Saturday, October 25, 2014

Show Day

This year I did not work on the Hobart Show Day public holiday. It's always a tough one, as the rest of Australia is still working and it's a busy time of year at work. But we took the day off and David and I went to the show. As I have mentioned before, I love a good agricultural show - seeing the cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, the farmyard nursery with the cute yellow ducklings, the horses and even the rabbits and cavies. We patted one of the rabbits and I think it was the softest thing I've ever touched. You can keep the dagwood dogs, the fairy floss and the showbags, but it was still an entertaining day out - although an expensive one for families. It must be said that the Woolworths fruit and vegetables display is not a patch on the one at the Sydney Royal Show and I was disappointed that the old chairlift is no longer there as that part of the showgrounds is now a big construction site. But it was a good thing to do once anyway. Some churros, hot chips and an ice cream later and it was time to go home.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Meanwhile in chook town

Last week I took a chook to the vet. It was the first time I have done that and I felt a bit silly. In the past, our birds have only had conditions that they recovered from in time with a bit of rest and relaxation or minor treatment. Either that, or they have dropped dead for no apparent reason or been taken by birds of prey. When I called to book an appointment, the vet assistant asked if the chicken has a name. "Um, no," I said, so her vet record reads "Chicken Moore".

This hen has an injured leg. David spotted her hobbling badly while I was away for work and isolated her in the broody box in the shed. Sebastian the rooster was, shall we say, taking advantage of her relative immobility. In fact he may have been the cause of the injury in the first place. Apart from her leg, she was fine - eating, drinking, even laying eggs for the first few days we had her separated. And she is perhaps only nine months old, one of last year's batch of chicks. So I couldn't fix it and couldn't justify euthanasia, so decided to take her to the vet. At least we were able to rule out a broken leg. There is some kind of inflammation or calcification of the bone in her upper leg. I am now giving her some anti-inflammatory stuff and continued rest in the isolation box. We'll see what happens.

Meanwhile, we have locked Sebastian up in the chook yard to give the girls a break for while. One particularly stupid young brown hen is missing a lot of feathers on her back from... no easy way to say this... over-shagging. She falls for Sebastian's wily cockerel dance every time.

Our last bit of chicken news is that I have put 21 eggs in the incubator. While our little flock is a good size now, we thought hatching one batch of chicks this season might insure against future losses.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Possum magic

Well, here's hoping. The latest weapon in the battle to stop possums eating my fruit trees this year is two of these 'Animal Away' devices. They emit a high pitched noise and flashing light when the motion sensors are tripped. It's unpleasant enough for humans, let alone sensitive animal ears. We have installed one at each end of the little orchard in the hope of deterring the possums. And anyone else who decides to enter the fenced area, including the naughty dog who ate the only apples produced so far by these trees... I will also net the little apricot tree that stands fenced on its own inside our yard. David has installed plastic protectors on all of our non-fruit trees. Poss Off spray is too difficult (and very expensive) when you have a lot of trees to protect.

We haven't seen any possums in the yard so far this spring. Last summer they managed to break the top branches off all our silver birches and a small oak as well as all the apple trees. They don't like pear leaves it seems, as they left those alone. As a result, our espaliered pears are now much larger and healthier than the poor little apples. I really want them to grow healthy and strong this year, so we may one day even enjoy some fruit for our efforts. If these devices work, I will report back. If you've tried them, please let me know!