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Everything posted by Beantree

  1. We're a long way off @Daphne, but we can still smell the smoke. Equipment and manpower has been sent from other Countries to help and it seems the big one, which has burned 7400 Hectares in three days, in now under control. Due to be the hottest day for us today at 39C. We had all the chickens in last night and they will be in again today, starting in an hour or so. Then the weather begins to break with 36C tomorrow then falling away to 'cold' with rain starting on Monday for several days. The Cou-Nu have been in the back room for nearly two weeks now; only 28C in there. Might take them back up to their parched enclosure on Sunday, if not certainly Monday. Hope this is the last heatwave of the Summer. Certainly don't want a fifth.
  2. That's an interesting mix which I haven't tried, or even heard of. Yes it's fine to wash her as you have done. When showing chickens it is the normal routine a few weeks before the show, which gives time for the natural oils to be preened back into the feathers. We often wash mucky bottom feathers like that and ours usually like the hairdryer.
  3. Is that just a smaller mesh but plastic? In which case it will just be eaten through and they will be in straight away. It needs to be steel mesh. But it will keep the small birds out.
  4. I remember using upturned 2L plastic bottles here, with the bottom cut off, to water the courgettes when we grew them in the vegetable plot (now they are on the compost heap). So the watering can fills them and it leaks at root level rather than wetting the surface layer. We have a large number of 5L bottles here as a result of buying in water to drink and perhaps I could try them on a potato row with one between each seed and water less often. They would become buried at the earthing up stage, so the only extra work will be cutting the bottles. It will also suppress weed growth on the surface, unless it rains of course, which is becoming increasingly unlikely. Crisis meeting today to discuss what will become the driest Summer ever in France and the worst drought. 100 communes have no tap water now and have to fetch it from water tankers parked in the village square. Crops are failing and we are lucky that most of ours are out. Kiwis are losing their leaves, which means the sun will burn the fruit (the little we have after the severe late frost in April which killed the flowers) as it did last year. Far too much watering to save them.
  5. A news report this morning was about the use of 'ollas' (pronounced 'oyas'), which reduce water consumption by 70% and have been used by the Mayans thousands of years ago. They are porous pots with lids that are buried in the ground by your vegetables then the whole area around is covered in a mulch. You fill the pots with water and it slowly leaks into the soil under the protective mulch. The key is to get the porosity right and I can see a lot will depend on your soil, but a great idea nevertheless. I bet they are expensive.
  6. Many years ago we found a severely dehydrated young hedgehog covered in fly eggs. Gave him water by syringe and spent two hours picking the eggs off. Too small to be out over Winter, Harry hibernated in a spare bedroom, waking up every few weeks to eat and drink. He grew quite large and when we let him out into the garden he gorged himself on snails. Strangely he disappeared and the snails began to return, so we decided to keep an eye out for a replacement. Young Harry appeared that evening by the roadside so was relocated to the garden. Few weeks later and Henry re-appeared and they both got on OK; both very tame and would happily sit on your lap for a fuss. Announced this week were the measures to reduce France's energy consumption for space heating/ cooling by 25%. Maximum temperature for heating 17C and minimum for air-conditioning 26C. Whilst either are being employed no windows or doors are to remain open, which particularly applies to shops. Now they did say shops and offices/ workplaces, but I don't know if this is to apply to homes as well? Whilst our heating is set to 17C and the maximum temperature in the house has reached 26C, we had hoped to turn the heating up a degree and get air-conditioning to give us somewhere to recover from the Summer heat, so set to perhaps 20C in just one small area. Begs the question "how are they going to Police it?"
  7. We are one of the few places without serious drought restrictions, but at this stage just about all the beds are empty so water usage for them is 5 cans a day. Our water is very poor quality and officially undrinkable. Aside from the high level of Chlorine which makes my eyes water, it has a very high pesticide content. We spend more on drinking water than we use for everything else. What's annoying is what we grow can't be considered organic. Onions were the worst year we've had. Too hot too early and half didn't develop. The potatoes (Desiree) were a good crop spoilt by scab. The bed with the least earthing up was worst affected by far, so it must be due to the soil temperature, despite the leaf mulch on the South face. Everything just stops growing when the temperature is too high, so the potatoes are late as are the carrots and beetroot. We're going to try French beans at the end of September. It should be cooler and wetter then and they are cropped and removed in 6 weeks, so well before the frosts. They freeze well and now we have a vacuum bagger they should be even better.
  8. The easiest drinker to keep clean is a plant pot base. Easy to fill with a watering can as well. Our feeders rarely get cleaned unless the feed has become wet, in which case the feed is discarded, the feeder dismantled, washed and filled.
