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.

  • Incubation Period For Pekin Duck Eggs

    Posted By on July 8, 2011

    I have been asked what is the incubation period for pekin ducks.

    Hi, I just wanted to ask about my peking duck.  She has become broody and is laying on her eggs, but I am unsure how long the incubation of these are.


    Pekin duck eggs take 28 days to hatch from time of incubation. If your duck is still laying eggs then she won’t start to incubate the eggs until she has laid a clutch of eggs which could be 6-12 eggs.

    Check out the following books about ducks and incubating and hatching eggs.

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

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    Will Two Drakes & Two Ducks Get On?

    Posted By on July 7, 2011

    Duck keepers often wonder what is the best combination and ratio of male to females and I am often emailed about the numbers of drakes and ducks in a group and whether they will get along ok.

    Carolyn has just emailed as she has two draks and two ducks.

    The ducklings I got at Easter have turned out to be 2 drakes & 2 ducks. Will this ratio work, or will there be problems with having two drakes? Hope you can help Many thanks Carolyn

    My response is:

    There may be rivalry between the drakes when they reach maturity so they may fight to see who is top drake!

    They may also prefer one female over the other and both my fight over the duck which could hurt the duck as well as the drakes.

    You could separate them into two groups of one drake and one duck during the breeding season and then put them back together during Autumn and Winter when they will probably get on fine. This may depend on the amount of space you have and the housing you have and if you are able to partition it off.

    You could also increase the number of females. 1 drake to about 6 ducks is a good amount.

    If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

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

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    Brooder Temperatures For Ducklings

    Posted By on May 12, 2011

    In the farmingfriends forum we have been asked about brooder temperatures for ducklings.

    the temp in his brooder is about 93 degrees F. Is that good? or should it be different? Badoodle


    If the duckling is moving away from the heat lamp, is laying down alot and panting then the temp is prob too high, if the duckling is huddled under the heat lamp then too low a temp. moving around and sitting in different places usually means the temp is right. The link that Mo gave says, The duckling will need a temperature in the brooder of about 86 degree fahrenheit day one and then by day 7 about 81 degrees.

    Once your duckling is dried out and strong enough it won’t rely on the heat lamp so much, like other birds such as guinea fowl.

    Check out the following books about ducks and incubating and hatching eggs.

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

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    Signs That Incubated Quail Eggs Will Hatch

    Posted By on May 11, 2011

    I have been asked how to tell if incubated quail egg will hatch.

    Deana is looking for signs that her incubated quail eggs will hatch.

    Hello, I was looking at your website and didnt find the answer to my question. I’m currently trying to hatch out 48 quail eggs its the 21st day of incubation and my question is how can you tell if they are hatching? I’ve been seeing little light spots in the egg shell that I havnt noticed before almost like they were trying to pick off the inside of the shell (that started on the 20th day) but since then its just stopped. Am I going insane waiting for them to hatch? Or did they try to hatch and die? Thank you! Deana

    Things to look out for are:

    * Look out for signs of pipping where the chick has broke through the shell with their beak.
    * Cracks in the shell.
    * Also hold the egg up to your ear and listen for cheeps.
    * Look for movement of the eggs.

    If you can’t candle the eggs and quail eggs are hard to candel then leave the eggs in the incbator for up to 7-10 days after the hatching date to see if they hatch late.
    If you keep quail and want to ask a question to get some advice or just to chat about your quail then why not join the free farmingfriends quail forum.

    Check out the following books about keeping and raising quail.

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

    Sow With Hot & Red Teats

    Posted By on May 7, 2011

    I have just received an email about a sow who is due to farrow soon and her teats are hot and red.

    “Hi Sara. My sow, Matilda, is due to have her first litter in the next few days. She is very content but I have noticed her back teets are very red and feel very warm, is this normal? She doesn’t seem to mind me touching them at all, I have been bathing them and she doesn’t seem to mind that either. We have had pigs for a year now and this is the firtst time we have gone through pregnancy. She has been wormed and her farrowing ark is clean. What more do I need to do?” Nelly

    My response was
    Hi Nelly,

    I hope Matilda is ok. Watch out for mastitis which is a hardening of the teats and hot and painful teats. Mastitis can be treated with antibiotics. Here is a link http://farmingfriends.com/mastitis-in-sows/

    http://farmingfriends.com/tip-for-helping-to-prevent-mastitis-in-sow-when-weaning-piglets/

    Here is a link about signs of a farrowing sow
    http://farmingfriends.com/signs-of-a-farrowing-sow-or-gilt/

    http://farmingfriends.com/what-to-do-with-a-pregnant-sow-or-gilt-that-is-close-to-farrowing/

    Hope these links are useful.

