Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Smurf the Unicorn

It's been challenging but I've been working with a Unicorn this week. He's been easy to catch and lead into his stable but has yet mastered flying but we have plenty of time to work on that.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

New Job! "Relief Stockman and Dairy Worker"

I've just had an email to say they'll offer me a job on the Uni farms as a Relief Stockman and Dairy Worker!

Most of the work will be Lambing before and during Easter but they'll also try and get me some Dairy work which would be really good. I want to try and get more experience on the Quad and Tractors - quad is easy but have only really driven the old tractor at the dairy farm to scrape out the yard. Would be good to get more experience, especially when we'll be applying for jobs once graduated this Summer.

The application form says it will "involve assistance with weekend checking and feeding of sheep, assistance with lambing, assistance in the milking rotas or with calf rearing activities."
Cody also got the job so I guess it helped that they knew us from Lambing the past 2 years!

Looking forward to starting it next year!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Uni Farm Work - Interview

I went for my interview for the Relief Stockman and Dairy Workers job at the Uni farm this morning and think it went quite well!

There were a panel of 3 people interviewing, the head of the whole Department and Uni Farms, the Farms Manager (who I know from Lambing) and our Course Director, so they kind of knew me when I went in.

Then asked about my CV and experienced, asked questions about what I'd do in particular situations etc.
I said I didn't have much experience driving a tractor but am really keen to learn, which they said is something they'd be able to help with.

They were also asking about what hours/days I could do, whether term-time or vacations (both) and if I had a car to get there.
Milking will start at 5am so I'd have to be up at 4am!

Hopefully hear sooooon

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lunge lessons with Lady

We've been back with Lady the Welsh D today and changed from long reigning to lunging.
It's been a learning curve for both Lady and me - neither of us have lunged before and I think we did pretty well!
She took quite a bit of encouragement to get her walking and it took me a few goes to get the timing ring without ending up halfway across the field but eventually we got the hang of it and she was starting to listen to me with walk, trot and stop.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dairy Placement in Aberystwyth

I thought I needed to do some more work experience in Aber this year.
I've started helping to back and break in 2 young horses and thought Milking would be a really good idea.
Lambing in great and love doing it but its only 6-8 weeks of the year so thought we could do Milking a couple of days a week before or after lectures so would be good experience and doesn't get in the way of Uni work like Lambing can.

Now the hard part was finding a placement!
Uni built a new Rotary Dairy parlour near Trawscoed last year but when I asked we didn't get very far trying to get a placement there. I don't know any local dairy farmers so asked around and didn't really find anyone so went back to the Uni farm...

After a few emails and speaking to the Farms Manager they decided they were looking for relief milkers and stockmen. To apply for the job we needed to hand in a CV and fill out a 10 page application form!

Anyway, I handed it in yesterday and now we wait!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Work on the Uni farm?

I've been looking for Dairy work in Aber for ages, and Uni have just built a massive new rotary milking parlour for a few hundred cows so would be really good to work there.

I emailed the Farms Manager asking about work and work experience etc but haven't had a reply. They've just opened up a Vacancy on the Uni farms looking for Relief Stockmen and Dairy Workers, I says is for experienced people only and looks really good.
I meet the Essential Criteria and most of the Desired (I don't have Tractor driving experience - but willing to learn!). I've worked on the Uni farms for the last 2 years doing Lambing so that should help too

Will apply and see what happens! :)

Uni 3rd Year

Can't believe I'm in the 3rd year of my Animal Science degree already!

We've started lectures, had meetings about my Dissertation (booked a lab induction and have a hand in date for it!) and got practical dates.
They're mainly lab practically and no dissections which I think is the best bit but they're left to first years!

Have been trying to get some more work experience in Aber - Lambing is good but it's only 6/8 weeks of the year so thought Milking might be a good idea. Either one or a couple of mornings milking a week and could do more/less depending in timetables and exams.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Newcomer in Fancy Fowl magazine

Grant Brereton, editor of Fancy Fowl asked me to write an article as 'The Newcomer' about Poultry Showing for Beginners and I was in Septembers issue!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kilo is all grown up

I went to see Kilo my pet sheep earlier and he's all grown up now!

