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! There are also lots of dropped Apples and Pears for the Pigs to enjoy, our trees fruited really well and there are far too many for us to use. it is also the start of ‘Spider Season’ so don’t forget to pick up some conkers and place them in the corners of windowsills etc to keep the spiders away (please let me know if you think it really works or if I am just going a little crazy!).
Before the days get even shorter and the temperature drops more it is a good idea to give your chicken house an extra thorough clean. Leaving it much later in the year will mean it struggles to get dry before the birds return in the evening. We always recommend a thorough application of Poultry Shield and Diatom in the house, along with a dusting of BioDri over the outside run (hopefully you have taken advantage of our recent offers on these products). The birds should also notice the drop in temperature, and it should stop hens from being broody, although you always get the odd hen that prefers the comfort of the nest box and just continues to sit! At this time of year we find our boarding pens are a little quieter so it is a good time to go around our own flocks and give a each bird a health check and each pen a thorough clean before the October half term when our boarding pens again get busier (we are also getting booked over the Christmas period so don’t forget to book your birds for their stay here if you are hoping to get away during these times).
The shorter days also give a great opportunity for introducing new hens to a flock. Less daylight hours means less time for the flock to get bored and mischievous, and so pecking can be less of a problem. The longer nights also mean that you don’t have to be up so early in the morning and late at night if you are introducing the birds at night but separating them during the day. This month Jason’s Home Farmer Article is all about introducing birds to a flock so do take a read if this is something you are considering.
This Month’s Pest Control Feature: Rodenticide…
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
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. Read more about Graham’s advice and the planned approach needed when using Rodenticides to avoid a threat to non target animals including pets and predatory birds including owls.
Ian’s Gardening Tales from the Weald…
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.
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. Read more about hedges and nesting birds.
Ian Donovan: Hips and Haws Gardening, Crowhurst