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Whats going on down on the Farm?

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From the farm....

Sticks & Storms

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The weather has been rather blustery here today on the farm, the remnants of #StormGareth mean that the farmyard mud has dried up but there are branches from the trees everywhere, young Walter is thrilled as he loves a stick and to prevent any accidents, he has been trained to bring them to mum in exchange for a gravy bone. This system seems to work very well, and he is now systematically clearing all sticks from our front garden when he is let out for a wee, a massive task but we are getting there, and it also helps with his training too. The farm is quiet apart from putting fertiliser on the Winter crops, but we have been very busy in our bagging shed. Our newest ranges of caged bird feeds have been very well received and we have had to make several batches to keep up with the demand,...
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Birds go Wild for our Food

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Chris has been making more of our Laverock No Waste Wild Bird Food today - the one that the seeds are coated in Aniseed Oil, lots of you comment on this food and it is one of the first ones we made and is still just as popular with our customers today,  as the birds just keep coming back and back to the feeders. It has some great high energy ingredients including sunflower hearts, safflower, groats plus cut maize, Niger seed & canary seed, cut maize & more. We call this our No Waste bird food as all of the seeds are without shells so there should be no waste in your garden. People have confused this by thinking that the seeds are no mess, ie. the seeds won't grow in the garden if they drop. For this to be the case they would have to be heat treated, sort of...
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Has Spring Sprung?

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What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time we were battling the Beast from the East which lasted about 2 weeks, we were blocked in here as the snow was just drifting across our road and as it was blowing directly from the coast the snowploughs just couldn’t keep it clear and safe. The drifts were above the hedges and the landscape looked very pretty but oh so cold and rather dangerous too. We braved the snow in the 4x4 pickup to feed the birds down the fields and I tried to video it but the wind was blowing so strongly it was almost impossible. The birds flocked from all over where they had been seeking shelter in the hedges and I’m sure they were almost starving poor things. Chris walked and poured bird food from the bags & the birds just swooped in almost over his head...
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Woodland update

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Chris and I visited our new pond and woodland today, the pond has filled nicely, the deer fence is up, and the trees are now being planted so there is major progress for our farm project so I thought I'd share it with you on this lovely day. It was such a lovely uplifting morning to visit the site, the sun was shining, the dogs had a great walk and sniff of the hedgerows, and the lovely birds were singing, it was almost deafening! I saw my first skylark, ok Chris pointed it out to me, and I heard it singing as it flew past otherwise, I wouldn’t have known what it was, but hey, now I do. The site looks huge, it covers almost ten acres, so it is going to be a substantial woodland for a bird and wildlife haven on our farm, it’s been a few years in...
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National Nest Box Week

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Hot on the heels of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is the National Nest Box Week.  This runs from 14 th -21 st February, as traditionally wild birds pair up on Valentine’s day. We’re not suggesting that you buy your loved one a Nest Box instead of a Valentine’s gift or card, but it certainly could be a lovely long- lasting gift and might be just the best most unusual gift you could give if you’re sure that it would be well received. We might think it’s cold and wintry outside, but the birds are thinking about pairing up and finding the best place to set up home for the breeding season, which is where the Nest Box comes in. National Nest Box Week was set up by the British Trust for Ornithology or BTO about ten years ago and is now firmly established on the Bird Watching calendar. This is...
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Watch the Birdies

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We’ve been asked on several occasions as to why we don’t have small caged bird food in our Laverock Hall range of bird foods, and we can happily say that as of today we do now. Chris has worked closely with a locally well-known bird breeder and they have come up with a range of three new caged bird foods. These are Mixed Canary Food, Mixed Budgie Seed and Mixed Finch Food. They are a great addition to our Laverock range of bird foods and hopefully they will be well received by the caged bird breeders and by people who keep birds as a hobby too. They contain a good variety of seeds to suit most caged birds and are of the highest quality, so you can be assured that your birds are getting the very best food. The new mixes are packed in 5kg bags and 15kg bags, so they...
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RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2019

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The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch takes place 26-28 th January this year. It’s the biggest survey of birds in the UK as over half a million people take part. The data is important as the survey has been going for the last 40 years so when it is all collated it can be used to compare year on year information about trends in species plus it’s a snapshot of bird numbers across the UK so is comprehensive and is most important in helping spot problems and can be the first step to help to protect certain species. The big garden Birdwatch was started in 1979, but it wasn’t until Blue Peter featured this in a programme that it totally took off, although adults weren’t invited to join in until 2001. If you wish to join in with the Big Garden Birdwatch it couldn’t be simpler. Firstly, you need to find a...
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Veganuary

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  Dry January began a few years back in 2015 and is a great way of keeping healthy after a, perhaps, boozy festive period! This year a few official bodies have been encouraging ‘Veganuary’ to ask people to try and be vegan for one month. This may not be our cup of tea down on the farm, but one initiative we can get behind is the vegan mentality of looking out for the great outdoors and the wildlife within it – is the Laverock Hall lifestyle becoming fashionable? As some of you may know, myself and Chris are often spotted down fields and hedgerows spilling bird foods around in the cold weather to make sure our feathered friends are eating well, and to check up on our prickly friends and those with fluffy tails! Venganuary might be quite a tough challenge to keep up, and it might be a large lifestyle...
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Back to Normal

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Phew, welcome to 2019. Let’s hope that you all had a lovely Xmas and New Year and that all is back to normal in your households. We had a lovely rest, enjoyed spending time with friends and family, walked the dogs and generally recharged our batteries ready for the challenges of 2019. Our shop has reopened today and is fully stocked up, we are back in full production making our hen corns, pigeon foods and wild bird foods, ready for you to give your birds the best possible nutrition at prices that make you happy too. We have been interviewed for a farming magazine with Robyn, our youngest daughter. The magazine was initially interested in her story about how she coped with her epilepsy while living on a farm with the related challenges of not being able to drive etc, but they also interviewed Chris and me about our Bird food...
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Cover Girl

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What a lovely surprise to find out that Robyn is the cover photo for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution’s Winter edition of their magazine, using the photo I took on my iPhone.  It was taken outside our house when we took some pictures to promote our Wild Bird Food & for a bit of a laugh before she went back to University for her 3 rd Year. The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) is a long-standing agricultural charity and the work they do, without shouting about it at all, is amazing. It’s mainly used to support the countryside, farmers and their families as well as all things rural. We needed them to confirm that Robyn lives in a rural location and isn’t able to drive to support her application for her Personal Independence Payments for her epilepsy.  This money isn’t a lot, but as we don’t live on any bus routes...
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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 feed,...
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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 you...
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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 pigeons...
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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 by...
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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 his...
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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 spelling...
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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), Alder,...
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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 too,...
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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 sizes,...
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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 ingredients...
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