  9. There is a natural 'lump' under the vent, so unless it is exceptionally large that isn't the problem. She could be broody and have stopped laying as a result, but 10 weeks is a very long time; three weeks is normal. Is her abdomen swollen compared to the others? It shouldn't be solid/ firm, but slightly soft. What are her poos like?
  10. I think build a new run to your specification. The Omlet stuff is so out of date with the predators and I don't rate any of their products as successful. Years out of date as if they were designed in the '70's when there wasn't a problem? Don't rely on their products to protect your animals and don't buy any more.
  11. Yesterday it said that Toulouse has only had 1mm of rain this month instead of the normal 40mm. Today they may have had some, because we have full water butts now after 10mm. It was nice to stand outside and get wet. Next week we get our 4th heatwave this year! House full of chickens again. All our hay is now chopped down @Daphne, so even if we had a dry lightening strike we should be able to control any fire with the hoses. Good idea about the emergency bag though. We have to carry all our important documents with us when we go out, so they are all ready. Haven't any valuables. Couple of pictures can be picked up and put in a bag. The neighbours cut their hay two months earlier in complete disregard for the requests to support the wildlife. But that doesn't leave them with a fire hazard in an early dry spell, so really I can't blame them. The hay is at its best cut mid-May here, but we don't need any anyway and we are trying to improve the land and not degrade it by letting the farm cut it for cattle feed. So I guess we will live with the fire risk.
  12. News today says that this is probably going to be the driest July since 1958. We might see some rain on Friday, but it's all looking very brown here and the grass crunches under your feet. Reminds me of the Summer of 1976. Temperatures remain at the seasonal normal of 30C but we are among the 90 of 96 'Counties' on drought alert. Means we can't wash the car (which only happens once a year anyway) and watering the wild flower patch can only be done between the hours of 2000 and 0800. Watering vegetables is not restricted. Lots of wildfires breaking out; over 20 times more area burned than this time last year. We've now cut all our pasture land, so there shouldn't be a problem here. Saw on the news today that England may be drought struck in August?
  13. You should introduce two as soon as possible and being younger and on new territory your original will be top hen. Don't get ex-batts. They are very aggressive and don't mix with any other breeds. In severe heat you should stand their feet in cool (not cold, so over 20C) water first. Then bring them into your house if they are still too hot, so panting and wings lifted. Unfortunately syringing water doesn't cool them much; just the crop which isn't the problem.
  14. We used to have a cellar at 18C maximum to escape the heat. Only 20 minutes was enough to recover and cope with another few hours. We have a spot for A/C but it uses an awful amount of electricity, but we do have some out buildings we could just sit in; plenty of spare chairs. We have a new meter here called a 'Linkey', which sends your consumption readings back every day. There have been complaints about headaches which have been upheld, so compensation paid. In our case it set off the smoke alarms at 2.00am so they have gone. Could be (conspiracy theory) that they are able to shut specific meters off in times of high demand? We have generators but they wouldn't be able to supply an air conditioning unit So earlier I wasn't sweating outside so using an atomiser spray. Now I am, so perhaps I have recovered. Big bird is watching me type this, in fact she is now on the table looking at the screen. She has a 3" scar but it is fully healed. A low tolerance to temperature but hopefully there are no any underlying problems apart from being very fat.
  15. Slightly better today @Daphne, but I've lost my tolerance to heat and get too hot even at 30C. Said on the TV one of the symptoms was not sweating and on reflection, after being outside for too long on Saturday, that was indeed the case. I had a hat on drank a lot of water and limited my movement but clearly that wasn't enough. You are quite right about the chickens, they are a lot of work, as is the management of this place. But we are running the chicken numbers down naturally; some are quite old now so perhaps won't get through this years moult? Improving the organisation here constantly to reduce the work load but this changing climate, with three heatwaves already this year, is costing a lot of time and slowing progress. The land is now in good shape and getting better every year. Our new wild flower patch, although small, looks great. We have proper shutters on all the windows (an insurance requirement if away for more than 3 days) and are lucky to have a big elm tree to the East which shades the South of the house until about 10.00am and which we have pruned, so Winter sun isn't affected. We have the fly screens on some windows but can't leave them open at night because it stays hotter than the house until the early hours. 6.00 am everything is opened and then closed, as you say, when the temperature approaches that inside the house. All our lights are low energy, so we aren't heating the inside with them. We also only cook outside once the house is closed up, but we have a big extractor fan in the kitchen chimney, so breakfast isn't a problem. We have power to the barn for the chip fryer, a gas hob and now a decent barbecue. The open-fronted barn overlooks the chicken enclosure and faces East, so wind isn't a problem blowing the gas out. Same as you, we cook early and re-heat it later with the microwave. Summer is the season I don't like, the rest of the year it's great to be here.