    Good luck with the farrowing.

    Let us know how she gets on. Just to let you know I have a free forum where there are lots of friendly members http://farmingfriends.com/forums/

    Kind regards
    Sara

    A useful book for a new pig keeper and breeder is the book Starting With Pigs by Andy Case or the The Virgin Pig Keeper by David Brown.

    If you keep pigs or are thinking of keeping pigs then join the free farmingfriends pig forum for the latest chat, advice and questions about pigs and pig related issues.

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

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    World Sparrow Day 20th March 2011

    Posted By on March 20, 2011

    I have just received an email to say it’s  WORLD SPARROW DAY (20th March 2011).

    Tree Sparrow

    Tree Sparrow

    World Sparrow Day helps raise public awareness about the decline of the house sparrow and throw light on the problems faced by the species in its daily fight for survival.

    Tree Sparrow

    Tree Sparrow

    You can do your bit by making a note of the sparrows you see wherever you are in the world and submit the details on the Tree Sparrow sightings page.

    Just note down the species and where exactly they were.

    Happy bird spotting!

    News From Cyprus – Gardening, Photography & Growing Vegetables

    Posted By on March 14, 2011

    It is always a joy to receive an email from my friend David in Cyprus as I am learning lots about the produce that grows in the foothils of the Troodos Mountains and Cypriot life.

    Here is David’s letter:

    Hi Sara and all at Farming Friends

    Well it has been a long while and I hope that you have not given up on me. I am still not back on line but I will be able to give you a regular report on the Cyprus scene( I can hear some saying  “Oh God  He’s back!!) as I have found out how to download my documents to a disc. Yes I know young people are fully conversant with computers but with us oldies it takes a bit of trial and error. Anyway Maria who lives in Kedares has said that I may use her computer so I hope to give you some news from time to time.

    The year has not started well for me and reading about the awful weather that UK has experienced and the floods etc in Australia it does not bode too well. A good friend died of a heart attack just before Christmas. His wife who has been a friend of mine since childhood sent me the news and I am really sorry that he will no longer be about. He was about 10 months younger than me so it does make you think. I will be 64 at the end of the month and am now counting the days to my pension.I just hope that I make it. I would really grieve me to think of all that money going back into the Government coffers.

    Anyway on to happier matters.I went down to Paphos to pay my rent to my landlord and was greeted with the usual cup of cypriot coffee biscuits and a large bag of avocados (10 at least) some oranges and 2 pomelos ( these are about the size of a small football taste like grapefruit but are much sweeter – we shall see). He had to leave to go to his land in Mamonia a small village on the way to Troodos to help with the picking of more fruit. I had a job to do in Tsada (my old village) but I offered to help him later. He said that he would be back at his land on saturday and would happily pay me if I wanted to pick oranges and lemons. My work in Tsada did not take as long as I thought so on my way home I called into his land. His wife Koula was straight out with food  Eat eat was the call!! No No I said I have to get back to Kedares to make some telephone calls. So then out comes Pampos with a crate of oranges. Take these he says but please bring me back the crate on saturday. Could you wish for a better landlord? Of course I knew that I would not be able to get through a crate of oranges before they started to rot and as I have a good stock of orange juice friends in Tsada were given copious amounts with the promise of more to come. On the following saturday I arrived at the orange grove to find Pampos there with a couple of Romanian lads called Flouris (I hope I have spelt that right) and Christo. They were pruning the almond olive and orange trees. Pruning here seems to consist of cutting off large boughs and branches to allow air and sunshine to get into the centre of the plant and to prevent rot.Now I have read somewhere that it is not possible to kill an olive tree by pruning no matter how hard. I am not particularly religious but I understand that Christ wept beneath an olive tree and it gave the tree perpetual life.Looking at some of the olive trees around Kedares where the trunks have virtually disappeared but the tree still bears new growth and copious fruits I cannot argue with the sentiment. I told Pampos that I had passed on some oranges to friends and he said “Of course that is what friends should do!”

