Farming Friends

Meet the animals and harvest the information without getting your hands dirty!
  • .: About :.

    The farmingfriends website was set up at the end of 2006 and started as a diary of daily life on the farm but has grown into an online magazine and forum community packed with information, resources and products relating to farming, keeping livestock, food and nature. If you are a farmer, smallholder, animal enthusiast, parent, child or anyone interested in animals and the farming lifestyle, then the Farming Friends website and forum is for you.

  • Hedgecutting

    Posted By on February 20, 2014

    Today my main task on the farm has been hedgecutting.  There is only a few days left of hedgecutting season, as it is illegal to cut farm hedgerows from 1st of March onwards to protect nesting birds.

    We purchased a new (well second hand) hedgecutter recently.  The old one only had a 4.5m reach and had spool valves (hydraulic controls) which came through the back window of the tractor.  This meant turning round to operate the machine, so gave the operator neck ache.

    The new mower (the official name for a hedgecutter that attaches to a tracotr is a ‘reach mower’) has 6.5m of reach, electric controls and boot flails.  Boot flails leave a neat finnish on the hedge and are good for cutting the fine annual growth of a hedge.  The old machine had a ‘Bushwacker’ head which was more suited to cutting thick branches.

    It’s a slow job cutting the hedges, but throughout the winter the farm has the available labour to undertate the task.  We have one more hedge to cut next week and then the farm will be looking all trim and tidy.

    We prefer to trim the hedges later in the winter so that the berrys are available for the birds through the coldest months.  By March there is often other foodstuffs becoming available for the birds.

    Leaking Hydraulic Ram

    When ever a second hand piece of equipment is purchased, there is always some unknown about its condition.  We have been really pleased with the new mower.  The only thing really is a small leak on one of the hydraulic rams and a seal on the gearbox.  They are just small repairs and will get done before we need the machine again in the summer time.  During August we use the mower to cut the grass on the ditch sides to make way for the excavator to clean the ditches out.  Drainage is very important here in the low lying fields of the Vale of York.  Each ditch must be mown and de-silted annually to keep the drainage system working effectively.

    Incubating, Hatching & Raising Guinea Fowl eBook Review

    Posted By on July 21, 2013

    I am always delighted to get feedback about the products I am selling at farmingfriends, so I was thrilled to see my Incubating, Hatching & Raising Guinea Fowl Keets eBook described as comprehensive information.

    Front Cover Of Incubating, Hatching & Raising Guinea Fowl Keets An eBook

     

    Sara,
    Here in North Carolina USA my husband and I have hatched guinea  keets with an incubator. We’ve scoured the internet for information,  and your ebook is the best quality, most comprehensive information  we have found.
    Thank you!
    Mary

    At a cost of only £3.50 the Incubating, Hatching And Raising Guinea Fowl Keets eBook will provide you with information about:

    • reasons for keeping guinea fowl,
    • ways to start rearing guinea fowl,
    • choosing and storing guinea fowl eggs,
    • incubating guinea fowl eggs and incubator settings,
    • candling the eggs,
    • hatching guinea fowl eggs,
    • the brooder and brooder hygiene,
    • feeding gunea fowl keets,
    • aliments, illnesses and diseases,
    • taming guinea fowl keets and
    • development of guinea fowl keets.

    Buy the Incubating, Hatching And Raising Guinea Fowl Keets eBook for yourself or as a gift for a friend or a family member – only £3.50.

    FarmingFriends Forum Switched Off For A Few Days

    Posted By on July 2, 2013

    We just wanted to let you know that we have had to switch the forum off for a few days as it was getting hit by masses of spam in the background so we are looking at ways to combat this or make changes to the forum, so I will let you know when we are back on line. Sorry for the inconvenience. If you do have a question or issue related to your livestock or poultry please use the contact form to get in touch. Kind regards Sara

    Chicken Vet Website

    Posted By on October 14, 2011

    On my farmingfriends forum when the members need to take their poultry to the vets there is often talk about whether their vets have a specialist in poultry.

    I am lucky where I live we have a local vets surgery with staff who are specially trained in avian veterinary.

    I am writing this post as I have just been reading about the chicken vet website.

