Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Hi and welcome to the DallasCriftins Blog

Hi and welcome to the DallasCriftins Blog
Aptly titled 'Conservation Mowers and other Critters'

This Blog will report the trials and tribulation of trying to do away with the bi weekly chore of mowing our paddocks at our home in Shropshire, England

It all started when Karen bought an Eglu and three of these ex battery hens a couple of years ago:
They all have names but to me it is just that "Orange one"

Then last year I bought eight of these, so we should be relatively self sufficient in eggs most of the year

We have
Three Crested Appleyards I can tell them apart so know their names, Duck Norris, Daisy and Jemima.
Five runners, a  Drake called JarJar a chocolate female called Bubble and three tan and white females, Apache, Cherokee and Cheyanne,  named after American Indians.

As we have two Drakes we could have ducklings in the spring...

 Plus we currently have this very welcome winter visitor

The birds need protection from foxes and we want them to free range our paddocks and pond
Ducks like ponds...and Mud! They really like Mud...

So I bought some 2M high Deer proof stock fencing and the five of us (Peter David and Alden really mucked in and helped) spent a few of the wettest weeks and weekends over December through to the New Year I have ever known putting it up around half an acre whilst the Ducks made muddy puddles... there is a Mud theme developing here!

Then I thought we need something to keep the grass in trim and hence the name of this Blog.

I hate mowing and in recent years have started to suffer from post mowing hay fever in the Summer normally the following day is very unpleasant, plus the time and fuel costs were considerable.

So what to buy...
Alpacas I would love some but too expensive for a trio.
Rheas or Emus, like Alpacas great protection for the poultry but we are not experienced enough for them yet plus Alden is only 10 and a Rhea kick could hurt him

Geese, one day but not yet and how many would be required to keep an acre in check and then what? Eat them in the Winter or feed and over winter them, decisions decisions probably a mix of the two.

Sheep or goats, initially I thought cheap to buy but too much work shearing etc. then I discovered these.

Soays. They shed their fleeces or it can be pulled off so we have bought three blond Ewe lambs and a Chocolate Ram they are really tiny and are the cutest sheep I have seen.
The Ram is called Mars the girls are apparently the"Spice Girls", Buttercup, Marigold and Cowslip, I have no idea which is which

Plus we also have these two miniature Shetlands, Bouncer a 4 year old Gelding on the left and Pixie an 14 year old Mare on the right.
Shetlands need to live on very restricted grazing so the idea is the sheep pre graze and we will rotate the animal around sections of grazing within the paddock.

That was the theory before all this rain arrived now we have not much paddock and lots of mud... Which is not all down to the Ducks!

So we may have to supplement their feed with Hay til the weather improves and the grass begins to grow again.

We take our ponies for walks around the lanes here as they are not broken and aren't really suitable for riding even by our youngest son

They walk happily with our spotty dog Teaser.

So now it remains to be seen how things develop

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you have a fantastic crew. I didn't know that about ducks and mud. :)