    My job at the “garden” as Pampos calls it was to take out the cut branches and rebuild the boundary fences. Not with any sort of layering but just to stack them along the roadside. Now to explain the Cypriot ethic of land use. Most of the land is served by unmade tracks which tend to get very rutted and muddy over the winter period.Everyone seems to drive a four wheel truck or L200 so no real problem but they tend to use all the space that is available and not worry too much about fences and verges. Hence there are times when branches are disturbed or dragged off by the trucks. No ill intent is meant and repair is really a matter of personal choice. As livestock is allowed to roam fairly freely in the valley keeping stock enclosed is not really done. I am sure that visitors to Troodos will have come across the goatherd with his dogs and goats and sheep wandering along the roadway.

    The land is in the Diarizos river valley close to Mamonia village about 15km from where I live. It is a beautiful valley but sadly now the river flows infrequently and only really during the winter rains. This is largely due to the dam and reservoir at Arminou higher up the valley.Kleanthis told me that in his youth when his father used to herd sheep and goats in the valley it was quite possible for the river to be impassable. The government are considering re-vitalising the valley and allowing more water to flow in the river which  may provide more wildlife and flora.

    The orange variety is Merlin similar to a Navel orange and very sweet. I think they picked about 60 crates that day and of course Pampos told me to help myself to any fruits that I wanted.I left with some oranges for his uncle Nicos who lives in Kedares. I will be back to work there later as Pampos has about 200 orange trees quite a number of Mandarin trees and several lemon avocado and pomelo.It has been a bumper crop this year but prices are not too good.

    I have started a small gardening business and now look after 3 gardens where the owners live in UK.I am not a trained horticulturist but I do enjoy weeding and digging and here in Cyprus the weather is usually so pleasant that it is a delight to be in the garden.I have recently been pruning the fruit trees olives and citrus but we have had some very violent weather and heavy rain and hail so I am a bit behind with jobs. Of course as the weather warms up everything takes off at a hell of a rate and weeds are now prolific as are snails and other beasties.The flowers are beginning to show in the gardens and my crocuses and freesias will soon be in flower.The blossom is already breaking out on the almond trees and the citrus trees will follow soon.I just hope we do not get too much more heavy rain as this will knock the blossom off.

    Here in Kedares I have been growing garlic swiss chard lettuce radish spinach and broad beans all of which are thriving at present.They have done well over the winter and will be ready before the weather really gets hot. I have got to get some other vegetables into the ground in march and then the tomatoes aubergines chillies and peppers will be ready to plant up. I hope to have more success with squash this year.I think I will grow them on a plastic membrane so the fruits do not have to lie on the damp earth. I also hope to build a minature polytunnel to experiment with some crops and see how they do.

    Our land in Lemithou is lying fallow at the moment and we are not really sure what to do with it.I know my mate is still keen to build up there but if he sails over to the States it will be some years before he is back and he may well think differently then.I suggested that we sell it as I would like to have some land in Kedares. Stavros the police officer who is married to Marina the gardener has put me in touch with a friend who will measure the land and market it for us so I must let Keith my mate know the latest score.

    My ex wife who I am happy to say is still a great friend has been in touch and is now very keen on photography having been made redundant. I have long wanted to do a pictorial book on some of the parts of Cyprus that visitors may miss and suggested to her that we compile a book on the bridges of Cyprus.She is quite keen on the idea. Now I know that people will be saying that as there are no real rivers in Cyprus why should there be any interesting bridges.Most vistors know about the Venetian Bridges but I have found some that are also quite unique and I am researching the history of them to see if the project is worthwhile.

    Well once again I have  prattled on but I hope that Farming Friends find my little jaunts and experiences fun to read as I do the many interesting articles that people post on the web site.

    The sun is shining and it is getting warmer so time for a little glass or two of Nelion wine.

