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Everything posted by majorbloodnock

  1. Oh, and it gets better. After the installation of the ASHP, we had one remaining cost - drainage and removal of the oil tank - and so were expecting to have to fork out a couple of hundred pounds. Co-incidentally, our neighbours needed an oil delivery and the tanker driver decided their tank was no longer safe to deliver to. Net result is they took our tank and the remaining oil, saving themselves four figures, we got our tank removed at no cost to us and neighbourly goodwill abounds. Couldn’t have worked out better. Smug moment has been extended.
  2. @Beantree, there is certainly a legionella cycle within the ASHP’s repertoire. I suspect it makes use of a heating element for that, but it’s the heat pump that controls it, so load would still not be in parallel, I think. We thought about and discounted solar thermal water heating in conjunction with the ASHP, particularly since roof space seems to give better returns with the solar pv. However, it’s still a possibility and we’re watching developments quite closely.
  3. @Beantree, just a small point to note is that the ASHP heats the water cylinder as well as the house. You might want an element as a backup but it shouldn’t be running simultaneously with the ASHP. We’re only on single phase and it seems fine. Our experience is that a good installer is key.
  4. @Beantree, the ASHP is a Mitsubishi Ecodan (PUZ-WM85VAA(-BS)) rated at 8.5kW, and with a nominal and max running current of 9.1 and 22 amps respectively. Our cooker is a Rangemaster 90 dual fuel with a maximum rated load of 7.4kWh. All those figures are straight from their user manuals. Separate to that, our solar monitoring app shows since the system was installed the maximum spike in electrical load was around 7.5kW, and that was just once. That’s not load on the solar panels but draw from wherever it can get it. Hope that helps.
  5. @mullethunter, are you sure you know where and by how much your property is losing heat? We invested about £40 on a small thermal camera, then on a sub zero night used it to see which parts of our pace were hotspots. The results were sometimes surprising with expected culprits being better than expected and heat being lost where we didn’t expect. That’s why we replaced our front door to great effect. @Beantree, I don’t know about max instantaneous load, I’m afraid. However, I do know that GB Sol make solar panels that are almost indistinguishable from slate tiles. Not going to suggest they’re as cost effective as normal solar panels but it’s certainly something to ponder. Seems they’ve been approved in conservation areas where other PV installations were non starters.
  6. That’s a very difficult question to answer because of the number of moving parts, but I can give an outline of the key facts for an idea of how it fits together. The air source heat pump, new water cylinder and all associated general gubbins came to about £15k, which should result in RHI repayments of just over £9k over the next 7 years, hence a net installation cost of about £6k. The solar panels, inverter and battery were done through a scheme with the county council allowing for a bulk purchase agreement for the installers and therefore a lower cost to us. In total, we got 18 panels, a 6kWh battery and all associated stuff for £7.5k, which, compared with other previous quotes, effectively meant getting the battery for free. We were in the position of having an oil-fired boiler that was in perfectly good order but about 20 years old and therefore a bit of a ticking time bomb. We wanted to replace it whilst we had time to do it rather than wait until the decision was forced on us. We were using about 2 tanks of oil a year, and the cheapest I can find oil at the moment means that’d be about £1.3k. Based on the ASHP running costs over December, if the current year was the same weather throughout we’d be looking at almost exactly the same cost if we bought all the leccy from the grid (Octopus Energy). Fairly obviously, the weather won’t be the same, and especially will be far warmer in the summer, at which point we’re unlikely to be needing the ASHP to heat the house at all, so only time will tell how much lower the energy demand will be. That said, we’re also not buying all our leccy from the grid. On the most overcast days we’re still generating at least 1 kWh of solar energy, and when there’s capacity to do so, the battery is recharged during off peak times to be consumed when the leccy price is peak rate. In good sunlight, we can get up to about 6.5kWh, and the ASHP has been consuming a December average of 21kWh per day. Come summer we should be covering all our daily energy from solar and probably exporting a tangible amount back to the grid. We didn’t in fact do all this primarily for financial reasons. We just wanted the figures to be good enough not to be prohibitive. However, our house’s carbon consumption is now about a sixth that of an average property and there are still improvements we can make; we could in theory get low enough to become a carbon sink, effectively generating a negative amount of CO2. Let’s see how things pan out.
