It’s 7am on a Sunday morning and I am currently sat in a courtyard garden in Sunny Bridgend, West Wales, in an Airbnb just round the corner from the local prison (they missed that bit off the listing!) I am sat quietly, coffee in hand with no TV blaring in the background, nobody needing an urgent pooh and, most importantly no phone!
I’ve disappeared off the farm for the weekend and left Mr O & A in charge, I am away celebrating one of my very best friends special birthdays and, in true Jade style, I have packed the weekend so full of activities that everyone is still fast asleep, shattered from the previous days program! Roll on day two!
Finally, I can sit down and write a proper update to where we are back on the farm and what the last few weeks have been like.
To sum up the last few weeks in a nutshell, I would say, rocky. All started off well allbeit I was flying by the seat of my pants somewhat in terms of being organised and ready to take delivery of birds. A huge thanks needs to be extended to the incredibly helpful staff at Wynnstay’s Craven Arms who really do go to great lengths to help.
Being part of the Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association means that the food we feed our turkeys needs to meet 70% cereal as a minimum and Wynnstay and their poultry feed department help us to achieve this. Last year they even milled us our own feed, which for me, was one of those moments when I sat back and thought, this shits got real, I’m not just rearing a few turkeys here!
Anyways, back to this year, day five came and went, usual losses, day five round two came, again, usual losses. Week three came and I was feeling a bit smug and a bit like I knew what I was doing and boom, they start dropping dead in the shed! Cocci had got us, a very common disease that poultry contract, lots of farms have to deal with it in their stock but for me it was like a serious insult. What had I done wrong, how had I let my birds catch this. Queue a postmortem, some medicine and a complete shed clean, drinker and feeder disinfect and we were on the road to recovery and the countdown to the move into the big shed.
In the background the geese have been merrily growing and changing and just doing their goosey thing. They came through their rearing period with no dramas. They were out on the range from three week and currently love using the kid’s empty sand pit as their temporary pond! The kids have started to ask me when they will be getting their sandpit back and will it be washed out first! Geese pooh a lot, I will say no more! I have long since learned that being a farmer is about being adaptable and thinking outside the box to adapt things for different uses!
I was once again feeling smug about the geese, I had managed to bring all successfully through the rearing cycle and out the other side, until I had a little phone call from Mr O & A to say one of the geese had been attacked in the field. Something had got it around the neck and killed it. Rat, stoat, polecat, what ever it was, was small! There is nothing more infuriating than loosing a healthy bird in this way. If it happens during the rearing you can kind of rationalise things, it really is one of those things. When it happens in this way though, I can’t rationalise it, I didn’t factor this type of loss in, it wasn’t a thought that had crossed my mind and it makes me a tad angry.
So there we go, six weeks in a nutshell. Rocky but thankfully on the other side and eagerly awaiting week eight so we can get the turkeys outside and in the Sunshine and ranging on the field and the geese to feather up fully so the children can have their sandpit back as the geese can then swim on the brook!
Time to make another coffee and sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet before day two’s activities start!