You may remember from earlier posts how our first ever egg hatch in October resulted in one lovely girl, Cleopatra, and three (3!!) boys. Roosters are not the most wanted animal around, especially if you’d rather keep them OFF someone’s plate. So when their wattles and combs got so big and bright red that I could no longer be in denial, I begun the near-impossible task of finding these gorgeous guys homes where they could happily live out their days.
Surprisingly, the first one to go was the least likely to ever find a safe home, the cross breed (Australorp cross Light Sussex). Even backyard enthusiasts are sometimes reluctant to acquire crosses, but this boy is gentle and gorgeous with green and red sheen to his feathers. I was thrilled when he got adopted by a great home to be their pet. They named him King Rex, a very fitting name, I thought, as at only five months of age he had not yet filled out properly and his tall slender figure did rather resemble a dinosaur...
Less than a week after King Rex joined the flock, one of the girls went broody and to everyone’s amazement, a couple of days ago, two beautiful chicks hatched… clearly King Rex was thrilled to have his own flock and wasted no time at all!
Well done and congratulations… may the chicks be girls!
For a short video of Kind Rex’s babies visit our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Tatum-hills-farm
It was a big day at Tatum Hills yesterday with four llamas and about 15 humans visiting to attend a day of llama packing as taught by Mark Brindley, president of the Llama Association.
The day started early for some at Tatum Hills to make sure there were safe pens ready for the vistors (the llama ones!) and our resident llamas were all fed and out of the way for the day.
Workshop participants started with tea and rasberry muffins before Mark launched us into the 'how to' of llama training and llama accessories directed specifically at taking our llamas on walks or camping trips and making sure they did most of the carrying. We had a look at about 8 different types of saddles and panier setups with some explanations and tips about all of them.
After the theory, it was time to try the real thing and saddle up one of the visiting llamas. The first 'volunteer' was a wonderful 10 year old llama called Archer. He is quite a small chap and travelled from Newcastle in his family's large car, sharing the back seat with young Emma. Archer was the star of the day, taking to all packing-related activities like a pro. While chatting with his owners, we discovered he is one of our old girl Beeghum's crias and half brother to our Bakr and Valentine.
Lunch followed, before the afternoon simulation of a llama trial.
Mostly good things have happened At Tatum Hills over the past week or so... Our three chicks are now having regular outings with mum and loving it, though mum only allows them out of their pen for a few minutes at the time. Hopefully that means that mum likes the nursery pen and feels safe there!
The halter training sessions with the llamas are progressing nicely. Carol is scared of ropes but has a Labrador-like food motivation. I decided to go without ropes, just the halter and lots of food... Seems to be working.
Of this year's babies, Spot is the least compliant. Though he loves pats he hates anything over his nose. Valentine lets me put the halter on without complaints every time, so I might take him for a walk around the place soon, with his mum who's also hater trained.
But the Golden star goes to Medelia who turns one month today. Even though she's not very fond of pats, she let me halter her without complaints today for the first time... So proud of you girl!
Lastly, Roger gets to spend a night in the house, with hot water bottle, meds and vitamins. He looked very slow this morning, so even if he seemed 90% recovered tonight, I thought I'd better spare him the night chills.
Hopefully he just got a bit cold and is feeling bad from moulting... Will be listening out for his loud crowing in the house in the morning!
This is probably my favourite ornamental at Tatum Hills, it's called Mirabilis or Four O'Clock as it opens it's beautifully fragrant flowers in the evenings. Perfect for enjoying when you get home from work!
Our large bush is on the Eastern side of the house and seems very happy there. It requires virtually no care once established and it self seeds giving you extra plants every year. It is not invasive, however, and the heavy seeds don't travel far.
Apparently the seeds are poisonous but we have chickens free ranging around it, lizards, a snake, cats and the dog and they all seem fine.
It completely dies down in Winter so it can live through heavy frosts. It's appearance in Spring is always a welcome discovery.
We are currently collecting seeds for propagating in Spring. Contact us if you'd like some!
This is Harriet, she's a naughty but mostly VERY lucky chicken!
Last night we got home and we found Harriet was nowhere to be found. Disappeared without a trace.
All we could think of was a hawk attack as the big pen is open above, but with trees, high grass and various shelters, the chickens should be able to seek cover when needed... Mystery.
We went to bed most demoralised, wondering what we could do to improve the situation in a hurry.
This morning, I went to check again, just in case and... There she was! Happy and healthy, not a scratch, OUTSIDE the pen! She spent the night out and survived Mr Fox, very lucky indeed! Oscar and the other girls were most delighted to see her again and in she went, back in the safety of the pen.
Little Valentine was a model student yesterday, letting Jennie halter him and looking gorgeous in it... We'll also need to buy a cria-sized halter!
Lessons from the day: we need better pens, I need to relax and not get all worried at the slightest sign of stress from my llamas :)
Best part of the day: having seen how Jennie does it, we now feel more confident to have a go and find a training way that suits us and our llamas! Stay tuned to see how we go...
Before the nights get too cold, we decided to have a camping "trip" on the hill with our llamas.
The kangaroos also greeted us as we walked up the hill.
Carol and Valentine were most puzzled by Elody's horse ... "Why does she need a toy horse when she has all of us real llamas?" Good question, but that's how two year olds work.
So we got to the tent and had dinner, then the stars came out and it was really amazing! But...
Turns out camping with the llamas is less quiet than predicted as the babies started chasing each other madly. It was heaps of fun to watch them play but we kept the torch on until they settled... Just to remind them there was a tent in their paddock tonight and they probably shouldn't run into it! Of course they didn't! Check out our Facebook page for a video of the playing llamas!
Sally, our ever-broody Light Sussex girl, hatched three Wheaten Maran chicks for us yesterday. Marans are the chocolate brown egg layers and we hope we have some girls in there, as we are looking forward to a colourful egg basket.
Sally is a great mum but out of the five eggs we gave her only three made it. On closer inspection, we realised one wasn't fertile and another one was fertile but the little guy failed to hatch. Very sad.
More worries came when one of the chicks seemed to have some issues walking as he rolled over whenever he tried. Thankfully, this issue only lasted about an hour and all three chicks are now happily walking around following mum. We moved them to the nursery pen so they have space all to themselves and can have mediaced chick starter feed to make sure they stay healthy.
Check out our Facebook page to see a video of the poor rolling chick (quite funny actually) and of how they are liking their new pen.
Born and raised in Italy, travelled a lot and lived in Singapore and Spain