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The LaverockHall Farm Blog

Whats going on down on the Farm? Find out here !!

Get Stocked Up!

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We've had some very busy weeks recently with more to come until the big day is finally here. Thankfully, the farmwork is mostly completed at this time of the year, so we can concentrate on our Bird Foods. We’re busy manufacturing Wild Bird Foods, Pigeon Corns, Chicken Foods, stocking the shop, as well as delivering to our trade customers and preparing courier orders for the website too! So, it’s a hands-on busy time. We even had to house a couple of geese overnight until they could be collected to go to their new home, they’re pets not Xmas dinners, before you ask.  The wild birds visiting our bird table and feeders in our garden are many and varied at this time of year but they seem to visit by species for feeding, we will get a batch of sparrows, then some blue tits, then the pigeons come along for a...
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Competition Time

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We are running a Photo competition to win a 12.55kg bag of either Laverock No Waste or Laverock No Wheat Wild Bird Food. https://www.laverockhallfarm.co.uk/wild-bird-food/no-waste-12-55kg-detail https://www.laverockhallfarm.co.uk/wild-bird-food/wheat-free-wild-bird-food-12-55kg-detail The competition is from Nov 27 th to Midnight on Tuesday Dec 4th & all you need to do to enter is to submit a wildlife or birdlife photo of your choice on our Facebook page as a comment on the relevant competition  Facebook post. This will be judged by an independent judge and his/her decision will be final. One entry per person & if you wish to share the competition with your friends and family that would be fab but isn’t obligatory. After that date the winner will be announced ASAP., and the prize can either be collected from our shop or it will be couriered to you if you live further afield. UK entries only please and only one entry per person. Could...
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Not just for the birds

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We’re often asked in the shop which birds eat what types of food or is one mix better than another? While there’s no hard & fast rule regarding feeding I usually say that the smaller the seeds the smaller the birds they will attract. We make a few different mixes to attract all types of birds to your feeders, but some people find that some mixes work better than others and there are also obvious factors regarding how sheltered your garden is, or if you own cats which can affect which birds you will attract. Our Laverock Hall Deluxe Bird food was one of the first mixes we made many years ago. It is our what we call entry level bird food, it will attract birds to your feeder and will feed all types of birds, but it does contain wheat so will be useful if you wish to attract...
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Chickens, hens & poultry

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Hens, chickens, poultry – they conjure up a vision of either fluffy chicks at Easter or lovely brown hens scratching around a farmyard, but more and more people are keeping chickens in their gardens or backyards, and judging by our own customers they seem to really love their hens. Lots of people buy their chickens Wild Bird food as a treat, or mealworms so they can scratch around and enjoy finding their treats among their usual chicken foods. We have hens on our farm and we all know how lovely it is to have a freshly boiled egg with toast soldiers from a chicken we look after and feed, but some people only know of supermarket eggs and don’t have any idea where their eggs come from. Its lovely to meet with our customers and see how much the whole family can be involved in chicken keeping, and not just...
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Walter the Vizsla

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It’s been a long time since I admired Wirehaired Hungarian Vizslas and we have had a few dogs in our lives in the meantime, all of them loved and treasured members of our family, living alongside our children and a variety of other pets along the way, including a ferret, ponies, and various cats, most of which found us rather than us choosing them! We currently have Frank, our smooth haired Hungarian Vizsla who was driven up from Gloucestershire almost 2 years ago to cause chaos and mayhem in our lives. He’s been like a whirlwind and I have described him as like living with a kangaroo in the house. Why oh why did I then agree to us having another one in the family you ask. Well the reason is that when we had Frank we also had my beloved terrier, Stanley who ruled our house and us to...
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Coming and going?

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Migration isn’t just about birds moving continents, did you know that some birds migrate vertically – this means that they might move from uplands to milder lowlands for the Winter where food is more plentiful e.g. skylarks, meadow pipits and snow buntings. Even the Blackbirds we see in our gardens in January might be visiting from Eastern Europe. The most famous birds that most people know of that migrate are swallows who fly  to Africa for the winter and there are birds that  only winter here including lots of types of ducks and geese, fieldfares, redwings and whooper swans. The birds that stay here for the winter need our help and here’s a few for you to look out for on your feeder, bird table or in your garden. Number one is the robin, recently voted Britain’s national bird, a special favourite here as it’s our daughter’s name too; different...
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Our new Conservation and Wildlife project