  7. Feeling rather pleased with ourselves in the Bloodnok household. We’ve been researching for ages and, after finally deciding to take the plunge, have now been able to wave goodbye to our old oil-fired boiler and welcome in a brand spanky new air source heat pump, a whole roof’s worth of solar panels and associated inverter and battery. Net result is that our energy performance certificate for the house has changed from a band D to a band B; not bad, I reckon, for a 1930s house. The novelty will obviously wear off soon, but for now we’re having fun with the apps telling us how much leccy we’re generating and how little the heating is using up. Smug moment finished now.
  8. Just a bit of an off-the-wall suggestion.... Firstly, that feeder looks just the right size that, if turned upside down, would provide a stable platform for the drinker to sit on, thereby raising the drinker up away from the woodchip. Secondly, do you have any empty 2L fizzy drink bottles in your recycling? I'm sure cutting a large hole in the side of one would allow you to use it as a trough feeder that could be tied to the side of the cage with string. Not pretty, but certainly would be more secure. Cut edges might need a bit of duck tape so as not to be too sharp, but nothing eminently difficult.
  9. That's a pretty good list. The girls need something to eat and eat from, something to drink and drink from, somewhere safe to roam and sleep and some basic medical maintenance/health requirements. After that, you're into nice-to-haves rather than needs. Essentials that I would add to the list are: a dust bath of some sort. If the run is completely dry and you don't have paving slabs underneath then the girls will simply scrape away whatever grass is there and make their own. In pretty much all other cases, an old litter tray with some wood ash or other inert and harmless fine powdery substance in it will work just as well. However, even then it'll still need to be kept absolutely dry to avoid becoming a mud bath. somewhere sheltered from both rain and sun. In practice, for your setup, that probably means a tarpaulin or similar over the top of the run. Not convinced the included sun shade is enough. It won't take long before you realise other things to get that'll make your life easier, but each owner's preferences are different as are those of their flocks. Let your setup evolve over time and enjoy the hens as you go.
  10. You might want to take a squizz at one of the responses I posted to a thread about a non-chicken keeper trying to deal with a neighbour letting their hens range across the boundary. https://club.omlet.co.uk/forum/topic/89328-advice-for-neighbour-of-a-chicken-keeper-please/?do=findComment&comment=1164336 In short, this would likely be a civil tort of trespass, but your neighbour failing to keep his cockerel under control would probably be legally the same as actively allowing his cockerel onto your land. I hasten to add I'm no expert, so please accept I'm including all the caveats for your double checking my opinion before acting.
  11. It started as an intentional obfuscation of the English language in the Seven Dials part of London. There is debate whether it was primarily used by traders or criminals, but the best guess is that it was probably to confuse those not in the know (i.e. customers if used by traders or police if used by criminals) and allow reasonably free communication in public between those who were in the know. There is also the theory that it developed as more of a linguistic game as part of the sense of community; to enhance the feeling of "us together" and help exclude non-locals (similar to the concept of "grockles" in the West Country). Personally I find a lot of the current use of Cockney rhyming slang to be a pretentious affectation amongst "Mockney" wannabes demonstrating a bit of inverse snobbery. However, I still like it very much, partly for its regional colour (much as I enjoy listening to a Scottish accent using regional terms like "bairn" and "ken", a Liverpudlian talking about "nesh" or a Welsh promise of a "cwtch") and partly for what it demonstrates about our history and the English language's ability to grow to accommodate. In short, it's fascinating but far too often trivialised to the point of parody.
