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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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National Nest Box Week 14-21st February

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National Nest Box week starts on Valentine's day, the 14th February.   This is traditionally the day that not only people are romantic but it is also the day that apparently birds pair up too.   Nest boxes can be a great idea &  there are many on the market or you can make a simple one yourself.  Due to modern living there are less spaces available for smaller birds to nest, such as old garden sheds, or old trees.  Sparrows have seen a decline in their numbers as apparently modern house roof spaces saren't suitable for sparrows to nest & so many of the woodland areas have been built on or tidied up.  Hopefully a breeding pair of birds will make their home in your nest box & then breed & lay eggs & hatch their young successfully.  Some of our customers have web cams in their nest boxes and enjoy...
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Big Garden Birdwatch 2018

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Are you taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch this year. It takes place from 27-29th Jan in your very own garden or even the local park. The RSPB ask that during these dates we monitor all birds that you see for an hour in your chosen space. Make a cup of tea, pick a comfy chair, turn off your phone, unless its to take photos and record the birds that you see for that specified hour, and hopefully you will have an enjoyable hour watching .They have asked that you record the maximum number of species that you see within that hour so for example if you see two blue tits then see two more - they may be the same ones so please record that you have seen two blue tits. They have then asked that you record your sightings on their website after your hour. This can...
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New Year, Updated Website, Post Free on orders over £60

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With the continued support from our friends at Gingerweb, who always patiently go that extra mile, we have finally updated our website.  We have added some new products and little add on's that you can put into your shopping basket and we will be able to add them to your order post free! We have managed to keep prices as low as we can but the great news is we have been able to reduce postage costs and can offer FREE POSTAGE on orders over £60.  The new products we have added include, a small pack of 6 fat balls at £1, a suet block, coconut half and single large fat ball , all at £1 when you purchase other items, such as a bag of Wild Bird food.  We will simply pop these items into the Bag of Wild Bird food and they will all be delivered as one...
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Bird Table Envy

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Do you suffer from Bird Table Envy?, Is there such a thing as Bird Table Envy?.  I honestly did not think such a thing existed until I saw this photo of a bird table and felt I had to share the photo with you all. This is not my bird table, but I think over the coming months I will be attempting to copy some of the features shown here to create a veritable feast for the birds in our garden.  We are visited by many birds of all shapes and sizes, including house sparrows, tree sparrows, blue tits, long tailed tits, bullfinches, goldfinches and our old favourite mega pigeon, the pigeon so large he has his own postcode! I usually put out an array of our best selling Laverock Hall High Energy Bird food, plus sunflower hearts and a small Niger feeder for the finches, but this photo has...
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Friday the 13th - Spooky or spectacular?

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Well it always comes doesn't it?, Friday the 13th and love it or loathe it there is no escaping it, its here and we all just have to get on with it. So why is it so feared? Apparently the sixth day of the week (Friday) and the number 13 are considered unlucky , so to combine them you have double trouble, or so it was thought. Friday was also the day that traditionally executions took place so it was considered to be most unlucky and also called Hangman's Day. The number 13 is also associated with the Last Supper and as Judas the traitor was the 13th person so the superstition continues, and it is not just in the Christian faith , Hindus also consider a gathering of 13 to be unlucky too so the number 13 seems to be an issue with many faiths and religions. In fact...
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#BackBritishFarmingDay

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Every day seems to be a listed day for #National Wear a Hat day, or #National Rice Pudding Day (August 9th in America if you're interested) , but today is #BackBritishFarmingDay and that is a bit more relevant to ourselves. First and foremost we are farmers and have been on both sides of the family for generations so you could say farming is in our blood. Certainly it seems to be continuing with two of our children doing Agriculture related subjects at University, but who knows what the future holds for farmers everywhere. I thought I would share a few interesting facts with yourselves about British farming, please forgive me if you already know them, but they certainly surprised me when I read them this morning. Did you know that for every £1 invested in farm support, farming delivers £7.40 back to the economy?, no, neither did I. Farming plays...
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Small Straw Bales in a Soggy September

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Its a very dark ,soggy September day here on the farm, We have had four lovely weeks of dry weather, it has been dry for so long that this morning our Vizsla puppy, Frank, refused to go out in the rain until he was absolutely desperate, I think he had forgotten all about what rain was. He's in for a nasty surprise soon with the Winter weather just around the corner. The wonderful dry spell has enabed us to get the wheat and barley combined , the fields cleared of straw and a lot of ploughing started too. We only have one field of oats left to cut which wasn't ready yeaterday, plus the beans then we are all finished harvesting for this year. Its then time to sow the Winter seeds after the fields have been ploughed, cultivated and a good seed bed prepared so the crops get the...
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Now you see him now you don't

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We are so fortunate to live in this part of the UK where it is still possible to occasionally see Red Squirrels, we even had one in our garden last year and I managed a very quick snap of him/her from the kitchen window. I was shaking so much with excitement I am surprised it was possible to see the squirrel on the photo at all. I did share it on our facebook page and in a blog post last year. A friend of ours who lives on a neighbouring farm has been helping with the local Red Squirrel group and has managed to take some amazing photos of squirrels and other local wildlife. Take a look at his work on his website. https://www.leonsavagephotography.co.uk We are in the process of creating a specific squirrel mix because we are asked more and more for Squirrel Food as many customers have spotted...
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Sunshine & Showers

