Plant-Pot Dog

I know I am a sheepdog
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but I am going to practise on plant pots
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or, if pushed, yoghurt pots
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Hedgehog report

With the national hedgehog population declining we have worked on ways to help it out at Gribin Isaf. Feeding of course, but also caring for the late-born youngsters who have not put down sufficient fat to survive a winter hibernation.

After various ad hoc arrangements in the past, last Autumn we insulated a shed, put in tube heaters and successfully brought seven individuals through the winter for a Spring release.

The drought conditions this summer have made things very hard for hedgehogs. The hard dry ground has made their natural food supply difficult to find.

Back in early July we found this hedgehog
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underweight and dehydrated. We took it into care and it quickly put on weight.

We realised we had a hedgehog hotel with spare capacity so did let the local vets know that we could take on cases that were brought to them.

So last week we had a call and brought this home
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weighing in at just 137g

It proved to be a feisty youngster, nipping the hand that fed it. Fortunately it was just about past the stage where it would need feeding through the night so four-hourly daytime feeds quickly helped it gain weight:

Tuesday – 137g
Wednesday – 153g
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Thursday – 183g
Friday – 197g
Saturday – 200g
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Very nearly a 50% increase in five days

In addition this hedgehog gave us the first exhibition of self-anointing we have ever seen.

Hatching joys and woes

Over a month ago Cagney, our one and only Muscovy duck, went broody. At first we ignored her but after a while decided to let her have a go. Unfortunately she then stopped laying so was only sitting on two eggs. In order to give her more of a clutch we added some Cayuga eggs.

Muscovies are said to be good mothers and Cagney has been a conscientious sitter, just getting up twice a day for a wash and brush up. This is made more impressive by the fact that this breed have an incubation period of 35 days, as opposed to 28 for other ducks.

Three days ago there was a sign
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and further investigation showed a Muscovy hatchling
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We monitored the other eggs without much hope for the Cayugas as they were actually due several days later. Another egg was pipping, not the other Muscovy but indeed one of the Cayugas. It did not emerge easily – this breed seems to have very tough shells. We helped on three occasions and it took two days for it to get rid of its shell
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So Cagney has got an odd couple
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She is teaching drinking
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and swimming
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The Cayuga is not too sure
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and tries swimming in the food bowl
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Cagney’s other eggs have gone into the incubator just in case. This lot have just vacated that facility
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Some bought in eggs – five out of six Marans hatching and a couple of Speckled Sussex.

We did have Jenny the broody hen also sitting on eggs but after messing around for several weeks she finally gave up
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making it clear what she thought of her eggs
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Winners and Losers

No rain for at least two months and it feels as if we are surrounded by death and destruction. So what is doing well?

Insect (and spider) life seems ok
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We have heard grasshoppers in our meadow for the first time and it is nice to see Large White
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and Small White
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caterpillars enjoying themselves in the polytunnel
As, in any conditions, all polytunnel water is provided by us we can take credit for these swellings
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but somehow the Runner Beans are sucking up something to start their crop
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Having constructed a state of the art Autumn Juvenile Hedgehog Care Home last year we have let it be known we can accommodate the young hogs that are definitely losers in the drought. Today we have a referral from the vets
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an active yougster
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Two days into her trial, Jess reckons she will be a winner
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Plus, the landing pad is progressing
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On trial

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1
good

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2
good

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3
ok

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not sure

A space to watch:
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work here is producing some welcome greens, which Dinah manages to enjoy while wallowing at the same time
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Lunch today
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includes our own bacon, radish, turnip, salad leaves, tomatoes, courgette

washed down with this years vintage
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Meanwhile, on the opposite hillside, work to eradicate all signs of old hedge lines
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Butterflies seem to be one of the few beneficiaries from the current drought. Happily we have lots of salad leaves available for the Small White caterpillars
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Since the fish moved into the polytunnel
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they have been demanding various devices that require power
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so we are developing A System
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Plus

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