Introducing New Birds Into An Existing Flock – Jason’s Fifth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

Everyone loves the thought of that ‘magic answer’ – something many seek when it comes to introducing new birds into an existing flock!

Cockerels Can Help Introductions
Cockerels Can Help Introductions

In our shop, I work extremely hard to ensure that no one leaves, having purchased birds, without being asked if they have an existing flock, and whether they intend to introduce the new ones to them. If the answer is yes, they are asked if they have done this before, how it went, and just a quick run through to ensure they did it the best way possible. If the answer is no, then myself or my staff will talk them through the procedure that we recommend they follow. This is never set in stone, and will depend on many factors – for successful introduction, there is much you must know… Continue reading “Introducing New Birds Into An Existing Flock – Jason’s Fifth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Happy Pigs, Chicken Coops, Flock Integration, Free Gifts, Mealworms Offer, Vouchers, Feed

Happy Pigs

A Happy Pig Snuffling Acorns
A Happy Pig Snuffling Acorns

The leaves are dropping already! The plum tree is now nearly bare and there are conkers and leaves all over the track (time to start raking!) The Oaks are only just beginning to turn, but they are loaded with Acorns this year and much to the pigs delight they are constantly dropping into their pen! Continue reading “Happy Pigs, Chicken Coops, Flock Integration, Free Gifts, Mealworms Offer, Vouchers, Feed”

Allen and Page Feeds – Smallholder Range – Natural Free Range Layers Pellets / Crumble

Emily Brown has worked for the Smallholder Range as South East Area Manager since 2013. Emily is very passionate about feeding animals as naturally as possible and helping owners to overcome nutritional problems with correct feeding. This month, Emily gives us an insight into what makes up their natural free range product line.

smallholder range
Smallholder Range, Natural Free Range Pellets / Crumble

Natural Free Range Layers Feed from the Smallholder Range provides a complete, nutritionally balanced diet, for healthy hens. Made from the highest standard of Non-GM ingredients, the Smallholder Range has recently launched their layers feed with the additional benefit of being Soya Free! Continue reading “Allen and Page Feeds – Smallholder Range – Natural Free Range Layers Pellets / Crumble”

Amanda’s Beekeeping Notes – Winter Feeding, Varroa Checks, Hornet Control, Wax Moths

Amanda holds regular Training Courses at Mantel Farm and contributes regularly to our beekeeping newsletters. Our regular newsletter can be found here. Amanda is a professional ecologist who has been keeping up to 25 colonies of bees for about fifteen years. She has attained BBKA theory modules 1-7 with credits & distinctions and has also won prizes at the National Honey Show for honey & other products.

Bees orange ragwort or pale balsam pollen
Ragwort pollen pouring in, in response to first feed in early September. Entrance (5.5mm high) reduced right down with sponge to help defend against wasps and robbers.

Feeding and Varroa Check for Winter

Feeding syrup should be completed by now, this is so the bees have time before the weather becomes colder, to reduce the moisture in it as they would with nectar so it will keep over winter. If they still do not have what they need, I expect that 2:1 syrup or invert syrup is still better than anything else such as fondant, until the weather falls consistently below 14°C, at which point they go into a cluster. Continue reading “Amanda’s Beekeeping Notes – Winter Feeding, Varroa Checks, Hornet Control, Wax Moths”

Ian’s Gardening Tales From The Weald – Hedge Cutting And Nesting Birds

Ian is a Gardens Manager living in Crowhurst, working as part of a team in three large country gardens in the Sussex and Kent Weald, where he is passionate about natural gardening.

Cutting Hedges
Cutting Hedges

This month we begin our hedge cutting regime in all of our gardens. Except for the minimal reduction of lateral growth in the summer for access, we haven’t cut since the end of February. This allows the birds to complete their second or even third brood cycles. Continue reading “Ian’s Gardening Tales From The Weald – Hedge Cutting And Nesting Birds”

This Month’s Pest Control Feature – Rodenticides

Graham Burgess provides a local pest control service, including Bees, Wasps, Mice, Rabbits, Mink, Moles, Rats, Earwigs and Birds. This month he has written a feature on Rodenticides.