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What a mixed bag of weather we seem to be having this Summer. We got really high temperatures during the growing season for most of our plants, then extreme rain when we were trying to make hay and now we seem to have a combination of the two, although it doesn't seem to dry up before it manages to rain again. Even the tennis at Wimbledon have experienced our Northern weather - sunshine and showers which are totally unpredictable, and forcing us to take an umbrella , even on a seemingly sunny day. The activity on the bird feeders seems to have slowed down a little bit from last month, the young fledgings seem to be managing to use our feeders themselves, without their parents flying backwards and forwards to the feeders and the nest. We had a lovely sight of three young sparrows feeding at our bird table a...
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Carry on carrying on

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I am sure that we have all been shocked at the tragic news from Manchester this week, the images will stay with many of us for a very long time. We are assured that we must carry on regardless and I think that we can take a cue from nature with this. Nature does not suffer from terror attacks but it can be really harsh and terrible with devestating consequences for those involved. We have seen floods which must have wiped out rabbit burrows or flooded nests of baby birds, droughts where birds have dropped with exhaustion due to heatwaves and no access to water, plus much more. Those rabbits and birds just carry on and dig another burrow or build another nest and try again and carry on. The birdsong in our garden has been positively deafening this week , the garden has finally burst into life after a...
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Feed One Feed All

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This is a picture of our Robin & Songbird Mix of Wild Bird Food. Looks exciting doesn't it? Well I'm sure if you were a Robin or a Songbird it would be just the diet for you so I'm not surprised if you're none too impressed with the photo of plump juicy raisins, suet pellets, chopped peanuts,groats, sunflower hearts, pinhead oatmeal, mealworms and cut maize. I know it looks like a luxury muesli but trust me it is meant for Robins & Songbirds, or is it? Since I have been putting this food out we have had even more variety of birds at the feeders and bird table so I am asking customers and blog readers not to be fooled by labels, this really is a feed all bird food, not just as it says on the label. We have had chaffinches, bullfinches, pigeons, pheasants, blue tits, great tits and...
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Nesting and a Feeding Frenzy

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I don't know how busy your garden is but ours is alive with noise and the feeders are busy all of the daylight hours at the moment. Filling them is a must do job every morning, as well as filling the bird bath too. We have had numerous visitors to the sunflower heart feeders which are nearest to the kitchen window but all of the feeders down the garden have had an array of visitors. Its not easy to capture them with the camera as they are really timid but I was impressed with my photo of these lovely goldfinches.  We have had bullfinches, blue tits, long tailed tits, and I'm sure I even saw a chiffchaff earlier this month. The dry weather has been such a bonus to us here on the farm, enabling the spring crops to be sown and the spraying and fertilizing to be completed way...
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Has Spring Sprung?

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Another dry, sunny and pleasant day today but is this Spring or will the weather turn cold again?  The forecasters would have us believe that we are due cold wet weather and possibly even snow but the activity in the garden makes me think that Spring is already here. The birdsong is so loud from that I am convinved that our feathered friends seem to think that better weather is here to stay and its time for nest building, the feeders are being emptied daily rather than every two days so we are feeding more birds and they seem to be in rather a frenzy to get Spring underway. We are feeding Laverock Hall High Energy Bird food in our feeders at the minute to give the birds a Spring energy boost and they seem to be thoroughly enjoying this feed after feeding them no wheat and no waste bird...
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National Nestbox Week 14-21 February

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Now is a great time to put a nest box in your garden as some types of birds , such as blue tits, start to look for nest sites as early as February so you could be receiving visitors very soon to your new box. National Nestbox week takes place from 14-21 February and people are being encouraged to put up a nestbox in their garden or outside space if at all possible. The main reason for this is that natural sites that birds would more usually nest in are disappearing as people tidy their gardens or knock down old outhouses where birds might have nested and they have less and less places to safely nest and breed. If at all possible your nestbox should be facing North, to avoid blustery wet weather and bright direct sunlight, both of which could impair the survival of the feathered inhabitants, your nest...
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New Year and Frank

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Happy New Year to all of our customers and Blog readers. Here's hoping that 2017 is a great year for us all. Ours got off to an unusual start as Frank arrived between Christmas and New Year. He is a Hungarian Vizsla and is nine weeks old and has taken over our lives and hearts already. We already had Stanley, our 12 year old Border Terrier and we have always had at least two dogs at any one time. When our last dog Marjorie died suddenly at 3 years old we were heartbroken and it has taken a long time before I would agree to have another dog. Many years ago we had a Hungarian Vizsla, Barry, who was absolutely wonderful even if he was 'slow to mature', and we always said that if we had the chance we would love to own another one. Frank has arrived and my...
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Avian Flu - what can we do?

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There has been lots on the news in the past couple of days abput Avain Flu and I thought I would clarify a few points as to how it affects poultry keepers in the UK. Poultry keepers in England have been told to keep their birds inside for 30 days to protect them from a highly infectious strain of Avian Flu in Europe.  The H5N8 bird flu strain has been found in poultry and wild birds in 14 countries including Germany and France.  Please do NOT panic - the risk to humans is very low and NO Uk cases have been found up to now.  These measures are precationary but still very importnat and according to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) they apply to both farmers and hobby chicken keepers alike. The main thing that we as chicken keepers can do is to keep the chickens inside...
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