Eggs and Chicks….

| 30th April 2010

Welcome to week four of our Blog here at Hen Corner…. when we started, we thought we’d have nothing to say! but things have been so exciting (both the big and the small) and we’re so glad that you are following our story. So here goes this weeks news…

Ruby Watch: Well, I could start slowly here with the update on her health, that her comb is red and perky – a very good sign, she’s not too scared to come out of the Eglu when the others are in the run, etc. However, she still seems very weak and we need to keep an eye on her, she may need some more Baytril? Or, I could just jump to the fantastic news – that we believe that SHE HAS LAID HER FIRST EGG IN EIGHT MONTHS!!!!
Now, I say ‘believe’ as it seems impossible, given her health, that she could have laid an egg, yet it is only her that lays the hazelnut brown eggs that are a trademark of a Spanish Penedesenca. Have a look at the picture above – what do you think?

Asparagus Watch: Definitely in second place to the news on Ruby, but we are still enthralled with the developments in the Asparagus Bed. 32 spears as of today with more crowns sprouting every day. We have 16 crowns of 3 varieties buried deep in the ground, each could mature to produce 10 spears each a year, that is an average harvest of 160 spears – wow…. bring on the Hollandaise!!!

Last week we told you of our planting to date and explained our ‘four-bed rotation system’ click here for an overview. So I’ve been out searching for signs of growth every morning… Potatoes are usually encouraging. If they’ve been well chitted, you can see good strong sprouts of leaves within days. However, the potatoes that I found growing today were in the wrong bed! They were in Bed 4 and should have been in Bed 3. I pulled them up (to protect the carrots and onion sets) and discovered that, as I thought, they were leftovers from last year (albeit just chips that the spade had sliced off), so, be careful… keep your spuds where you want them! Fortunately, on a second patrol of the Kitchen Garden I saw signs of life in Bed 3…. it’s all good!

We really enjoyed last years cider project, but to be honest, did lose a large percentage of our apple crop to the Coddling Moth (common known as maggots!) so since last autumn we have been committed to a multi faceted Coddling Moth Treatment Programme. We put up the traps earlier than Mid-May, as instructed, as it’s been so much warmer than usual recently. On checking today, we have already ‘caught’ 5 or 6 moths! Hopefully. we’ll break the cycle and see our harvest double or treble this year – Bring It On!

It was a joy watching some Honey Bees working around the apple blossom this week, they were very busy bees – pollinating all the flowers, allowing three varieties of apple to set nicely for autumn. They had huge yellow jodhpurs of pollen….but for whose hive???

And finally, in our title we promised you chicks…. Unfortunately, they’re not here at Hen Corner, but very nearby at the local primary school. Just before Easter, one of the teachers spotted a robin building a nest in between fence posts. Just before the bank holiday, she spotted five little eggs! Now they’ve all hatched and mum is busy flying back and forth with food for her hungry chicks. We’ve donated some dried meal worms that can be left by the nest, hopefully making life a bit easier for the busy little mum!

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