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!

Farmhouse Breakfast Week 23rd – 29th January 2011

I just wanted to let you know that the Farmhouse Breakfast week is between 23rd and 29th January 2011.

The theme for Farmhouse Breakfast Week 2011 urges people to Shake Up Their Wake Up by eating a healthy balanced breakfast every day.

Lots of breakfast events will be taking place between 23rd – 29th January 2011 and you can find out more at http://www.shakeupyourwakeup.com/about

So how will you shake up your breakfast during farmhouse breakfast week? Let us know what you do!

RSPCA’s Think Pig Campaign

I have received an email on behalf of RSPCA about their new campaign, Think Pig.

The RSPCA are raising awareness of pig welfare issues and trying to educate people about the different labels on pork products and what they mean for pigs.

If you are on facebook they have made a Facebook word game which incorporates facts about pigs and pig welfare, and encourages people to show their support by joining the RSPCA Think Pig campaign Facebook Page.

RSPCA Think Pig Logo

RSPCA Think Pig Logo

“The RSPCA’s THINK PIG campaign aims to encourage UK’s shoppers to use their consumer power to help improve pig welfare.

Many of the 160 million pigs bred for meat across Europe live in conditions that the Society believes are unacceptable. Pigs face a range of welfare issues that most people are just not aware of.

Consumers have the power to make a difference for pigs and that’s why the RSPCA is urging consumers to ‘Think Pig’ when out shopping and make sure what they put in their shopping basket is a vote for better pig welfare.

The campaign needs to reach a broad consumer audience and the Facebook game,

Think Pig Game Screen

Think Pig Game Screen

with its social elements, is one of the ways that the Society hopes to achieve this.

RSPCA and Farm Animals

The RSPCA is working harder than ever before to try to improve the welfare of as many farm animals as possible, at every stage of their lives.

More than 900 million farm animals are reared every year in the UK. Unfortunately the law alone is not always strong or detailed enough to ensure that they all have a good quality of life, and are transported and slaughtered humanely.

It is a huge challenge to try to improve the welfare of such a large number of animals, ranging from those kept as pets to those kept on large-scale farms. The RSPCA works in a number of different ways to encourage improvements, and always uses all available scientific information and practical evidence to support our arguments.”

This is an important campaign for me as I have kept pigs and would like to know that all pigs are kept in good conditions and are well looked after, so if you are on facebook then head over to the Think Pig page and lend your support.

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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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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Double Yolked Eggs – Are Double Yolks On The Increase?

I have read that double yolked hen eggs are caused by two eggs separating from the birds ovary at the same time and joining into one egg!

I would like to know if double yolks are on the increase. I rarely get a double yolk duck, hen, guinea fowl or quail egg. Occasionally we have had a double yolked quail egg but I have never had a twin yolked guinea fowl egg.

I am posing the question about whether double yolkers are on the increase as I received an interesting email from Sarah yesterday.

“I have read today in national paper one womans shock at all 6 of her eggs being twin yolks and that the british egg forum states its rare and to find 1 in a box is 1000 – 1 chance. However, I would like to point out that the cheaper eggs that I have been buying from “well known supermarket” are nearly always twin yolks. Easily 6 twin yolks this week in the 10 I have used so far. Im sure if it was looked into this is more common than the experts think. What I would like to know is…how can this be happening so often. What are they doing to the chickens! Is this a case of more interference with nature with inevitably a knock on effect in the human diet? Sarah B”

Thought this was interesting so if you wish to enter the debate then please feel free to comment, would love to know what you think. You can either leave a comment here on the website or you can catch up with the debate on the farmingfriends forum.

Big Butterfly Count 24th July – 1st August 2010

Sarah, one of the farmingfriend’s forum members has emailed through some info about the Big Butterfly Count taking place from 24th July to 1st August 2010.

Butterflies are disappearing and are in serious decline, they are both beautiful and vital to the health of our environment.

So be part of the big butterfly count from the 24th July to the 1st of August this year and help Butterfly Conservation gather information to save them.

Just find a place where you might see butterflies, such as a garden or park, and count the different butterflies you see in just 15 minutes. You can make counts in several places during the week.

Submit your sightings at www.bigbutterflycount.org and you’ll receive 10 per cent off plants when you shop online at M&S.

See the website www.bigbutterflycount.org for details.