  12. Polarised views are never too helpful, and I've read precious little truly pacifying content in this thread. It seems the two prevailing views are: that any neighbour whose possessions create a regular low grade noise that one happens to dislike is a selfish half-wit with no right to impose upon others around them. that any neighbour who finds the regular low grade noise made by one's own possessions is an unreasonable complainer whose discomfort is of their own making for being so intolerant. And yes, I have exaggerated for effect. Clearly the reality is that neither viewpoint is wholly right or wrong, and who has the greater grievance in a situation of conflict will inevitably depend on the details of the case; it would be unreasonable to expect silence of one's neighbours and it would be unreasonable not to foresee that an aviary with a couple of hundred birds is a very different prospect from one with three or four. And yes, it's not just volume that may be an issue, it may well be noise quality and regularity too. I'm convinced that few of the posters to this thread will be swayed by any more arguing, so the only sensible point left to make here is this. If you have a disagreement with your neighbour, discuss and explore areas of compromise. If that doesn't work, take it to court and let an impartial judgement decide. If that judgement doesn't go in your favour, accept you're being unreasonable despite what you may think and change your actions to fit in. If you can't do so, move house. That's why we have the judicial system we do. One size fits all, both for chicken keepers and neighbours of such.
  13. See if you can have a chat with a local loft conversion company or fencing company; they often have old joists and fence posts to dispose of and just might let you have some. We made our WIR entirely from reused wood, and the flexibility of being able to design the position and size of the various elements (doors, particularly) was absolutely invaluable. The only cost for us was some of the wire mesh and the electrification stuff, so if you can wangle that approach you might be able to put the savings towards the cost of the Cube. Just a thought.
  14. I did a bit of investigation here and found something that might be of use. I hasten to add that I'm no legal professional so none of what I found should be accepted before being ratified by a solicitor. There was a case in 1986 (League against Cruel Sports vs Scott) which produced what seems to be a useful ruling. The background is that the League was at that time buying up small pockets of land and establishing them as nature reserves. One particular area was close to regular fox-hunting activity and hounds from the hunt were going onto the League's land. The League wished to sue the hunt master for trespass, and the question was whether the hunt master was intentionally allowing the dogs onto the land. The court found that they could infer an intention to trespass from "the indifference to such incursions while persisting to hunt near the claimant’s property", and so the hunt master was found guilty of trespass. @Tony Misc, your neighbour is aware of his or her animals going onto your land and of your dislike of the situation, and yet is showing the same "indifference to such incursions". The implication is that you have the legal precedent necessary to demonstrate intentional trespass and therefore, if necessary, to sue your neighbour. I hope it doesn't come to that, but it should certainly add a lot of weight to your discussions with them.
  15. Agree with @Cat tails. Our run is an L shape (imagine a 4.5m square with a 2m square taken from one corner), and when I did the maths that translates to a run of approximately 13.5' square (in fact, 16.25 sqM or 177 sq ft). We keep the Eglu Cube inside it and that houses 6 ISA Warren-sized birds and 2 Leghorns. The birds are only let out into the garden as a treat, and have obviously (given avian flu precautions and legislation) spent the past several months inside without respite. Given all that, I can say the girls are perfectly happy in that amount of space and crucially there is absolutely no sign of antisocial behaviour. I would say, though, that we have a 6' long perch around 3' up from the ground and we regularly hang weeds or other garden waste on a cord from the ceiling. That means there's stuff for the girls to jump up for and places for them to jump onto. I believe that 3 dimensional approach reduces significantly any potential feeling of overcrowding the girls might otherwise have had. Once again, doing the maths, our run works out at almost exactly 2 sq M or about 22.1 sq ft per bird, which is double the rule of thumb. Your suggested 10' x 10' run with 5 standard sized hens would give about the same ratio so the answer to your original question is that your plans could theoretically house up to 10 birds, but I would urge a smaller flock with more living room.
  16. No right or wrong answers here, I'm afraid. You're right, of course, that one only really starts to understand after first-hand involvement. I wouldn't beat yourself up, though; you said yourself that free ranging made for happy girls, and that's worth a lot. If the fox has come once it'll come again. At this time of year, there are a lot of young mouths to feed so the pressure is at its greatest for the adults to find food wherever they can. In fact, the brazenness of the foxes where we live now is one of the reasons it took us as long as it did after moving house to get some more chickens. The result for us is that we took our time building an electrified Fort Knox of a WIR and only let the girls out into the confines of some pegged out electrifiable poultry fencing clipped to the WIR. For us it's a good compromise because the girls can have free run of whichever part of the garden we think can survive it, but the foxes are deterred by the risk of shock. All that said, we don't leave the girls unsupervised as such. When they're out of the WIR, it's only whilst we're in the garden or in a room looking onto it. If we need to go out or move out of sight for any significant time, we shut the girls back up.