Rodents
Rodents

At this time of year it is worth checking your garden or plot for signs of rats before the winter months set in. If a rat population is low then control measures can be carried out yourself using licensed baits and traps, but if an infestation is found then you will need to call in a pest controller to solve the problem, so early action is best. Continue reading “This Month’s Pest Control Feature – Rodenticides”

Autumn Poultry Care – Jason’s Fourth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

Thoughts on keeping your flock safe and healthy during Autumn and Winter

Autumn is upon us! I’m sure we say it every year, but soon the clocks will be changing and the nights will be drawing in, before we know it, pumpkins, bonfire night, log fires and, yep – Christmas again! (That reminds me, I still haven’t got around to chopping enough logs for the fire, and every year I’m convinced we’ll be ready, but there’s just too much to do!)

Chicken perching in our pear tree
Chicken perching in our pear tree

So what does this seasonal change mean to the poultry keeper?

For many, poultry keeping is ‘all about the eggs’ – a drop in light levels can mean a drop in egg production. Continue reading “Autumn Poultry Care – Jason’s Fourth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Electric Van, School Holidays, Allen & Page, Home Farmer Article, Special Offers, Gardening Talk

Wheels In Motion

August is the month where all routine seems to fly out the window! With variable weather and the school holidays added to the usual mix of madness. This year is our youngest sons last school holiday – a real reminder that the years move so quickly, it still seems only the other day that we no longer had any family at Primary School, now it’s a year of GCSEs and decisions on where to go next!

Those who follow us on our Facebook page may have seen that at the beginning of August we collected our new electric van. A big step forward for us to have a dedicated business vehicle – hopefully putting an end to the last minute folding up the seats in our car and travelling squashed between bits of chicken run, beehives, feed and chickens! (Although for larger chicken run installations and shows I am sure this wont yet be a thing of the past!)

Chris with our electric van
Chris with our electric van

Continue reading “Electric Van, School Holidays, Allen & Page, Home Farmer Article, Special Offers, Gardening Talk”

Amanda’s Beekeeping Notes – Seasons Turning, Cappings, Hives Review, Apiguard, Honey Crop

Amanda holds regular Training Courses at Mantel Farm and contributes regularly to our beekeeping newsletters. Our regular newsletter can be found here. Amanda is a professional ecologist who has been keeping up to 25 colonies of bees for about fifteen years. She has attained BBKA theory modules 1-7 with credits & distinctions and has also won prizes at the National Honey Show for honey & other products.

How quickly the seasons turn

It is now damp and cloudy and some leaves are turning brown; bee populations are reducing brood although still active in the warmth. All seem to be in robbing mode and as soon as I open my honey shed door or garage where my licked supers are stored they are in there sniffing around. I am careful to cover the frames with cover cloths when opening hives and when I do icing sugar treatments I stuff a cloth at the back to prevent the wasps and robbers messing up the insert drop. Be especially careful not to drop any wax or syrup on the ground. If you start feeding, do the first one in the evening and try to do them all at the same time to minimise the excitement it causes. I must put my wasp traps up.

Bee on Sedum
Bee on Sedum

Continue reading “Amanda’s Beekeeping Notes – Seasons Turning, Cappings, Hives Review, Apiguard, Honey Crop”

Ian’s Gardening Tales From The Weald – Wild Flower Meadows

Ian is a Gardens Manager living in Crowhurst, working as part of a team in three large country gardens in the Sussex and Kent Weald, where he is passionate about natural gardening.

Oh September the month of melancholy, mists and fruitfulness! Our first swallows have formed migratory flocks and are all away back down south, our martins will travel along too and we are left with a sense of loss but a sense of gain also with the beauty of autumn’s cool mists, fruitfulness and colour.

