Sow With Hot & Red Teats

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.

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World Sparrow Day 20th March 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

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

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).

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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.

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

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).

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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.

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Candling Duck Eggs

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.

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Colour Of Duck Eggs

Well I now have a real mix of ducks and drake here on the farmingfriends farm!

I have 11 khaki campbells (2 drakes and 9 ducks – one is a doubled breasted khaki) They lay white eggs.

I have a pair of magpie ducks (1 drake & 1 duck) and I think they lay blue/green eggs.

I have two buff orpington ducks and I think they lay white eggs.

I have one white campbell duck and they lay white eggs.

Then I have 2 trout runner drakes, a mallard drake and a cayuga drake!

I have only been getting white eggs until the last week or so and now am getting a large egg with a green tinge to it. I think the white eggs are predominantly from the khaki campbells but one or two of the eggs are smaller so they could be from the buff orpington ducks. I think the greenish egg may be from the magpie duck.

If you keep ducks let us know what breed they are and what colour eggs you get from your ducks.

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.

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Eat Tapas Day Monday 28th February 2011

I have been sent an email about Spanish cuisine, produce and ‘Eat Tapas Day’ which is on Monday 28th February.

The information I have been given says that,

The fiesta, which falls on a Monday, is dedicated to the great Spanish custom of accompanying drinks with a small plate of food or ‘tapa’. Tradition has it that barmen in the Andalusian capital Seville, began the practice by placing slices of ham or cheese on top of glasses of sherry to protect them from flies; ‘tapa’ literally translates as ‘cover’ in Spanish. Tapas have since developed into a national obsession with most bars in Spain specialising in a particular dish. Going from bar to bar and trying a variety of tapas in each, known as ‘tapear’, is the favoured night out for Andalusians.

On ‘Eat Tapas Day’ the UK public is encouraged to have a go at making their own tapas feast or to search out their nearest Spanish restaurant. The farmers chose the 28th of February as it coincides with ‘Andalusia Day’, an important public holiday in Andalusia celebrating the region’s autonomy, culture and famous local produce such as tomatoes, peppers and aubergines.

Spain’s southern region of Andalusia is the home of much of what we think of as typically Spanish. It’s the birthplace of flamenco and fans and home to postcard-perfect sun-bleached villages. The cuisine is just as famous in its own right: gazpacho, Ibérico ham and sherry are some of the more well known Andalusian delicacies.

The area is nicknamed “Europe’s Vegetable Garden”, and fresh produce such as tomatoes, peppers and aubergines have always been at the heart of Andalusian cooking. The region is also the world’s largest producer of olive oil! Enjoying a taste of Andalusia’s healthy and vibrant cuisine has never been easier, as lots of the region’s finest fresh produce is available in UK supermarkets and green grocers.

I was also sent a series of recipes to share with you and here is my favourite Spanish recipe:

Andalusian Chicken Stew with Peppers

Andalusian Chicken Stew With Peppers

Andalusian Chicken Stew With Peppers

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

2 red peppers

2 green peppers

2 yellow peppers

4 tbsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp sweet smoked paprika (pimentón)

4 chicken legs

50g Serrano ham

250g tomatoes, chopped

250ml white wine

salt and pepper

Preheat the grill to high. Halve the peppers and cook under the grill for 20 minutes.

Place the peppers in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool. When cooled, deseed and peel the peppers then cut into slices.

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the garlic gently for a minute. Remove and reserve. Add the chicken and ham to the pan and cook until the chicken is golden brown. Add the tomatoes, wine, reserved garlic, paprika and the sliced peppers. Cover and cook over a low heat for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Serve with rice and green beans dressed with olive oil.

Calories per serving-

474kcals

23g fat

5g saturated fat

39g protein

17g carbohydrate

15g sugars

4g fibre

0.5g salt

Let me know if you try this recipe!

For further information on Eat Tapas Day and for more tapas recipes visit www.andalusianfreshproduce.co.uk.

A Tip To Stop Poultry Tipping Up Their Feeders

I have received a chicken feeder tip from Anthony Marriott from Marriotts Smallholding to help stop your poultry from tipping up their feeder.

Anthony says, “We have found that chickens like to scratch their feeders as much as the grass etc.

To solve this problem just get a couple of galvanised tent pegs and push one in the ground each side of the feeder and clip them over the respective edge to stop the chickens from tipping them over and wasting the food, and making a mess.

This method also allows the pegs to be moved with the feeder, of course you can always use a hanging feeder but these are not always a viable option.

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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.

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

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A Set Of Questions To Consider If Your Hen Is Poorly

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.

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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

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