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Some of you will have seen our Laverock Hall Farm Facebook post with my video of the latest happenings here on the farm. We have been planning this project for a number of years and today it finally started, making this an exciting day to watch the beginnings of what will hopefully be around for generations to come. Our Conservation wildlife pond and woodland project has begun on one of our fields. This is a much bigger project than I envisaged but maybe I’m more used to garden projects than acres of woodlands. We have measured the boundaries and organised trees and fencing with the help of a Conservation Consultant, Harry Baker-Cresswell. He has advised us from the beginning and has been a great help with the choice of trees and location. We will be planting Hazel trees ( for harvesting and also to support our lovely native red squirrels),...
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How to make a simple Bird Feeder

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The nights seem to be closing in very quickly and although we have had very warm weather this week, the colder weather is just around the corner, and the birds will be looking for more food to keep them warm throughout the colder temperatures.   It is almost the school Half Term Holidays l too, and If you are looking for a project  to entertain children or grandchildren then this could be a great family activity  for you all  which is relatively cheap, involves recycling and also feeds the birds and is educational too. Here are my instructions;  How to make a simple bird feeder You will need 1.An empty plastic bottle, any size is fine, remember though that it will weigh quite heavy when filled with bird food. 2.Wooden dowels, pencils, old wooden spoons – these will be the perches 3.Wire to make a loop,  or strong twine is fine...
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Jobs & Hedgehogs

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Autumn seems to be upon us and after such a lovely summer it’s a bit of a shock to wake up to dark mornings and much cooler temperatures. The gardens are looking a bit tatty now and leaves are starting to change colour and drop, and Winter seems to be very close. Tidying up the garden is a regular Autumn job to remove dead foliage and prepare the beds for the coming season but maybe it might be a good idea to leave a few plants for the birds. I’m not suggesting that your gardens are full of weeds but if you have any thistles maybe on your compost heaps their seed heads are a great food source for many smaller birds, including finches and sparrows. Nyjer or Niger seed is in fact thistle seed and is grown in North America, we sell this in our shop in various bag...
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8 Seeds, 8 generations, and 8 reasons why Laverock Hall Deluxe is my choice!

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Our original Wild Bird Food Mix, Deluxe has 8 different seeds,pictured above is Robyn (8th Generation), so here’s 8 reasons to buy your bird foods from us! Deluxe Wild Bird food, like all our bird foods, are made here on our farm in Northumberland by Chris & the team. Chris is the 7 th Generation of the Hogg family who have farmed here so he knows a bit about crops & seeds, and if you come into our shop you can meet the man who makes your bird food! 2 All of our Laverock bird foods come in a strong woven polypropylene bag which is so strong it can be used again for e.g., garden waste, storage or even as a growbag – I have seen a picture of one filled with compost and holes cut into the sides to grow strawberries or potatoes! 3 We only use top grade...
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And Breathe

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Well, that’s Harvest over for another year, and what a year it has been! 2018 has to go down in History as one of the most extreme years as far as weather is concerned. The snows of the Beast from the East seemed long forgotten while we sweltered in some of the highest temperatures we have ever had, especially for a Northern Summer. The last of the Spring Barley was cut on the 2 nd September, in a more usual year we might have just started to cut wheat, but could not even have envisaged being all completed as far as corn cutting is concerned. The hard work hasn’t finished yet though as the fields all need to be prepared for sowing next year’s crop as soon as possible although cooler weather isn’t so much of an issue for ploughing or cultivating. As usual it has been a swings and...
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Hot Harvest 2018

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And so it begins, Harvest 2018 in the most unusual year of our farming lives. After the Beast from the East in March 2018 we are now experiencing the hottest summer since records began if this hot season keeps up throughout August. We have begun by cutting the Winter barley, then Winter oats which were a very dry and crisp crop which is mostly droughted off but we will get what crop there is and it most certainly will not need to be dried as I’m sure there is so little moisture in the grain that it will be fried to a crisp. We use the same farming contractor every year and his new combine is fitted with tracks as you can possibly see by the photos, although I don’t think that they will be needed this year like in other years when we have been almost flooded out! The...
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Help for racing pigeons in the hot weather

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Pigeon Racing season is in full swing at the moment and with the unusually high temperatures we are experiencing the pigeons are being really challenged and many of them need to rest and recuperate before they find their way home. I thought that some of you may often have racing pigeons visiting your gardens and feeders and would maybe welcome advice as to what to do if you found an injured or exhausted bird. We have even had pigeons brought into our shop and managed to contact the Pigeon Association to reunite the owners with their birds which are often very valuable. We once had a pigeon land on George’s tractor one harvest time which he nicknamed Mort and we nursed him back to health and got him back to his owner too! The Royal Pigeon Racing Association advises to give the bird seeds or crushed cornflakes and some water...
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Summer Feeding - True or False?