  16. Been outside for a while but have come in because I'm feeling giddy. Now that might be due to the smoke from the fires to our NW? Seems this heatwave in England has been a bit of a wake up call, on the basis that they will become the norm. We've had three heatwaves already this year and we are questioning what we can do to stay cooler; we spend too much time outside dealing with overheating chickens that's for sure! I remember painting the greenhouse windows with a chalk paint to keep the heat out and then wiping it off in Autumn. Perhaps that would work? Easy here because all the windows open inwards. Problem is closing the curtains doesn't do that much because they get hot and that heat is already inside the room.
  17. I think it most likely she will abandon the other eggs after 24 hours, to get her hatched chick to food and water. You can't slow the hatch of that one down. The only option I see is to hatch the one and add it after the others have hatched, but I'm not sure if one on its own will cope for 5 days?
  18. We hit a record temperature in the house of 26C ( been here 5 years), but that was 24 hours after the peak temperature outside. It just shows how long it takes heat outside to arrive inside with 2 feet thick stone walls. We have an Ozone layer down here most of the time, which means we don't get severely burned. But we don't have much air pollution so the temperature in the sun can be 15C higher. So I had heat stroke yesterday, which means I couldn't walk and had little idea of where I was. Keep safe everyone and think about more insulation next year, because it cuts your heating bills as well.
  19. They all look very happy in there @Cat tails. It hit 41C here in the shade yesterday, at which time all the chickens were brought in and stayed overnight because despite heavy run watering they couldn't cope. They were very well behaved and just settled down in their cages and remained quiet, so no sleep disturbance for us. Downside is the stink in the morning; windows and doors open and all the cages are cleaned out and papers replaced. Cloudy this morning and only 36C predicted, so hopefully most will remain out. The Cou-Nu go back up to their enclosure tomorrow morning because the afternoon peak is just 33C, so that room will need a thorough clean out as well.
  20. Unfortunately some of the combs are rather large at just 5 weeks, so I'd agree they are probably boys.
  21. We're up at 6.00am @Daphne and all physical work stops at 9.00. So the wood store is being arranged but getting the wood to it may take a week. The Cou-Nu have hay to play with. We're giving a lot of consideration to long term as these hot spells are likely to be more frequent. Shuffling projects around means we complete the bread oven insulation but forget the window enlargement. A mezzanine level in the wood store clears an area to park the car free from hail. Still need the storm drain though so it's still firefighting all the time because the climate is changing so fast! The big problem in the UK is going to be the size of their windows and their insulation standards are absolutely terrible anyway, based on previous cheap fuel and cheapest building costs. Time to take the European approach and put shutters on the outside of windows and limit the size to 5%, so no more patio doors.
  22. Brought things forward a day and the Cou-Nu are in the back room. Can't say they are happy about it though and they may be there for a week or more? Big Bird is complaining next to me as she has cooled down now and wants to go back out. Ermintrude is behind me with a nest box; she went up the coop steps to lay and nearly fell off she was that disorientated. Heard the UK gets their hot Sunday 'ish?
  23. Lovely photos which remind me of holidays on the Isle of Mull. Wish we were there now because it's too hot here and getting hotter by the day. Peak temperature is forecast on Monday at 41C, a temperature far above just watering runs down to cool chickens. So we have 4 dog cages in the house to bring all of them in from early afternoon. The Cou-Nu in the top enclosure are a bigger problem, because of their size. Fortunately we have a secure outside room at the back of the house which has recently been given an insulated roof. The result was the maximum temperature in there dropped from 38C to 28C and will now be fine for chickens. It's 25m2, has been emptied of stored stuff and has had perches and nest boxes put in it. We'll bring them in Friday afternoon and they can stay there until Tuesday morning.
  24. By co-incidence we have a 6 year old Marans broody at the moment; sure she will make a great mother. In my experience you get good broodies from lots of breeds, except in our case Leghorns and it's likely your hybrid is a Leghorn cross. The important factor is age. Young bloodies are unlikely to stay the distance and may well panic when the chicks hatch and attack them. We had an Orpington that ate them!
  25. Worms will mess everything up, because they extract the nutrients required for normal function. Hope she will be OK. Clearly you are on top of it and I hope it all works out. And I'm hoping for the best as well.

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