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Creating a Lasagne bed

in theory – this is a one time make to create a no dig productive growing bed . using a variety of materials to create deep beds of new soils.
The prospective layers are something like these .. starting at the top layer working down to the existing soil layer.
TOP – ready to plant in
(the newspaper layer is only 3 sheets thick, bags need to be separated)

  • somewhat untidy tunnel going into the autumn 2015 - the best bit is the small lasagne bed beyond the wheelbarrow created in March this year.

* cover with feedbags if not using immediately ??
* shreddings / straw or haylage on the top
* compost to plant into
* **new leaves**
* rockdust
* comfrey water
* newspaper / feed bags split
* **old grass clippings**
* wood ash
* comfrey water
* newspaper / feed bags split
* **old leaves**
* rockdust
* comfrey water
* newspaper / feed bags split
* **wool**
* wood ash
* comfrey water
* newspaper / feed bags split
* **slashed leaves ? – dockens / rashes / crocosmia etc**
* rockdust
* comfrey water
* newspaper / feed bags split
* **shredded bracken**
.mixed iwth new ones, a place to put the beech leaves ??
* wood ash
* comfrey water
* newspaper / feed bags split
* **seaweed**
* rockdust
* comfrey water
* newspaper / feed bags split
* **paper shreddings**
* wood ash
* comfrey water
* newspaper / feed bags split
* **coffee**
* rockdust
* comfrey water
* newspaper / feed bags split
* **straw and muck from the byre** – this is where you get DEPTH – the muck can be anything from 3 – 12 months old
* rockdust & wood ash to get the base layers as well nourished as possible
* comfrey water
* –newspaper / feed bags split– packing paper
* **seaweed**
* rockdust & woodash to get the base layers as well nourished as possible
* comfrey water
* –newspaper / feed bags split– Packing paper
* **used old leaves** all the worms etc will lurve them.
* **seaweed**
* rockdust & woodash to get the base layers as well nourished as possible
* comfrey water
* –newspaper / feed bags split– Packing paper
* **compost** at least 2 inches all over
* cardboard or feed bags on the bottom

Zero waste : a better legacy

This new world of plastic processed everything is unsustainable. It is leaving a legacy of waste that many many generations will have to deal with.

Living and working on the land where one treads in the feet of peoples going back to when the Ice Age left us 9,000 years ago, one is conscious of being just temporary custodians of this small area that once was considered important enough to have a neolithic burial cist built on it.

Plastic has no place : it has only become important in the last few decades and it is produced from the most unsustainable raw materials. However we have become dependant on it – its moldablity, its “cleanliness”, its adaptability, its colours ! its durability .. but it will NEVER break down !

so we are trying to find ways to reduce our plastics, to reduce our carbon footprint, to become more self sufficient..

We have a small farm, so are lucky to have the space to create somewhere where we can grow more fuel, more food, build more habitat, find other ways to live that leave a positive legacy here.

Hotmax

This is a brilliant product for getting you warm good and fast. Perfect for those early chilly days when you have got wet outside and need a quick warm up. Guesthouses love them for make a bright warming fire for guests arrival. And in the summer, the cleanest route to warmth, food and fun.

And its soo environmentally friendly as its made from the waste products from making the Bedmax (the best bedding for poultry we think, which, in turn, becomes a great activator for the compost). Bedmax is dust extracted, so they have compressed the dust into tubes, and these becomes little brickettes for the fire. Great recycling.

Hotmax burns hot and fast – it is not suitable for keeping the fire in, but it is the BEST at getting it lit. And very little ash at all.

In the summer, Hotmax is great at keeping you warm as the twilight comes in, perfect for firepits, and hot enough for Barbeques, odourless too so does not taint your delicious food. A clean burn means you do not have to keep moving to avoid the smoke!! And a good fire helps to keep the midges away !! very useful in the Highlands. The “logs” are clean and easy to transport; by breaking up one into small pieces you have a very effective firelighter, and then a good hot clean burn – perfect for camping.

For Rayburns etc, we have also found it remarkably effective at raising the temperature from idle to cooking in short shrift.

you can find out more here about this remarkable product here :- http://www.hotmax.co.uk/ For extra sustainability, the company is committed to planting trees to replace those they use.

Currently we can only get the 20kg bags.

Avian Influenza for domestic poultry keepers

The bird flu lockdown across the country throughout the winter 2017 in the face of the Avian Influenza strain H5N8 that flocks of the wintering migrant birds from the Arctic had picked up was a new and significant change in our domestic poultry keeping regimes.

If you want to receive the alerts from our agriculture department about  exotic and notifiable animal diseases through the APHA alerts service sign up here.

Selling Eggs

If you are only selling / giving eggs to the people who are eating them, you have to simply follow sensible food safety.
But the moment you sell / give to anyone who is either using them for baking or cooking for somoeone else to buy; selling / giving them to someone who will sell them on; or in any other way breaking the direct food chain then you need to register as a packing station with Edinburgh egg and poultry unit.
Good food safety is to collect them daily, several times if very hot. To keep nestboxes very clean; not to wash eggs; to store them in trays somewhere that has a stable cool temperature.
You should not call them free range unless you are registered as it is a legal special marketing term. but Free Roaming is fine.
If you can take an elementary food safety certificate locally that is a great way to show you have the understanding and are prepared to fulfil the necessary due diligence to take care of your customers.
Class A eggs are again a specific term, and require particular grading and care.
Putting sizes on eggs requires accurate weighing scales.

these links are for Scotland, if you live elsewhere you need to find the appropriate department for your area.
Egg Inspections

Treats for hens

The main need for birds is to get plenty of protein and food with high nutrition. Laying birds give us one of the most nutrient dense foods every day, and that comes from the food we give them. If not, they will deplete their bodies causing a nutritional starvation.

 

People want to feed their birds more than layers pellets –

Good hen house design

Good house design

  • ship lap timber
  • simple
  • great ventilation – long narrow strips of mesh protected as well as through the corrugations of the roof for bigger houses
  • high ventilation – not around the heads of the birds

Bad house design

  • plastic, tin,
  • felt roofing – which attracts and promotes red mite infestations
  • slats in the floor as roosting bars – very unnatural, and causes breast bone issues
  • no perches – chickens want to roost from only a few days and weeks old.

Feeding Chickens

How to feed domestic birds depends on the bird, its age, the situation and its production.

Chickens need to eat little and often, throughout the day and night at will.
Water can be left outside at night for adult birds.

Chicks

Adult chickens – laying strains
From 16 weeks old throughout their lives good laying hens, either pure breed or hybrid need to have layers pellets ad lib in their house at all times. Never be without it.
Good laying birds should not be fed Mixed Grain or Whole Wheat except for when the weather is really wet AND cold – these are high calorie, and ideal for providing internal central heating for birds (the “ready brek” effect) but if fed routinely then it causes damage to the liver. The more productive the bird the less they can handle these grains and death of fatty liver syndrome can occur.

Chickens should not “fasted” overnight but can do without water inside the house, as long as fresh water daily is provided close to the house.
Feeding birds once or twice a day is NOT enough .. even for unproductive bantams. Maintainance feed for chickens is 125g a day – and for birds who are laying this should be 16 % protein feed with vitamins and minerals.
The garden / field environment does not provide this sort of nutrition, it is entertainment and good herb / insect rich additions to the diet do make the eggs taste so much better.
Not providing correct amounts of layers feed will shorten birds lives, reduce their vigour, reduce their laying, force them to rob their internal resources to provide the dense nutrients in each egg they produce.

Feeding chickens ad lib with a proper hanging feeder inside a well made house does not attract rodents.
However scatter feeding does ..