Witterings from Gerogery West

By Roger Findlay, Gerogery West

Before I left for a brief holiday in Hobart early in January I had the challenging job of preventing our chickens from entering our neighbour’s property. They have a nice garden with lots of attractive features for a speckled hen to re-arrange!

After purchasing the materials, we proceeded with the job on a 39 degree day and completed the supposed secure area several hours later. Fine (I thought); but the next morning one of our hens pranced past the kitchen window without a care in the world. Wing clipping sprung to mind and, after a brief YouTube lesson, we set about the task only to find that all of the birds except for one already had one wing clipped. The escapee hasn’t re-offended since and all is well on both sides of the fence.

Tasmania is experiencing a long, dry spell and it remained that way during my visit. During this time, the heavens had broken in Gerogery West and surrounds with a total of 48mm falling in a few days. We have many chestnut trees and it’s essential that they get a good drink during January and February so that the nuts reach size for harvest by late March to May depending on variety.

The rains have created ideal conditions for slugs and snails. You don’t see them in the day but you do see lots of holes in your greens! Maybe you prefer to give them a drink of beer as a reward or do what we do which is often nothing!

I saw some tasty looking Pekin ducks hanging in the window of a Footscray restaurant and it reminded me that I need to despatch one or two of our Pekin drakes. Rape is the only word I can use to describe how they treat the ladies and I won’t feel bad reducing the numbers of these wonderful meat birds to relieve the oppression.

Damara sheep are an ideal breed for the hobby farmer and they go well on poor pasture like mine. However, I have been feeding a hay and grain supplement for several weeks now to maintain condition prior to slaughter. Many farming types say that you can’t eat a ram due to the gamey flavour but if you asked a Middle-Eastern person the advice would be the opposite. Would you eat a young ram? I would.