  17. For me, this rather depends on the size of the walk-in run. I tried a cube inside an 8'x6' run (I built a couple of hatches into sides of the run for access to clean the cube and empty the eggs) and found it was OK but spring cleaning was a bit cramped. In hindsight, I'd have been better to have the cube outside and zip-tie it to the run. That way, access around the cube would have been much better. In comparison, our current walk-in run is the best part of 14' square, with double doors. I designed it specifically so it's easy to wheel the cube out, so access day to day is excellent but I can also remove the thing from the run entirely for when I want to jet-wash as part of a deep clean once or twice a year. The benefit here is that I'm able to surround the run with electrified rope whilst retaining the portability of the cube. As for rats, I don't think it makes much difference whether the cube is inside or out. If there is good reason for the rats to get in then they'll get in, and controlling access to the food will be of far greater influence. In my opinion, of course; I keep chickens, but I'm no expert.
  18. You're right, of course. As I understand it, vegetables were once seen as a means of feeding the common people or, at best, flavourings for enhancing meat and fish. A few exceptions existed, of course (such as peas), but it's no accident vegetables were originally referred to as pot herbs. The evolution of a language is fascinating but you've reminded me that the interaction between neighbouring cultures and their languages over centuries adds an extra dimension. Thank you.
  19. Ineffable (meaning unutterable or indescribable) isn't exactly frequently used, but is most common in relation to things godlike. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman mentioned God's ineffable plan, meaning a plan so complex and overarching as to be beyond anyone else's comprehension (and therefore impossible to describe). Not archaic, but rather a niche scope, methinks. You're right, of course; despite L'Academie Francaise's best efforts the French do borrow words from the English language as well as English benefiting from French language. I imagine you're better acquainted than me with examples like "Le week-end", "Un brunch" and "Un sandwich", but I must admit I'm quite intrigued about false Anglicisms such as "Un smoking" (presumably short for "smoking jacket"), meaning a dinner jacket. I know it's a bit of a deviation from the main topic - looking at French words used in English - but I find it fascinating the effect history and amalgamating of languages has had on the English terms for food. Names for live animals differ greatly between French and English (cow/vache, chicken/poulet, pig/cochon) and yet once they are cooked many are referred to by approximately the same word (beef/boeuf, mutton/mouton, pork/porc). As I understand it, the Norman conquerors brought the French language with them and so effectively imposed their terms on the food of the rich, but the farming of the animals was seen as a job for the lower classes with little direct intervention from the conquerors and so the Anglo-Saxon terms persisted.
  20. @Beantree, just a bit of clarity needed. Do you mean old English words as in "words in the English language that have are becoming/have become old fashioned" or do you mean words rooted in Old English (an ancestor to Middle English, itself an ancestor to modern English)? Either way, I see nothing old fashioned or obsolete about "duff", "bonkers" or "bucolic". That means either none of them are aging English words or that I am myself becoming archaic. Both are possible. What I do find interesting, though, is that we have quite a few perfectly current English words whose obvious and directly related opposites are no longer in use at all, such as ineffable, inert and inane. By their very makeup, the adjectives effable, ert and ane must exist or have existed, but, apart from Terry Pratchett's use of "effable" in "Good Omens" for comedic effect, I cannot remember ever having read or heard any of them used.
  21. My wife and I have a roof and a couple of shielded sides on our WIR, so we don't bother with woodchip. Instead, every three months or so we just do a good old double-dig of the WIR floor, walk around on the soil to compact a bit and then let the girls dig it all up again. If there's anything on the floor that gives us reason for concern, we just wheelbarrow that area of soil out to elsewhere in the garden (let's face it, it's good fertiliser) and then dig up some soil from elsewhere in the garden to wheelbarrow in and replace the volume. Disinfectants are fine to clear up afterwards if you have to fix an underlying problem (such as a perpectually waterlogged area in the run) but in my opinion, as long as the ground remains normally pretty dry, nature is as good at disinfecting as any chemicals you might buy.