    Best regards to you all

    David

    If you would like to read David’s other letters then click on the following links:

    Letter 1

    Letter 2

    Letter 3

    Letter 4

    Letter 5

    Letter 6

    Letter 7

    Letter 8

    Letter 9

    Letter 10

    Letter 11

    Letter 12

    Letter 13

    Ways To Hatch Guinea Fowl Eggs

    Posted By on March 13, 2011

    There are 3 ways to hatch guinea fowl eggs:

    1) In an incubator.
    2) Under a guinea fowl hen.
    3) With a broody bantam hen.

    I was reminded of this the other day when I had an email from anne saying that she was going to try all three methods.

    Here are some things to consider.

    With the eggs in the incubator watch the humidity levels as the egg shells are so hard that it makes it difficult for the guinea fowl to break through.

    With the nesting guinea hen it’s making sure she sits in a place safe from predators and is not disturbed as guinea fowl can abandon nests.

    With a broody bantam I know that this method produces good results as some friends have had guinea fowl eggs from me and their bantams and silkies have sat on the eggs, hatched them and raised the guinea fowl being excellent mothers to the keets. Once the hen has gone broody you can slip the guinea fowl eggs into her nest for her to sit on and hatch.

    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.

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

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    Do Keets Hatched By Guinea Hen Need Warmth From A Brooder?

    Posted By on March 12, 2011

    I have been asked by a Incubating & Hatching Guinea Fowl Keets eBook customer if keets hatched by a guinea fowl will still need to go into a brooder for warmth.

    Yes, I have 3 guinea fowl. 1 girl and 2 boys. I’ve had them since they were 12 weeks and though fairly skittish, they’re pretty tame.

    One question. If she does sit on her nest and manages to hatch a family, do the keets have to be brought in to the warmth or can she be allowed to go on caring for them? From everything I’ve read it seems they need warmth for the first 12 weeks.

    Thanks again
    Anne

    Here is my response:

    Hi Anne,

    Delighted that you like the eBook. I know what you mean about skittish and tame at the same time. My eldest guinea fowl is about 6 years old. He is now beginning to look elderly and the other younger males are now becoming boss. Mine are free range duting the day and go into a hut at night.

    If your guinea sits and hatches her eggs, she may keep the keets with her but some say that guinea fowl will abandon their nest before hatch or abandon looking after their keets.

    Once you get to the stage where the eggs are hatching I would have a brooder ready with a lamp and suitable flooring and protection from predators and drafts so that the keets can go into the brooder if they are abandoned by mum. They will eat chikc crumbs and like warm water which I put marbles in the drinker so they don’t get their head in it – the ebook will go into detail about brooding keets and the suitbale flooring and temperatures etc. You are right they do need warmth for the first 12 weeks but if the guinea hen is a good mum she will give them warm.

    If she does sit on her nest then she will need to be protected from predators as I have found that the guinea fowl tend to lay in hedgerows without protection however when I try to put a run over the nest they tend to get off it.

    If she does sit then I would make sure she is kept separate from the males as they may become jealous of the keets.

    Good luck – let me know if you do get her to sit and hatch some eggs.

    Just to let you kow I have a free forum with a section on guinea fowl. they forum is popular with lots of friendly members. http://farmingfriends.com/forums/

    Kind regards
    Sara
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    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.

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

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    Candling Duck Eggs

    Posted By on March 4, 2011

    I have been asked about candling duck eggs.

    I haven’t candled eggs myself before but I think it is a good idea so that you can check the eggs are fertile, see the development of the embryo and discard any infertile eggs. I have read that it is ok to candle duck eggs from day 7-10.

    Here is an excellent link which shows a daily image of egg candling.

    There are lots of duck owners on the farmingfriends forum so I have asked them when they candle their duck eggs.

    Here is their advice:

    Lisa said,

    You can candle eggs from 7 days, do it in a dark room , hold a small torch to the back of the egg, keep the eggs point down so you have the air sac at the top, you can see this, it will look like lighter, look for red spider like lines this is the start of the duckling.

    Mo and Mama shared this link http://www.duckeggs.com/hatching-eggs.html

    Laura said,

    I took them out one at a time and shone a torch into the sac end with a regular torch (I cupped my hand so it just went into the egg) very interesting!

    Remember that if you decide to candle your eggs, make sure that you handle the eggs carefully and only take them out of the incubator for a short time.

    Check out the following books about ducks and incubating and hatching eggs.

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

    Enter your email address:

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