Category Archives: news

Bees : a lot to learn

We are very much at the beginning of our journey to learn more about bees : both the wild ones, and how to keep Honey bees here.
As we are in a big planting phase, it is important to keep in mind our future plans as we go, so we are learning lots.
Here are a few resources we have picked up so far.
Some of us are interested in Bees : wild ones, keeping for honey, as pollinators, and also planting for attracting. (personally I am at the beginning of the learning curve, so really hoping there are others with experience here to share)
Here are a few resources that can help us learn more.

http://www.snhbs.scot Scottish Native Honey Bee Society : new organisation to encourage the keeping of the Scottish Native Honey Bee Apis mellifera mellifera. (in early 1900’s most of these were decimated by a disease and to populate hives subspecies from Europe were brought in to the UK. There are increasing efforts to re-populate Scotland with the Native Honey bee, and local bee keepers are aiming to be in the forefront of this.
Other than the obvious attraction they are also usually more docile than other strains, and they are far hardier for our varied climate.

https://scottishbeekeepers.org.uk/ Scottish Beekeepers Society
has lots of information, membership includes insurance for public liability etc, separate members area on website.

https://www.facebook.com/obanbeekeepers Oban Beekeepers group
monthly meetings in the winter and summer activities for beginners and experienced. Secretary is Nigel Mitchell *@themitchells.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/Lochaber-Beekeepers-Association-481788111988029 Lochaber Beekeepers group – a course happening there starting in May www.lochaberbeekeepers.org

Identifying British Bumble bees Bombus spp
* http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/research/projects/bombus/key_british_colour_info.html
* http://bumblebee.org/key.htm
* http://www.keytonature.eu/wiki/Bumblebees

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2015 Egg production figures

Farm Handbook makes interesting reading

Egg production figures for 2015

Total for UK 10,008,000,000  and still most in cages

type : 1965 : 2010 : 2015
Cage : 53% : 50% : 52%
Barn : 37% : 5% : 2%
Free R: 10% : 42% : 44%
Organic: – : 3% : 2%

If you seriously want to change things, and reduce the number of hens in cages – stop eating processed food, because that is where most is used – ready meals, biscuits, cakes, bread, you name it, you likely eat caged eggs sometime in the week.

We cannot produce Ten Thousand Million Eggs from free range birds in the UK – we do not have the land or the expertise.

Reducing the amount of processed food would also improve our nations health – double win.

Farm Management Handbook – Poultry

Avian Influenza H5N8 Lockdown ALL UK – 6 Dec for 30 days

VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL POULTRY IN the UK
LOCKDOWN OF ALL poultry – Avian Influenza Prevention Zone declared in response to spread of H5N8 in Europe.
http://news.gov.scot/ne…/avian-influenza-protection-measures
how to make things work – http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0051/00511175.pdf
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#latest-situation
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2016/12/more-avian-flu-reported-germany-france

Bird flu now only 30 miles from Britain


The Scottish Government and DEFRA has declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone requiring that all poultry and captive birds must be kept indoors, or otherwise kept separate from wild birds.
“We have declared a 30-day Prevention Zone as a precautionary measure to protect Scotland’s valuable poultry industry, particularly in the weeks before Christmas. It is important to stress that there has been no cases of this strain detected in the UK” 0 this is the same in England too

One of our feathered farm friends

This wee fella follows us around as we work.. quite the model 🙂

He loves the Robin Mix feed we put out for the wild birds here. .
(and sell too – 2 kg and 12.75 kg bags) High in protein rich Sunflower Hearts and Mealworms with two types of high energy Suet, perfect for feeding all year round.

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Fleeces for sale 2016 / 2017

A few of our fleeces for sale
Pure Jacob Fleece raw: whole fleece, 900gr, lightly scoured, little vegetable matter, lovely mix of dark and white, 900gr

Jacob Fleece for Craft work : peg loom, spinning, felting
Jacob Fleece craft work peg loom spinning felting
Jacob Fleece for Craft work : peg loom, spinning, felting
Jacob Fleece for Craft work : peg loom, spinning, felting
Jacob Fleece for Craft work : peg loom, spinning, felting

 

 

 


A lovely mix of the Brown and White colours in this pure Jacob fleece, lightly scoured, very little vegetable matter, no grey, a few parts will need a bit more carding for spinning than some of our best fleeces, perfectly good for felting and peg loom weaving. 1.45 kg



A bigger fleece, more white than most, lovely long staple, a little bit of grey, lightly scoured, very little vegetable matter, 1.8kg

First fit, Mark 1, Insect palace

insect palace mark one, pallets, tiles, homes for bugsFirst stage in the build creating homes for bugs, winter shelter, bird bath, insect feeding point.
A great way to use up pallets, old tiles, broken crocks, hollow stemmed weeds, straw, cones, rolled up feed bags, old roofing, left over pond liner.
Now to hope we get more than slugs and wasp nests !!

Fleece washing in the summer sun (and showers)

With all our Jacob ewes, gimmers and wedders shorn the next job is to get the fleeces sorted, skirted, washed and dried ready for sale to crafters, spinners, felters and weavers.
We have a few fleeces that are ideal for felting as a rug. Others make lovely fibre for creating with.
wool drying jacob fleece-wm

wool blue face leicester x jacob fleece-wm

wool sorting fleeces-wm