    The Chicken Vet website provides advice on the care, health and well being of hens and offer recommendations on products to treat or maintain good health.

    It also provides a network of “Chicken Friendly Vets” throughout the UK. The practices listed here are all Associated with Chicken Vet.

    You can register on the website Chicken Vet and they will send you a welcome pack and information regarding your chosen practice.

    Visit the Chicken Vet website.

    If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

    Visit Wells Poultry For All Your Poultry Equipment & Housing

    If you would like to receive regular information about poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

    Enter your email address to receive regular emails with posts from the farmingfriends website:

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    Hen’s Sneezing

    Posted By on October 9, 2011

    Sneezing hens may have an upper respiratory problem and there can be discharge from the nose with this.

    Hens are prone to respiratory problems.

    There can be a number of causes:

    • poor ventillation (droppings give off ammonia),
    • sawdust (larger wood shavings sold in pet shops usually has the ‘dust’ extracted to prevent these problems),
    • straw may carry dust in it.
    • viruses – such as infectious bronchitis, pneumovirus, aspergilliosis, mycoplasma, infectious laryngotracheitis, Avian Influenza, Fowl pest / Newcastle disease, Coryza to name some.

    All of these conditions show very similar symptoms which makes it difficult to know which it is, so the more symptoms you can describe or notice the more able to pick out what it might be.

    My advice is to consult a vet, you may be able to phone your vet and ask for advice over the phone, without taking your hen in?

    Here are some questions to conside if you hen is sneezing:

    • Are they off their water or are they drinking more?
    • When you pick them up do they feel thin?
    • How are they standing, are their wings droopy?
    • Is the area around their eyes puffed up?
    • What are their droppings like, what colour and consistency?
    • Does the hen’s breathing rattle?
    • Are they laying eggs? If so are the eggs ok, or are they thin shelled, mis-shapen etc

    Answers to these questions can help to identify what might be wrong as sneezing could be related to a number of illnesses.

    One of our farmingfriends forum members recently posted about her poorly hen and was seeking advice on what might be the matter. She let us know as much information as possible about her hen by answering a set of questions, which I thought was very useful.
    I thought that these were useful questions to consider if you have a poorly hen and you are seeking advice.

    What age is your hen? What breed if known and what gender?

    What is wrong? What symptoms have you noted? – As much detail as possible please.

    Full droppings description.- colour, consistency, frequency, offensive smell.

    Respiratory Changes?- eg. breathing sounds, discharge, laboured breathing, facial swelling

    Digestive Changes?- eg. eating, drinking, crop filling & emptying

    Change’s in The Hen’s Condition?- eg. Weight, comb/wattle colour, skin, feathering

    Behavioural Changes?- inc. socialising, laying, crowing, broodiness

    Agility Changes? – eg. any lameness, favouring, energy levels

    Have you wormed your hen? Do you have a cycle that you use for worming eg. every 3 months, or every six months?

    1. When was the bird last wormed??- approximate date.

    2. What product was used to worm the bird, and how was it given? ? eg. in the drinking water, on the skin, by injection?

    3. Was a follow up dose given? (eg. 10-14 days later)

    Any other recent medications?- antibiotics, coccidiosis meds, herbal remedies, etc

    Other changes? – additions to the flock, diet, housing, extreme weather, predators, vermin, etc

    If you have any photos of your poorly hen then they can also help others to suggest what might be the matter, but a phone call to your local vet is always helpful.

    If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

    Visit Wells Poultry For All Your Poultry Equipment & Housing

    If you would like to receive regular information about poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

    Enter your email address to receive regular emails with posts from the farmingfriends website:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    How Long Do Guinea Fowl Live For?

    Posted By on October 8, 2011

    I have been asked how long do guinea fowl live for?

    The lifespan of a Guinea fowl is approximately 10 to 15 years although they can live beyond this.

    I currently have guinea fowl on the farm that are 7 years old.

    Front Cover Of Incubating, Hatching & Raising Guinea Fowl Keets An eBook

    If you fancy having a go at incubating, hatching and raising guinea fowl keets then check out my Incubating, Hatching & Raising guinea Fowl Keets eBook and if you are in the UK then I also have guinea fowl eggs for hatching for sale (UK Spring and Summer months).

