eggs before feeding them to the dogs, I noticed one was alive, so I put that under the hen as well. As a result we now have a Dorking with two copper black Marans.

Sunday 10 April 2016

More emus

We have two more emu chicks, from the eggs I got from a lady in a pub! For now they are Green Jess and White Jess.

Meanwhile, I put West of England goose eggs in the incubator last week, and recently candled them and they are all fertile. I don't usually sell hatching eggs, but have had a few enquiries for goose eggs. So, tentatively, since the incubator is full, I am likely to have a few for sale until the geese stop laying, £5 each.

(Alpaca in background is sunbathing, not dead)

Thursday 7 April 2016

Adhara's Penn Hip

Adhara has scored 0.30 (left) and 0.33 (right) on her Penn Hip, meaning her hips are among the best 10% of the Standard Poodles who have been assessed under the scheme. :-)

Tuesday 5 April 2016

SAMSON, the √úbercollar for huge hairy hooligans

A new heavy-duty version of my poodle collars is now available. It has the same smooth seam and circular cross-section and is made from English brass fittings, French linen thread, and high-quality vegetable-tanned leather. This is a very strong collar developed for large dogs and aggressive pullers, so currently it is only available in thick black leather, but you can of course choose stitching colours (including two colours in alternating stitches).

Whilst it's strong, it's not heavy or lumpy. Here's a picture of Adhara wearing it (it's too big for her, but to give some idea of scale):

There's also a flat version available for short-coated dogs.

Flat version £33 15-20" neck
Rolled version £40 15-19" neck
Other sizes can be arranged, please contact me with your dog's neck circumference measurement.

Guaranteed for the lifetime of your dog against workmanship faults and failure under normal use given reasonable care, which means I give you a refund if your dog does manage to break it.