He lives with a couple of Pygmy goats, Dave and Wendy, a few other sheep and some chickens and is living the life of Riley.
We had a BBQ at the field and he came and sat at our feet, probably waiting for food, for a good few hours while we chatted away!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ex Battery Hens; Then and Now

Took a couple photos of the Ex Batt girls earlier and realised how much they've changed since I got them from the BHWT.
They were from the last batch of hens rescued from the old-style battery cages in December '11.

First there is Tracy Beaker with her twisted beak. She took a few weeks to start eating properly but copes ok now and has feathered up really well!
Then there is Justine, the friendliest and cheekiest one of them all! She's the only one to escape their Free Range area to come to our bit of the garden and see what's going on. She's feathered up really well compared to what she was but still hasn't moulted her wing feathers so they're still bare quills.
With the rest of the flock...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Callum my bosses son was annoying me as I was mucking out the stables earlier so I've found the perfect way of keeping him quiet...

...I think I should stick to working with animals!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I've been working with Camels all week and over the Jubilee weekend. It's been a completely different placement to anything I've done before but had great fun doing it.
I've been with Joseph's Amazing Camels in Warwick who have Dromedary (one hump) and Bactrian (two humped) camels which are used in film and TV as well as at public events for camel racing, trekking and camel polo.

I have some experience with horses so knew how to put on head collars and tack up a horse but camel tack was completely different so that was a learning curve! The Dromedary saddle sits over the hump while the Bactrian saddle sits between them; the saddles we use have been imported from the Far East as there is a limited market in the UK! They have all sorts of props and costumes to go on their halters and saddles depending on the theme of the event.
The camels knew I'm new so really tested me, trying to intimidate and growl at me but Joseph said to act confident and they soon calmed down. We gave them a bath last night before putting them to bed in their clean stables and I narrowly avoided getting spat at!

Today we went to Bolesworth Classic - a big showjumping event. The camels raced in the main arena with our jockeys doing some showjumping before the famous jockeys and main show sponsors got on and had a go racing.

Oliver Townend and Dave Quigley on the camels:
Donald Whitaker on Kazak:

and Geoff Billington even had a go!
I have been staying with Joseph & Rebecca and their family have a cottage which they rent out so I have been staying in that for just over a week, working in the days and eating with the family of an evening.
In the past, before the camels, Joe & Rebecca kept lions for a circus and told me all sorts of stories about them, their training and the places the visit which was fascinating. They gave them up over 10 years ago before their children came along.

Last weekend we went to a festival in Aberdare (Wales) and took their team of Racing Pigs. I had the glamorous job of dressing up as a typical West Country farmer to start the pigs off and run behind them to stop them going the wrong way.
Also at the festival were Dick & Dom and entertainment from X Factor contestants, Only Men Aloud and other local acts!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Meet Hagrid

The chicks at Uni have hatched but one one Frizzle hatched with the quail and he's massive compared to them so he's been named Hagrid:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Meet Dr Chicken

I picked up the nickname Dr Chicken from regular customers at work as they'd bring chickens in with various ailments and we'd sort them out and I was asked to write an article for the June issue of Your Chickens magazine and here it is...

Have had lots of tweets and messages saying people like it, so hope they do!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Possum social

I think I've found a great idea for our next Animal Science social;

A game called Possum:

Obsessed with hatching!

I've gone from broody to obsessed!

I thought about setting a few quail eggs in my incy at Uni, got a bit carried away and bought 40 eggs from a breeder and another 36 from the Organic shop on my street who said they are fertile - they're due on the 21st May, my brothers birthday. Because of that and already having 12 bantam eggs in my Octagon 10, I needed another incubator so my friend Lee saved the day + lend me his!

Then, I was on eBay and saw an MS Broedmachine incubator for sale on there. They're the best you can buy, made in the Netherlands and so don't often come up for sale... so I kinda bought it!

Is in Nottingham so ma friend at Uni there has collected it for me and I'll go pick it up.
One of these:

Annie, one of my Pekins, was on 3 eggs due this weekend but only one has hatched so far - a Speckled Sussex x Araucana which if is a girl should lay green eggs. Not sure if the other 2 will hatch late or not at all.

I've got my brooder ready for the quail chicks too (if they hatch)!
Is a Hagen Vision bird cage (a bit like eglu's for budgies!) which has a deeper tray than my indoor rabbit cages so should keep them warm. I've got a big double height Vision Cage for my Diamond Doves and really like them!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Womble update

You might remember Womble, one of the rescue horses, who Stephie and I worked with last year.

