aquaponics / chickens / revelations / veggie garden

Seven eggs today!

The chickens are on lay!

OK. I know that is not great English, but I have the 1967 Herman’s Hermits’ hit ‘No milk today’ in my head and it all just worked (… in my head!) 😛

But in contrast to the mood of the song, there is nothing forlorn about the back yard, the chickens, the fish or our vegetable patch!

Here’s a small dot point update, with a promise of posting about harvesting some of our fish by week’s end.

  • all eight chickens seem to be getting along better, with the three newbies settling in well and managing to muscle in on the food as best they can
  • Queen Mab (remember her, our Julia Gillard chicken?) is a real pet. She follows me when I do my rounds with the Vladamir (AKA the Poo Tin 😀 collecting chicken droppings for the compost tumbler) and is not at all averse to me picking her up and giving her a cuddle
  • the grass in the chicken enclosure is seriously the worse for wear under the constant grazing of our flock, the recent lack of rains and the shade that is cast by our house in winter, when the sun is lower in the sky
  • we have good crops of kale, parsley, silver beet and cherry tomatoes on the go, and have just removed the rather vigorous eggplant from the aquaponics system
  • the Jade Perch are doing really well, as are the Silvers, despite the colder overnight temperatures of late. The Jades seem to noticeably cut back on their feeding when it gets colder but the Silvers always seem to want to feed
  • the soil garden is responding well to being tended by Chris, who has recently planted some purple and green beans and some broad beans. We are currently harvesting carrots and are about to sample our first attempt at broccoli 😀
  • we had a substantial patch of celeriac which Chris has thinned out, transplanted and managed, so we are hoping for a crop some time in the next millennium (<— the plants are so small, and when I check out celeriac in the shops the bulbs are enormous, so I shall watch (and report) with interest)
  • we have a number of healthy patches of potatoes which we are looking forward to lifting soon!

One thing I read recently is that mites that affect chickens don’t like lavender. I bought one bush and managed to kill it through neglect, but have a new one in a pot that is being watered and loved, and it is flourishing. I shall have to pick some springs and process the leaves (finely chop them?) and spread that through their bedding. I may have to buy a lot more lavender and find a good location for it, as we clean the chicken coup out regularly and it would be nice, if this works, to keep their home base at once smelling lovely, and keeping the ‘things that bite’ at bay.

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