CookIt Cookery Competition For Children April 2010

I have just been reading about the CookIt Cookery competition for children aged 10-14.

A final call is going out for junior cooks to send in their entry to the CookIt! cookery competition run by the Guild of Food Writers!

The theme for this year’s challenge is “Create a Dream Meal for You and Your Friends!”

If you are aged 10-14 or are aparent of a 10-14 year old and would like to find out more about the competition and how to enter then visit www.gfw.co.uk/children.

The deadline for entries is 30th April 2010 so all you budding chefs and cookery enthusiasts need to hurry, hurry, hurry!

WFU Conference 28th-30th March 2010

I just wanted to let all you UK women farmer’s out thereknow about the Women’s Food & Farming Conference for 2010 will be at Askham Bryan College between the 28th-30th March 2010.

The theme for this year’s conference is Food for the Future.

The speakers this year include:

  • Will Cockbain – who will be speaking about Food and Environmental Security.
  • Paul Brereton – who will talk about Lost Food – tracing the origin of food.
  • Heather Parry – who will speak about the challenges faced and benefits of using environmentally friendly materials.
  • Graham Ward OBE – who will talk about the food crops which could be grown in the UK as growing conditions change, he will also include developing new varieties by traditional and genetic modification methods.

The three day conference  commences with the annual dinner on Sunday evening, the conference on Monday and a trip to visit the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s new premises on Tuesday morning.

Prices:

Conference Day Ticket (includes refreshments and lunch) £15

Conference Dinner £25

Conference Day Ticket plus one evening accommodation ( all meals included) £75

Conference Day ticket plus accommodation for 2 nights ( all meals included) £110

Tickets can be obtained from Sally Robinson at Valley View Farm, Old Byland, Helmsley, York YO62 5LG by sending a cheque or email sally@valleyviewfarm.com and telephone 01439 798221 to pay by credit card.

Let me know if you are a member of the WFU and if you are attending the WFU conference.

Edwina The Oldest Duck Dies Aged 22

I have just been reading about Edwina the mallard duck that was rescued by a family 22 years ago when the duckling was being attacked by other ducklings.The family from Hampshire, rescued the duckling and when they tried to return her to the wild she followed them home, so it sounds like she enjoyed living with the family, so much so she has been with them for 22 years until she passed away on Monday.

Edwina sounds like she was a real character and would even drink tea for her breakfast!

Click on the link to visit the BBC news website and find out more about Edwina the oldest duck and to see a video clip.

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then visit the farmingfriends duck forum for the latest chat about ducks and then check out the khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching sales page.

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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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Feral Cats Rehomed To Act As Pest Control

I have always known that cats can be used for pest control especially on farms. We have five semi feral cats (I say semi feral as they live outside, but they are my pet cats as they have names, are feed pet food and can be petted) who keep the the rat and mice population down on our farm and this week I have been going over to feed the 10-12 cats on our neighbours farm that are also semi feral and help to keep vermin under control.

I have just been reading an article on the BBC news website about how feral cats are to be pest controllers.

The article describes how the cats protection charity in Bournmouth are rounding up feral cats in the hope of re-homing them on farms as pest controllers. The cats are caught, given medical treatment and neutered, before being sent out to farmers. The charity feels that the cats won’t be tame enough to become household pets so their perfect environment is stables, farms or garden centres.

I think this is an excellent idea to rehome the feral cats on farms to act as pest control as this helps the farm with any vermin problems and also gives the cats the chance to be well looked after.

Let me know what you think about this.

National Steak Week In UK

National Steak Week will run from October 12th to October 18th and will basically try to encourage everyone to eat more steak.

The British restaurant Beefeater is celebrating it’s 35th birthday this October and to celebrate 35 years of chargrilling they are launching National Steak Week so that the nation can indulge in their love for steak.

The week will be a celebration of all things steak, from the juiciest rumps, to the tenderest sirloins and the meatiest T- Bones and with a choice of 12 sauces, such as peppercorn, béarnaise and Argentine speciality ‘Chimi Churi’ there is something to suit all meat eating tastes!

Beefeater are also running a promotion giving anyone who is 35 during National Steak Week the chance to get a free meal. So if you are are celebrating your 35th birthday between 12th-18th October or just want want to celebrate all things steak then why not check out Beefeaters.