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“You shouldn’t feed the birds in the Summer” Is this True or False, well actually its false as in the Summer the birds are usually feeding young and a regular supply of bird food ensures that the birds in our gardens are healthy and the next generation is getting the best possible start too! Breeding and egg laying can take over half of the female bird’s energy and they often moult at this time of year too. The migrating birds need sufficient fat reserves, built up during the summer months to see them through successful migration to their winter feeding grounds in Africa & other countries. Winter feeding is obviously important as natural feedstuff is usually in short supply and the colder temperatures make it more difficult for survival, but it is now acknowledged that supplementing natural foodstuffs for the birds all year round is considered the best option. Should...
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Baby Boom

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Those of you who feed the birds, and thankfully there are many of us, will have noticed that your feeders are being emptied more quickly and that there are more smaller birds visiting your feeders and bird tables too. This is the time of year that our garden birds have juveniles which are ready to leave the nests; they are able to fly for short distances and are shown where the best food sources are by their parents, which is usually our garden bird tables and feeders. We have noticed some small balls of fluff, identified as baby blue tits waiting patiently near the feeders and watching carefully what mum and dad are showing them. As these youngsters are easy prey until they get older and wiser, and hopefully they will live to get older there are a few ways in which we can help them without too much trouble...
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Take Cover

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I know Winter seems like a long way away but as farmers we have to make preparations for crops sometimes years in advance, crop rotation (remember that from school history lessons, the Agricultural Revolution, Jethro Tull & all that) is a real thing and we really need to know what we will be growing in which field in years to come. We try to do our bit for wildlife and the birds, we fed tons of Wild Bird food during the snow and most of the Winter down our fields to keep the hedgerow birds fed and healthy as well as filling our bird feeders in our garden, it’s just bird feeding, but on a much larger scale. This year we are planting some crops that won’t be harvested so that the birds have food for the winter and they can feed themselves, this cover crop also provides the birds...
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Did you know?

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Did you Know? There are lots of things that I am sure you don’t know about our farm, business or bird foods, maybe you don’t want to know , but I thought that I’d share some of them with you all, you might be pleasantly surprised! Did you know that the Hogg family have farmed at Stickley Farm for over 180 years and we took over Laverock Hall Farm in the 1980’s where our shop is located but all of the farming, wholesaling, manufacturing, bagging and office work takes place at Stickley Farm which is where we live? Did you know that we grow some of the crops that we use in our Pigeon corns and hen foods, plus some wild bird foods here on our own farms, including wheat, oilseed rape. Tic beans, barley and we are even growing some buckwheat this year and have grown millet, linseed and...
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Spring News from the Farm

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Hopefully the weather is as nice for you reading this as it is for us here on the farm with temperatures almost at 20 degrees today. We have had some rain overnight the last few days which has helped the ground to soften as as it seems like concrete, Those of you who are attempting to plant in your gardens will know exactly what I mean, the poor seedlings are struggling to break through so any moisture is a help, although we don't wish to revert back to the wet awful winter weather that we have just endured. We are busy here on the farm, we have planted all of the Spring crops and are busy fertilising at the moment and will be starting with hay and haylage soon too, so there is much to keep us busy in the fields as well as in the warehouse where we make...
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RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results 2018

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We all remember the Beast from the East, the snow that visited us early in March and then repeated its visit a couple of weeks later.  Now we seem to be plagued by torrential rain and cold weather so that Spring feels far away still, but hopefully this weekend will see an upturn in temperatures for the whole of the UK. The RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch seems such a long time ago after all of our extreme weather since then, but, trumpet fanfare, the results are in......pause for effect,  More than 420,000 people completed the count and 6.7 million birds were recorded.  Its good news for the blue tit (pictured) as their numbers are up by 5% but the winner seems to be the goldfinch with recorded numbers up by 11%. The long tailed tit and coal tit are also up in numbers, perhaps helped by the milder temperatures...
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The Beast from the East

Well it has finally arrived , the snow is here, the news is full of weather pictures and we are inundated with reports that there is much more snow to come.  The fields, gardens and roads are covered and there seems to be disruption throughout the whole country due to this freezing weather. Hopefully you are reading this in your lovely warm , centrally heated house and well stocked up with lots of warming foods, after all this weather has been forecast for some time.  The Beast from the East is a Polar Vortex with weather coming straight from Russia coming in on Easterly Winds.  We can be prepared but how well prepared are the birds in our gardens? Most of us are really generous and do put food out for the birds but did you know that fresh water is also important, I know its not easy to put...
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