I was at the yard earlier and he came over to his stable door for a fuss and is 1000 times better than he used to be - I remember when the vets needed to castrate him (I think it was) and he had to have 2 lots of sedations before they could even get a head collar on him.

I turned him out to the field and he was perfect - lead really well, stopped at the gates, didn't freak with the dogs running around his feet and everything.
He's always been turned out with a grab strap on his head collar because he's still not perfect to catch in the field and had rubbed his head on a fence post so I had to get him back in and bathe it with a bit of Hibiscrub which he didn't really like but he didn't make too much of a fuss.

Escapey Kitty

We had the most playful kitten ever in at the vets earlier!

He just wanted out of his kennel all the time and was sticking his paws out to try and get to the nurses every time they walked past sorting out the others.

Caught this cute photo

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Meet Spike...

I've stayed in Aber over the holidays to carry on Lambing nights so thought it would be an ideal time to get some more practice in at the vets too.

It's worked really well as I've been finishing Lambing at 7, getting a couple hours sleep and going to the Vets then getting another few hours sleep after seeing practice before starting Lambing again at 8.
I've had a lot of caffeine to keep me going this week but its been good to see surgery!

I saw we had Spike booked in for surgery and was expecting a Rottie or Mastif, then in bounds this bundle of fluff...

He was in as he had an obstruction in his gut so Kate had to do a foreign body removal operation.

They found exactly what they were looking for, which turned out to be part of his lead, and then as they were suturing up Kate showed me a clever little trick.
When closing up the intestinal wall she pulled the two ends of the incision together and sutured perpendicular to how she'd cut it so that the lumen isn't restricted afterwards which could lead to further blockages.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bottle feeding Kilo

Kilo, named because he was less than a kilogram when he was born, has definitely settled in and made himself at home.
He's had SO many visitors its untrue and the neighbours kids came round to give him a bottle this afternoon.

Rose was a natural, posing with a bottle
 and Evie preferred to give him a cuddle after he was done with his dinner...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Exotics at the Vets

Had another good day at the Vets today!
Was Lambing at the Uni farm 'til half 6 so only had an hour + half sleep but wasn't too bad!

First thing we had a bitch in who needed a caesarian. Glesnie the vet got them out then Nerys, the vet nurse, and I rubbed them in towels to get them breathing. I got to inect the bitch with antibiotic + painkiller. Then the puppies went in a box with a hot water bottle, so cute!
They look like little Rottweilers but are actually King Charles Spaniels!

Then had another cavalier in who needed syringe feeding with A/D and Glucose rehydration liquid so I did that a few times throughout the day - another first!

I watched a few op's - dog castrate, dog dental and had a cat with a big tumor on his face which needed looking at and X-rays.

We had Toby the German Shepherd in for X-rays to look at his hips for hip scoring. He's only 5 months old and the breeder said the parents were hip scored but he was really bad so not sure how true that is...

A vet and nurse had to go out to pick up a dog - a Neapolitan Mastiff, who doesn't like men. I wasn't going to mess with a dog that big so kept out the way for that one! ;)

Later on this afternoon I was in seeing consults with John; we had a 47 year old Amazon parrot with a dodgy eye, could have been bad conjunctivitis or the eye had ruptured. Gave local anaesthetic and antibiotic eye drops and it opened up.
We were meant to have a snake in which I was looking forward to but they didn't show up!
Like seeing all the more common animals but really like exotics - the parrot was really interesting, I was surprised at how old it was!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kilo meets Sherlock

Kilo the house sheep meets Sherlock the house rabbit...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Meet Kilo...

We had a lamb born at the farm this week who was about 800g when he was born. We didn't think he'd make it as he was so small but I tubed some colostrum into him, stuck him under a heat lamp and he got stronger...
He came into the Farm Office with us as we sat and did our Nutrition assignments about silage *yawn* and he's got through the worst and going to make it.
Next to a 500ml bottle so you can see how small he is...

I took him back to our student flat to bottle feed him throughout the day and he's had so many visitors already.

Of course I couldn't leave him behind so I bought him and now officially own a sheep...
He'll stay with us for a few weeks and then eventually he's going to live on a friends smallholding near home so I'll be able to visit!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vets in Aber

Second day at the vets and a quiet one..
We only had 2 surgeries booked in, and neither of them happened!