    If you would like to receive regular information about guinea fowl and poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

    If you keep guinea fowl and want to ask a question to get some advice or just to chat about your guinea fowl then why not join the free farmingfriends guinea fowl forum.

    Visit Wells Poultry For All Your Poultry Equipment & Housing

    Enter your email address to receive regular email updates of the farmingfriends website posts:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    Small Dorking Chicken Coop By Oakdene Coops

    Posted By on October 7, 2011

    Oakdene Coops are renowned for their well designed, British made chicken coops. They have just introduced the Small Dorking Chicken Coop.

    Small Dorking Chicken Coop

    Small Dorking Chicken Coop

    This pretty chicken coop by Oakdene Coops will house up to three chickens. Available in five colours.

    It has a full recycled plastic interior, making it very easy to clean and ideal for beginners.

    Made in England to a very high standard, matching chicken runs also available.

    A great idea for a family gift. £167, T:07974 890 771.

    Training Guinea Fowl To Roost In A Hut At Night

    Posted By on October 6, 2011

    I free range my guinea fowl during the day and then put them in a hut to roost at night although guinea fowl will naturally roost in trees if you don’t train them to go in a hut.

    I like mine to go in a hut at night so that they are protected from predators such as the fox and that they are also sheltered from the weather.

    I use long sticks to drive my guinea fowl in the direction I want then to go. If the sticks get too close to the guinea fowl it spooks them and they fly up into the trees. Long sticks for driving the guinea fowl into a certain area can be helpful, but a word of warning don’t wave the sticks too close to the guinea fowl as this will frighten them and send them flying into the trees.

    I tend to use a stick in each hand as an extension of my arm so that I can dirst the guinea fowl flock in the direction I want them to go.

    Feeding them in the hut at the end of the day will also help them to return to the hut. They get used to the routine of their food being in the hut and will head back to the food source. I would introduce the hut with some food that the guinea fowl are really fond of. Mine love lettuce and apples. If you can get the guinea fowl to get used to a place and think of it as a place where they get something that they like then they will relate to this.

    Training the guinea fowl to go into the hut will take some time and effort, you will need to go out at the same time each day so that the birds get used to the routine as they are creatures of habit and will range the same area day in and day out. I have found that guinea fowl have a route which they take every day and they are creatures of habit and can usually be found in the same place at the same time each day so your guinea fowl will establish them selves a routine in their enclosure.

    After a few weeks of walking the guinea fowl to their hut they will get used to the routine.

    Eventually the guinea fowl will return to the hut on their own and sometimes will even go into the hut on their own, but this is not always the case, as sometimes if left too late they will fly up to the roof of the barn or into the trees in the orchard timing needs to be just right.

    Guinea fowl tend to want to roost earlier than hens in the Autumn/winter seasons and later than hens in the Spring and summer.

    From experience I have found that it is definately possible to train guinea fowl to go into a hut and I have also had experience of moving the hut and the guinea fowl do then re-adjust to the new location, although it does take them a few days of re-training to get them to naturally know where they are going.

    Front Cover Of Incubating, Hatching & Raising Guinea Fowl Keets An eBook

    If you fancy having a go at incubating, hatching and raising guinea fowl keets then check out my Incubating, Hatching & Raising guinea Fowl Keets eBook and if you are in the UK then I also have guinea fowl eggs for hatching for sale (UK Spring and Summer months).

    If you would like to receive regular information about guinea fowl and poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

    If you keep guinea fowl and want to ask a question to get some advice or just to chat about your guinea fowl then why not join the free farmingfriends guinea fowl forum.