Autumn gardening
Autumn gardening

We cut our wild flower meadows this month. Continue reading “Ian’s Gardening Tales From The Weald – Wild Flower Meadows”

Allen and Page Feeds – Introduction To The Smallholder Range

Emily Brown has worked for the Smallholder Range as South East Area Manager since 2013. Emily is very passionate about feeding animals as naturally as possible and helping owners to overcome nutritional problems with correct feeding. This is her introduction as a contributor to the Mantel Farm newsletter each month…

Emily Brown - Allen and Page
Emily Brown – Allen and Page

What makes the Smallholder Range so different?

Non-GM Ingredients

To be able to offer you the very highest standard of feed the Smallholder Range does all that they can to ensure that all the ingredients used are grown from seed which is not genetically modified (Non-GM). Continue reading “Allen and Page Feeds – Introduction To The Smallholder Range”

Our Local Weather Forecast For September 2017

The pigs are feasting on apples now and soon there will be acorns too so they’re all fattening up nicely. Our bees are furiously filling up their hive with honey and certainly got quite nasty when I had a peek inside the other day. As for the fishing well there are still plenty of fat plaice around, sole and night from the beach and big bream on some marks offshore but not a lot else. If there is any settled hot weather we might see shoals of mackerel coming in to the beaches.

Our Pigs enjoying the weather
Our Pigs enjoying the weather

So, what will September’s weather bring? Continue reading “Our Local Weather Forecast For September 2017”

This Month’s Pest Feature – Flies and Fly Traps

Graham Burgess provides a local pest control service, including Bees, Wasps, Mice, Rabbits, Mink, Moles, Rats, Earwigs and Birds. This month he has written a feature on Flies and Fly traps.

House Flies and traps
House Flies and traps

A fly infestation in your home is a nuisance and a health risk. Flies can carry diseases such as Typhoid, E Coli, and Salmonella.

To make a simple fly trap take a 2 litre lemonade bottle, Continue reading “This Month’s Pest Feature – Flies and Fly Traps”

Wasp Traps, Red Mite Advice, Asian Hornets, Poultry Shield Offer, Gardening Tips

Fruit and Honey Harvest

Later this week we hope to take some honey from our beehives. The bees have done extremely well this year, even the colony that was weak to begin with has got stronger and stronger as the early warm weather gave plenty of opportunities for the bees to get out and about foraging. This has also helped the fruit and we have a bumper crop of peaches, plums, apples and pears this year, so much so we have had to prop our peach tree up to stop it from falling over from the weight of the fruit!

Comb of our Honey
Comb of our Honey

Continue reading “Wasp Traps, Red Mite Advice, Asian Hornets, Poultry Shield Offer, Gardening Tips”

Amanda’s Beekeeping Notes – Pollinators, Wasps, Honey Flow, Requeening, Varroa Treatment

Amanda holds regular Training Courses at Mantel Farm and contributes regularly to our beekeeping newsletters. Our regular newsletter can be found here. Amanda is a professional ecologist who has been keeping up to 25 colonies of bees for about fifteen years. She has attained BBKA theory modules 1-7 with credits & distinctions and has also won prizes at the National Honey Show for honey & other products.

In mid July, I was in the garage scraping some old frames and heard a hum. Rushing outside, I saw a medium sized swarm of bees in the middle of the garden which rapidly made off over the wall, across my neighbour’s garden and up and off far away at quite a speed as though they knew where they were going.

Bees on Goat's Rue
Bees on Goat’s Rue

Continue reading “Amanda’s Beekeeping Notes – Pollinators, Wasps, Honey Flow, Requeening, Varroa Treatment”

Ian’s Gardening Tales From The Weald – Lammas Festival and Rowan Berries

Ian is a Gardens Manager living in Crowhurst, working as part of a team in three large country gardens in the Sussex and Kent Weald, where he is passionate about natural gardening.

The beginning of August is noted for the ancient Celtic festival of ‘Lammas’ or ‘Lughnasadh’. It is a celebration of the harvest time & the subsequent baking of bread from the first wheat brought in from the fields and the making of traditional corn dollies.

Rowan Berries
Rowan Berries

Seed was kept from the ripened wheat & stored to sow again the following year. Continue reading “Ian’s Gardening Tales From The Weald – Lammas Festival and Rowan Berries”

Our Local Weather Forecast For August 2017

After a long, relatively, settled period the weather has definitely changed. The jet stream has pushed south and is currently running across the centre of the UK which means, generally speaking, unsettled weather is brought in from the west rather than warm air from the south and east.