A man bought a stray cat in, with no microchip etc and needed spaying. She was anaesthetised and shaved ready for the op, just before opening her up the vet saw some scars... She'd already been done!
Were the scars from where she'd been done and they could feel dimple so no need to open her up to check.

Also had a dog in which had dislocated his hip so they put a plate and screws into it last week but he wasn't walking on it + it was crunching a bit when it moved in one particular way.
They thought they'd have to cut the head of the femur off but after X rays it looked ok and they couldn't see a problem so rather than causing more damage and maybe damage to the plate and screws they decided to leave it.

We did have quite a few Lambings in though which I went downstairs to watch, and a few caesarians which are always interesting!
"Kilo" my pet lamb weighs just that, 1kg, but we had a lamb from a caesarian which was 9kg's!

Had a calf in with Salmonella which needed bottle feeding with Life-Aid so I helped do that - barrier nursing so had to wear gloves and wellies so we could dip them after.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Edible Garden Show 2012

Had a really good 3 days at The Edible Garden Show this weekend!

I was there on the PoultryTalk stand and took 6 chickens along with me, some for the show cages and others to go in an Ark on the stand.
Doris one of the Pekin Bantams I bred last year sat happily on top of the ark for all 3 days being stroked and picked up by children wanting to take photographs with her.

Never put all your eggs in one basket ...unless its just to show different colours at a show

I did a "Chicken Keeping for Beginners" talk in the Poultry Ring of the Smallholders Marquee which was photographed and I appeared in the Daily Mirror!
The talks went well, hopefully people took bits away from it and that encourages people to look into keeping chickens.

Rupert Stevenson came along to take some photos at the show and sent them to me (Thanks Rupert!) so I actually have some sensible photos for a change!

As well as this one which is currently featured on the Edible Garden Show website.

Jamie and I had a great time on the stand speaking to the public, allowing them to get up close and personal with the chickens and take photographs with them.

There was a great buzz around the show with photographers from the BBC and National Press there taking photos and videos which we were featured in. There was also a piece on the BBC News but I didn't manage to catch it.

I was dressed as a Chicken for most of the show (why not?!) and went to see The Chicken Vet for a quick check-up.

I had a bad case of Northern Fowl Mite but they cleared that up for me...

I wrote a Beginners Chicken Keeping factsheet to go with the talk, Jamie had 800 printed and they all went!
There were 6 different care-sheets in total and think two or three of them went completely, with a chunk of the other ones going too so there was lots of interest in chickens.

Out in the Livestock Marquee I spotted these piglets...

 ...and a cute goat kid!

Overall it was a great show...

Everyone there was really positive, visitors looked like they were having a good time and said they will definitely be coming back next year, it was a credit to the organisers!

The Edible Garden Show 2012

Had a really good 3 days at The Edible Garden Show this weekend!

Was there on the PoultryTalk stand so took 6 of my chickens with me, some for the show cages and others to go in an Ark on the stand.
Doris (newly named!) one of the pekins I bred last year sat on top of the ark for all 3 days being stroked and picked up by kids, was surprised at just how friendly + chilled she was tbh! :))
Never put all your eggs in one basket ...unless its just to show different colours at a show

I did a "Chicken Keeping for Beginners" talk in the Poultry Ring of the Smallholders Marquee ... got in the Daily Mirror because of it and everything too!
Think it went ok, felt more awkward being centre of attention with people all around me rather than just 1-2-1 like on the stand and at work but was fine! Hopefully people took bits away from it + encourages people to get chickens anyway.

Rupert Stevenson took some photos at the show and sent them to me (thanks!)... some sensible photos I actually like for once!
 And this one which is on the homepage of the Edible website and in their news roll ... feel famous :P
Couple more...

There were loads of photographers from the BBC, Daily Mirror etc there taking photos + videos so may have been on a few of those. Know it was on BBC news telly but I didn't see it.

I was dressed as a Chicken for most of the show (why not?!) and went to see The Chicken Vet for a check-up.
I had a bad case of Northern Fowl Mite but they cleared that up for me ;)

Was a great show... Everyone there was really friendly + looked like they were having a good time - credit to the organisers!
I wrote a Beginners Chicken Keeping factsheet to go with the talk, Jamie had 800 printed and they all went! There were 6 different care-sheets in total and think 2 or 3 of them went completely with a chunk of the other ones going too so there was a load of interest in chickens.

 Cute goat kid!
Looking forward to going next year! :)