Taj Mahal Chicken Shed Progress Update

With the weather as clear as it has been in a week, it was time to continue working on the chook shed. Stumps were put in last weekend, and bearers were also layed down. Pulled the extension lead out and connected to a outdoor power point with an in built safety switch. Plugged the compressor in and turned it on and then “click” safety switch flicked! With all the moisture on the ground, I must have got the points a bit wet before I pluged it in. I did give it a wipe, but evidently not enough. Take 2 and this time made sure everything was dry! Mental note: next time there is a sale on for cordless framing guns, buy it! After working on the chook shed for most of the afternoon, I managed to get the joists and floor boards down. Everything on the shed so far has been salvaged from around the farm and I am trying my darndest not to buy anything to build this thing. So far, total cost of the chook shed is: 0$! Unfortunately I will need to buy some framing pine and maybe some cladding… either way, it’ll be a pretty cheap build and the chooks will have their Taj Mahal!

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Aquaponics Publication MarkII

Whilst in the midst of planning my Aquaponics System MKIII, I have just found out that I am going to be published again in a world wide Aquaponics Manual! The first publication was in an Australian Aquaponics magazine (available from http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/back-issues.html) but now I, along with many other aquaponics enthusiasts are going world wide! My system MkII has been included in the manual as well as some 3D sketch-ups of how to build the system. Looking back at some of the photos of my old system, it is amazing the growth I got out of it and it really makes me miss aquaponic gardening…. That’s OK, my third system is in the planning as I mentioned before. A 30m long greenhouse, growing amazing fruit and vegies, powered by a massive aquaponics system!!!!! Here is my section of the manual, which will be free to download in full in the coming weeks: Quachy Extract

Another Baby!

Well after a bit of a restless night of checking on Bianca to no avail, I woke up this morning to the sight of a new baby! Sometime between 4 and 6:30 this morning, Bianca calved and so far so good. She hasn’t rejected the calf and it seems to be taking milk! We will leave them alone until the weekend, and then I will go down and give Bianca a feed and check the calf out. I wonder if it is a boy or a girl… I guess the name “School Fees” is not really reliant on gender 🙂

Almost a Real Farmer!

It’s almost midnight, the family is all asleep in their lovely warm house snugged up in their beds and where am I? Out in the paddock checking up on my girls! To prove how much of a novice I am, I have been thinking that Ella was going to calve first, with her udder filling up, waddling around and keeping away from the other girls. How wrong was I! Bianca is now showing all the signs of immenent calving! Her private areas have dropped, she doesn’t wander too far before having to rest, the waddleing, keeping well away from the others and now, it seems, she is labouring to even get up! Now normally I would be freaking out thinking that she was ill, but being heavily pregnant, my guess is that she is ready to pop! So I will check on her again this morning and then again before going to work and hopefully, if she does calve tonight or tomorrow, all goes well!

So ticking the boxes to qualify as a real farmer:

Amputation of at least 1 finger – check

Getting up at ridiculous hours of the morning to make sure everything is going OK with the animals even though I should be leaving them and trusting nature – check

Almost a real farmer!

Here’s to you Bianca and good luck!

Life’s Musings and Big Chickens!

It has been almost a week since going back to work after my very extended time at home with the family. I had such a beautiful time with them and am really missing taking Kobe-Li to school and picking him up, talking to the other mums and dads doing the same thing, spending the day with Hayley, Tano-Li and Ava-Li. It has been a really special time for me, really getting the chance to feel like a dad. I am saddened, that as a working father, I will continue to miss out on such a huge chunk of my family’s life, but a sacrifice worth making if it means they will live the life they currently are. Hayley has the hardest yet most rewarding job in the world and I would be telling lies if I said I wasn’t just a little jealous. She has done an amazing job with both the boys and continues to be a fantastic mum with our new addition, despite having her hands tied even further with a new-born. So every moment I have with my family is cherished and seen as a privilege and I  am reminded each night I get home that those less savoury days at work (such as today) are worth enduring just to see such a happy and blessed family.

On to farm news and we have just acquired our breeding stock of rare croad langshans. They are a huge chicken, with a recorded height of 75cm tall and a weight of up to 7kg. The idea with these chickens is to breed a nice sized flock of up to 200 birds for both eggs as well as meat. They are not as fast growing as the commercial hybrid broilers (usually a cornish x) but they are a larger bird that is known lay in the winter! Most chickens shut down for the winter or at least slow right down, but the croad langshans will keep on laying the same size and quality egg (huge by all accounts) through the winter with nothing more than good feed! So anywhere from 15-25 weeks old, the excess males will be culled and any hens that are not breeding to type will also end up processed, sold and or frozen. The dressed weight of these monsters should average to about 2kgs or more! More info go to:

http://rbta.org/Croads.htm and http://www.pembrookeplantsandpoultry.com.au/poultry.htm.

Tano-Li helped dig a dozen holes ready for the silkies Taj Mahal on the weekend. If I can get home early enough from work this week, I will be able to backfill and concrete them in, ready to start flooring and framing on the weekend.

Ahhhh life on the farm is just that….life!