August weather forecast
Our apples have benefited from this year’s weather

Our pigs are loving having a bit more water – their wallow is well used but of course bees don’t like windy and wet weather.

So to the next few weeks; the coming Saturday is likely to see a continuation of sunshine and showers although we’ll get less rain and more sun down here in Sussex. Continue reading “Our Local Weather Forecast For August 2017”

This Month’s Pest Feature – Wasps – Making Wasp Traps

Graham Burgess provides a local pest control service, including Bees, Wasps, Mice, Rabbits, Mink, Moles, Rats, Earwigs and Birds. This month he has written a feature on Wasp traps.

Wasp Trap
Wasp Trap

Wasps are starting to build up in numbers so bee keepers should start taking precautions to prevent them from robbing their hives.

To make a simple wasp trap all you need is a jam jar with a metal lid. Continue reading “This Month’s Pest Feature – Wasps – Making Wasp Traps”

Recurring Mitemares – Jason’s Third Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

Are you suffering from re-occurring red ‘mitemares’?!

Although an incredibly difficult problem to solve 100%, this month through practical advice and my own experiences, I’ll be aiming to get you as close to that goal as possible and hopefully have you sleeping a bit easier!

Red Mite Under Microscope
Red Mite Under Microscope

What is Red Mite?

I guess any new poultry keepers reading this may well be wondering what we are talking about here, well, we are talking about (in my opinion): ‘poultry enemy No.1’ – The Red Spider Mite. Continue reading “Recurring Mitemares – Jason’s Third Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Defra Lifts Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Across England

It is strongly recommended that all keepers – whether they have commercial flocks or a few birds in their back garden – continue to follow good practice on biosecurity despite the Prevention Zone being lifted – to reduce the risk of infection, including minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy and feeding birds inside.

All disease control measures are kept under review based on the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice. Poultry gatherings across England can now go ahead, subject to some additional identity and health checks and biosecurity measures, now that the Prevention Zone has been lifted.

Defra Lisfts Prevention Zone - Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island Red

If your birds are housed it is especially important to  Continue reading “Defra Lifts Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Across England”

Amanda’s Beekeeping Notes – Caring For Bees In Hot Weather

Bee on Thalictrum flafum
Bee on Thalictrum Flafum

Planting for Bees
In late June I went to RHS Wisley on a sunny day. Salvias and Nepeta were very popular with the bees for nectar and I came home with two varieties from the plant shop, which had the most bees on. Lots of bees were collecting pollen from the yellow pompoms of Thalictrum flavum;  Meadow Rue so it looks like I shall have to locate a plant or seed of that too. Of course, the ‘drifts’ at Wisley are spectacular but my pots look good on my patio.
Continue reading “Amanda’s Beekeeping Notes – Caring For Bees In Hot Weather”

Ian’s Gardening Tales From The Weald – Butterflies and Nectar Plants

Ian is a Gardens Manager living in Crowhurst, working as part of a team in three large country gardens in the Sussex and Kent Weald, where he is passionate about natural gardening.

I always enjoy July in the gardens as by now we can enjoy & savour the life all around us.

Painted Lady Butterfly
Painted Lady Butterfly

Continue reading “Ian’s Gardening Tales From The Weald – Butterflies and Nectar Plants”

This Month’s Pest Feature – The Feral Pigeon

Graham Burgess provides a local pest control service, including Bees, Wasps, Mice, Rabbits, Mink, Moles, Rats, Earwigs and Birds. This month he has written a feature on Feral Pigeons.

Feral Pigeon
The Feral Pigeon

Feral Pigeons originate from cliff nesting Rock Doves so now they look upon all types of buildings as nothing more than a fancy cliff. They require little nesting
material sometimes only a pile of droppings with just a few twigs. They will start laying in early spring and usually produce 2 eggs 4 times a season.

Continue reading “This Month’s Pest Feature – The Feral Pigeon”