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The LaverockHall Farm Blog

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

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 roundabouts...
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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 cutting...
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Help for racing pigeons in the hot weather

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 in...
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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 we...
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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 to...
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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 with...
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Did you know?

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Laverock hall farm logo
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 tares...
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Spring News from the Farm

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 the...
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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 before...
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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 out...
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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 their...
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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 be...
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New Year, Updated Website, Post Free on orders over £60

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 package....
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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 given...
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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 fear...
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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 an...
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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 best...
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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. 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 squirrels...
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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 couple...
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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 few...
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