    Visit Wells Poultry For All Your Poultry Equipment & Housing

    Enter your email address to receive regular email updates of the farmingfriends website posts:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    New Book Launched By Cattleman Andy Frazier Called The Right Colour

    Posted By on July 16, 2011

    The Right Colour (a novel about a cow) by Andy Frazier

    Andy Frazier has been writing books for two years now, from his base in South West France. He started life farming with his father and brother at Coningswick farm in the English Midlands, which in those days specialised in quality beef and pork. After a string of successes exhibiting commercial cattle and pedigree Bleu du Maine sheep, Andy left the family farm to set up a livestock supplies business dealing specifically in grooming products as well as supplying services to the pedigree cattle industry. Over the next 10 years his achievements in dressing and preparing show animals saw him being twice in charge of the supreme champion at the Royal Smithfield show, as well as cattle and sheep breed champions in a variety of pedigree breeds at just about every national and county show. He has also judged cattle and sheep at many of these events. For a 12 year spell Andy successfully bred pedigree Texel sheep under the prefix Menithwood until the flock was dispersed in 2004. In addition to this he continued to help and advise with the prominent Coningswick flock of Beltex sheep run at the family farm. After selling his grooming business to Ritchey Tagg in the mid nineties and progressing into the IT industry, Andy’s career somehow evolved into that of a freelance business analyst. For a number of years he then worked for blue chip clients such as Barclays Bank, Cable & Wireless and Cisco Systems, mostly writing detailed and highly technical documentation that few people ever read!
    In 2006 Andy opted for a lifestyle change and moved to South West France with the objective of one day becoming an author. For a while he ran a small building business alongside renovating a large old farmhouse until, with the support of his partner Wendy, he started writing novels some two years ago. During that period he has now written no less than nine books, many of which are targeted at children and most of which feature farm animals of some kind or other. He shares the smallholding with Wendy, two dogs, half a dozen sheep and a small collection of wines.

    The Right Colour
    Andy completed his first novel called The Right Colour in November 2010. Set in the mid nineteen eighties, the book tells a highly entertaining story of Princess, a calf born in north Scotland in a pedigree Aberdeen Angus herd but by a Limousin sire. The tale follows the calf as she tells her own story of growing up in hard times which include her being subjected to bullying and racism. As the Princess overcomes these problems, she sets her sights on the winning the greatest accolade a cross-bred animal could ever win, to be champion at the Royal Smithfield Show. She also develops a bizarre desire to meet the Queen herself. The book is written with sharp humour and there are some laugh-out-loud moments as Princess gets into some quite unusual situations and engages in some curious dialogue with a few other animals.
    Drawing from the author’s own cattle experience, many of the settings and the people that this animal encounters are recalled with extreme accuracy, including the sights, sounds and smells of those great December days in Earls Court, London. Some of the characters even bear an uncanny resemblance to people involved in the industry at that time. However, the passion with which this tale is told provides its real appeal. That appeal is not just to cattlemen young and old but to a whole cross-section of the public, many of whom are blissfully unaware that the languid world of livestock showing could be quite so exciting.
    The Right Colour has developed a cult following through the British livestock world and has had some fantastic reviews. One review in a Scottish national paper said “The book is littered with colourful characters…..It could only have been written by someone with a great deal of knowledge in the industry…. The tale is also a great insight into animal psychology!”
    The Right Colour is now being made available through a selection of agricultural traders throughout  the UK as well as online in paperback or e-book form from www.andyfrazier.co.uk, published through Lulu Press.

    Wall Or Fence Mounted Chicken Coop By Oakdene Coops

    Posted By on July 14, 2011

    The New Way To Keep Chickens From Oakdene Coops!
    Oakdene Coops are renowned for their well designed, British made chicken
    coops.

    Fence Coop by Oakdene Coops

    Fence Coop by Oakdene Coops

    Their latest chicken coop mounts onto a fence, garden wall or even a
    tree! This new concept of keeping chickens has many advantages over using a
    conventional chicken coop. This chicken coop takes up virtually no room in
    your garden because its mounted four feet in the air! This makes it perfect for
    medium to small gardens.
    Cleaning out the chicken coop is simple, the floor is wire mesh, this means that most of the dropping will drop straight though it but the chickens won’t!. The roof, perch and nesting box are made from recycled plastic, giving a great life span and providing an easy to clean surface.
    The chickens will put themselves away in the evening by using the fox
    resistant ladder, all you have to do is slide the door shut.
    The Chicken Coop is raised four feet from the ground, making egg collection
    easy. This also helps prevent rodents, and the solid recycled plastic perch is
    removable to help prevent red mite problems!
    ‘The Brockham’ is available from Oakdene Coops for £240 including nationwide delivery (assembled and painted).
    Oakdene Coops
    ‘The Brockham’ is a registered design.