  22. A bit late replying here, but bear in mind it's your neighbour who's responsible for the consequences of what his or her possessions do, not your responsibility to protect your land or possessions. If you were to get a ride-on mower and one of your neighbour's chickens were to become an accidental casualty whilst on your lawn, the neighbour wouldn't be able to pursue you for the loss of their livestock. Please note, of course, that I'm not recommending you do anything to intentionally harm the chooks, but just making the point about relative responsibilities. That point made, your neighbour is therefore also responsible for putting right any damage or inconvenience caused by his or her possessions. You mentioned damage to your lawn and that's quantifiable. If you have to hire someone to rake, redress and reseed your lawn because of what your neighbours hens have done after your neighbour has been warned the birds are unwelcome in your garden, you can quite reasonably then pass the bill on to your neighbour to pay (or pay it yourself and claim back in the small claims court). Obviously, that wouldn't be your first resort, but if your neighbour leaves you no choice by ignoring your requests then I hardly see it as an unreasonable way to go and I would be interested to know how long the situation would continue if it cost your neighbour several hundred quid a pop. In summary, therefore, in your situation I would personally follow a process of escalating severity, each time moving to the next point if the previous didn't do the trick: Have a chat with your neighbour over a cup of tea and explain the situation gently. Remind your neighbour of the content of the informal chat, point out the chickens are unwelcome on your land and ask your neighbour directly to please keep their chickens out of your garden. Have a chat with the Citizens' Advice Bureau to make sure you know where you stand. Write a letter summarising your complaint and warning that your neighbour will be liable for any costs incurred in repairing damage caused by their birds or protecting your property from their birds. Warn also that future infringements may also result in nuisance complaints. Check with the CAB or a solicitor that any actions you warn may occur are legally enforceable and reasonable. Carry out the warnings. Take further legal advice on what avenues remain open and pursue them. If you are reasonable (and can prove it) each step of the way, I would expect the letter to be as far as it goes. If the neighbour ignores that too, it's going to get messy anyway and on their head be it 'cos they've brought it on themselves.
  23. If you've that much familiarity with IT you'll know all about running applications in compatibility modes. Why not take a full backup of your machine, upgrade it, see if the flight SIM and addons will run properly and then, if not, just restore from backup again? Just a thought. As for the cheap smartphone without a SIM, yes I agree that's a good shout.
  24. I also have a Fitbit and it suits my needs well. I agree with CT that finding one that doesn't need to integrate with a Windows 10 or smartphone app is a pretty big ask nowadays given pretty much everyone wants everything to work together seamlessly so the market for stuff that doesn't is pretty niche. What I would say, though, irrespective of whether you choose to bite the bullet and get a smartphone or not is that I would strongly recommend you upgrading the operating systems on your tablet and desktop. Both Windows 7 and 8.1 are out of mainstream support and the former is out of extended support too. That means your tablet will only receive security updates if Microsoft discover a serious security flaw and your Windows 7 machine won't receive any more security updates full stop. The argument that a system is still doing what you need of it is based on your needs still being the same as when you bought the box, but the changing threat landscape changes your needs for you. You can, of course, ignore those threats but if you do then the risks you run by continuing to use the machine will increase steadily over time. On the flip side, if you do decide it's necessary to upgrade the operating system to stay safe, most of the current range of fitness trackers will suddenly become viable options again for you to consider.
  25. Whilst we may refer to clay soil, sandy soil, peaty soil and so on, the fact remains that any sod of earth will contain larger grains as well as smaller ones. Those larger grains - the sandy bits if you will - tend to be less susceptible to binding together, so tend to remain as loose particles that can therefore stick to any nearby adhesive surface. This phenomenon is well known through the work of Professor Murphy and, given both his name and his research into soil dynamics, is commonly referred to either as Sod's Law or Murphy's Law.

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