Alison Thomas

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since Jul 22, 2009
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Recent posts by Alison Thomas

David Miller wrote:A great deal of the difference here is that most of us planting comfrey under our fruit trees are practicing chop and drop while Mr Hills was researching comfrey as a fodder crop like we think of with hay. Sure comfrey would rob a fruit tree blind of all nutrients if we haul the veg matter it produces off site, but if we use it to mulch the fruit tree we get both its mined minerals and its weed blocking mulch property.

David, thank you for posting.... When I read John's post I immediately thought "Oh no, now I'll have to dig the comfrey up" but happily you posted and now maybe I can leave them. I do however think I'll need to change my management of them - I intended to chop n drop but the bees so loved the flowers that I've left them to maturity - whoops. I'll dig up some and put them elsewhere for the bees, then chop n drop the ones I leave under the trees.
10 years ago

Janet McNally wrote:

If the grain overload is not promptly and properly treated, and if it is severe enough, the animal will slowly starve to death over the course of the next two weeks, because it can no longer digest any food.

Thanks Janet, that's really useful information. And this last part that I quoted I hadn't realised, that the condition lingers on causing starvation! Scary! My goats escaped last week for the first time in more than a year and one found the grain bucket (which ALWAYS has a lid on because I normally feed them but once, just once, my husband did the feed and left the lid off). However, she was sorely disappointed as I found them within minutes - they made such a noise. Phew.
10 years ago
I just love that little bridge/ramp that you've put in for the ducks

Sadly IME our ducks have eaten every water plant that's ever been in the water. The water lillies survived one season but there's no sign of them this year. Perhaps someone else will come up with a suggestion.

However, I'm wondering about a few other things -
If the ducks are flicking about in the water, won't that be enough to oxygenate the water?
The water will be moving quite a bit with the ducks in it - mosquitoes like still water so they may not lay their eggs in the bath anyway.
Won't the ducks eat any larvae - I reckon ours do as we don't have a mosquito issue here atall.
Will the ducks eat the fish?
10 years ago
Hi Dawn and welcome aboard. I'm afraid that I don't know the stocking rate for sheep but I think a lot would depend on the type/quality of pasture available. I'm guessing that it gets quite parched in the south of Spain around now? Here we have 11 sheep on about 3 acres (but we can move them to other areas if need be. This we manage on a rotation basis with small 1/4 acre paddocks within the big area - they trim it down, we move them on, until they've been right round.

There's a breed of sheep called a Basco Bernaise that is in the south of France/ north of Spain. I don't know if that would be an option for you in the south. They are awfully cute. Irene Knightley on here has some so if she drops in maybe she'll advise.

Other than that, hopefully other 'sheepy' people will contribute.

Good luck.
10 years ago
I stressed about this LOTS last winter as the temperatures dropped. They did the same as yours so I just had to give up and leave them to their own devices. The pond area is fenced though not fox or rat proof. The Muscovies would rather fly out of the fenced area and perch on a roof or under a shrub. The other ducks sleep on the banks but go into the water if alarmed at something. They have islands in the pond but rarely use them. We have Muscovies, Pekins and Indian Runners. Good luck, I think ducks teach one to be chilled out!!!
11 years ago
Oh definitely on the fence bit. We thought we had good fences until the goats arrived!!! If there's a weak point they'll find it. Plus they stand on horizontals and break them off so we've tried to repair with verticals and then have put an electric wire just inside it to try to discourage climbing. But there only has to be a momentary blip in the current and the goats will know about it and escape to the sweet chestnut lane - hey, they're SO cute.

We have 9 French Alpines with 4 does pregnant I reckon. Kids due to start arriving in about 4 weeks. They are good milkers and good brush clearers. Don't know about meat as we haven't crossed that bridge yet as I love them so much - however we have 3 intact bucks and that's two too many.
11 years ago

Devon Olsen wrote:

do ponds that have ducks in them appear to be cleaner or clearer water than ponds that dont? or does it seem more murky?
assuming boht ponds have plenty of plant growth covering every bit before ducks are introduced?

it just seems like everyones experience is that they devour water plants and such quite readily so i wonder if you had a bunch of plants in the pond before the ducks if you could expect them to be gone after teh ducks or just reduced in numbers or controlled?

Well my pond definitely is murkier. As for plants, I was worried about that before getting ducks as I have some lovely water lillies and grasses/sedges. However, last summer the water lillies were the best they've ever been and there were 10 ducks foraging around there full-time (as well as across 2.5 acres free-range). The grasses suffer a nibbling evry now and then but they come back good and strong.
11 years ago
What brilliant news and thanks for finding the paper Kari. Yes scotch thistle is indeed canadian thistle, sometimes called creeping thistle. Right, my goats need to be moved this summer into the south field.
11 years ago
Oh Lauren that's so sad. It's awful when that happens. I think you did wonderfully well and at least he slipped away in peace in the warm rather than out in the field undergoing stress. I don't think you could have done much more.

I had a doe reject her baby at birth two years ago. It took two weeks of doing bucking bronco every two hours round the clock with her to get her to allow her little one to feed. Now they have a really strong bond. But we were lucky that she had just the one kid.

May he rest in peace.
11 years ago
Guy, sounds like you've thought it all through and that they've got what they need. Lucky you to have a stream. Have a good holiday.
11 years ago