Friday, April 8, 2011

Re-using rabbit waste and rusty ornaments

Had a busy week here with my 2 does Ambika and Sian in the maternity pens, they have each had a litter of kits Sian 4 babies and Ambika 5, the kits are now in their
3-4th week and they are VERY lively little beings! Sians seem to be the more outgoing but Ambika's although a bit more shy now they will certainly come out of themselves by the time they are sold. Took Sians and her kits to the school this week to show the preps in my youngest sons class and the grade 3/4's in my middle sons class, I love showing the kids our pets and seeing their little faces light up when they see babies, gentle handling and lots of it is good for the kits too, although I didn't let the kids hold them they are too young and fragile.

I have had to clean these guys out every 2-3 days especially Sian's pen which also has her daughter from the previous litter so twice the waste! The kits are starting to come out of the nest and venture to the food bowl and water bottle so opening the pen is hard as it's raised and they come close to toppling out each time! I cannot wait to shift them all back to their pen outdoors, I am concerned by the amount of mozzies we still have here though we really need a good cold snap to get rid of them, I don't want to risk the litter getting Myxo.

I have the perfect use for the huge amount of wood shavings/straw and rabbit poo though, I put the whole lot neat onto the garden, I had just weeded the lot over the past 2 weeks and it's not only fantastic mulch but awesome fertiliser too! Doesn't smell the best when I initially apply it but give it a week or so the smell is fine and it looks great!

I love rust, I don't know why, it just reminds me of the past I think, here are a couple of rusty ornaments I have hanging around, I also have a really old bullock wheel in the garden and some old frames and a gate leaning against the fence that has been burnt too in a fire at an old house to give it the added look of rustic, I guess they suite our home which is cottage and was built 1890.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chickens/veggiebeds and the woodfire

I am slowly starting to suspect that Chick Chick my little chick born late last year from Rocky the Hamburg and Henry the Cochin is actually not a hen but rather a little cockeral!! Last week we noticed the chickens had scaley legs and Id not treated for worms for a while either or mites so I teamed up Ken Jordan and once it got dark for easy access to the girls as there are all roosting and I prepared a syringe with garlic water, Ivomectin in another syringe and a massive tub of Vaseline and lavender. One by one we plucked Henry and his girls off their perches to be given garlic via their mouth, Ivomection on the back of their necks and have Vaseline smothered all over their legs. This suffocates any mites that might be there.

I noticed at the time that Chick Chick had awfully long rear feathers and seemed to be beginning to grow leg spurs. Also saw on Henry he's snapped a spur off and the other one is literally inches long! Thank goodness he's a friendly Rooster! So Chick Chick's days here will be numbered unfortunately as we did try having 2 Roosters once and it was just too noisy, I would love to be tough enough to eat him that is real self sustainability but we can't eat our pets so usually with any Roosters I breed I find homes for them they also won't eat them. Last time Henry's son went to a lovely couple out at Stawell who were vegetarians and had a large property with many Roosters and hens all free ranging. Hopefully I can be lucky enough to find another such family.

In the veggie garden I have completely removed everything bar a few celery plants for the rabbits from the beds. I plan to order some sheep manure they sell large bags up here for around $3.50 per bag the bags are the 40kg feed ones, I was planning on this during this week but unfortunately Ken has started lighting the fire on these cold nights and my Saturday paper with the add in it has been re-used! I will smother the beds with this and then leave for a couple of weeks before planting Winter crops hopefully sometime around the end of April.

We have been busy buying up wood, there was also an add in the paper about cutting your own for about $12.50 per trailer which is very good as we are paying $65m2 for common wood and about $100m2 for redgum and box, we need those thicker slower burning woods in mid-Winter up here because it gets so cold.

Speaking of wood and burning I am always looking for ways to light the fire without having to use firelighters. We use pine cones, gather any small sticks on bush walks and also stuff our toilet rolls with the lint from the dryer and the shredded paper from the fax and scrap paper.
But recently I pulled all the Sunflowers out of the ground and had them all stacked on the trailer and Brahma my Rhodesian Ridgeback pup got to one and must have chewed the stalk and either his throat go irritated or some got a bit stuck because he had a cough for 1 day. In researching the plant and if anything could be dangerous for him I came across a site that mentioned all the uses for Sunflowers there are quite a few and one was that you dry out he flower heads and use as firelighters, of course the seeds are full of Sunflower oil which is going to be pretty flammable so off to the trailer the next day and Ive cut all the heads off and am in the process of drying them all. Can't wait to see how well it works, very hard to store thought as EVERY critter wants to eat them from the bugs to the mice!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dog Poo Compost

Today I decided the time was right to uncover the cake of dog poo compost I have been collecting for about the past 9 months. I stopped using the compost bin and starting adding to much larger one. We have an awful lot to collect each day with a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Golden Retriever and Border Collie.

I also added straw from the chook pen to the pile and old leaves, but mostly it was dog poo I then left the top open to collect the rain and left for a good 6 months and then turned it probably every 3 months.

There was pretty much no smell after the first 3 months and the end result is a lovely rich loamy type of compost, it was full of worms you may be able to see some when Ive put it in the wheelbarrow. I am not quiet game to throw directly on the veggie patch but I have added to my building compost pile, which currently has rabbit waste, straw and compost mush from the house - peelings and anything really the chooks, rabbits and worm farm won't eat.

Check out the end result for yourself I am really pleased with it. pity we can't do the same with human waste easily, I am not yet game for that though!

Just remember if your ever composting dog poo and you've just wormed the dogs, it WILL kill all the worms in the compost too. I pretty much added for so long it didn't seem to effect it too badly possibly I added some composting worms after the worming of the dogs, just something to remember.

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