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Mantel Farm Newsletter - April 2017

April 2017 Notes...

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Easter Eggs & Competition Time...

We seem to suddenly be over-run with eggs!  Our Hybrids and Bantams have just come into lay, so there are lots of little eggs to collect daily and the 'old girls' seem to be thankful to be free ranging again, laying far too many large eggs for a retirement flock!

Our Peahen has just started to lay (around 5pm in the eves which always seems a little strange) and our Geese are busy making nests with 'Perkin, the gander'.

guarding them fiercely, we even found a little hedge sparrows nest last weekend with 3 perfectly tiny bright blue eggs, she is sitting tight now so fingers crossed for her.

Josh has been busy spring cleaning our pens and planning for the spring season, he has added his latest poultry keeping blog entry - "Looking Forward To Spring".

Why not have a read...

Soon there will be even more eggs - with our quail arriving in just a few weeks time, and they really are "little egg laying machines"!

Find out more...

So, with all these eggs surrounding us, we have decided to run an Easter egg decorating competition. Please get creative over the Easter Holidays and post photos of your decorated eggs on our Facebook page for your chance of winning. See the examples below - this is Andrew with his attempt!

egg decorating competition
egg decorating competition

The first name drawn at random wins the Easter basket full of goodies including a blown emerald green Emu Egg worth £25, a Lindt gold chocolate Easter bunny, some small chocolate eggs, a dozen fresh Mantel Farm chicken eggs of varied colours, a "decorating eggs" craft book, along with the basket itself! The next eight names drawn at random win a "decorating eggs" craft book with more lovely ideas for decorating eggs.

Entries must be received by 17th April and the winners will be drawn at random in our shop on 18th April. The winners will be listed on our Facebook page on the day of the draw. So get decorating those eggs and good luck!

Join in on Facebook...

This Month's Feature: The Mole...

Graham Burgess provides a local pest control service, including Bees, Wasps, Mice, Rabbits, Mink, Moles, Rats, Earwigs and Birds. This month he has written a feature on Moles...

With the warm weather we have had recently the Moles think it's spring and have got one thing on their mind - to find a female,  So people are all of a sudden finding a there lovely garden has turned into a 1st world war battlefield just when they are thinking of getting out the lawnmower!  Moles are solitary animals and only come together mate. So the males are moving around trying to find a female.

They will use old burrow systems repairing as they go, or travel just under the surface so they can keep out of sight of predators. This is called 'running spooked' and can do a lot of damage to people's gardens or farmers fields. So this is a good time for the Pest Controller to control the Mole activity by trapping them. Some urban myths like children's windmills or battering down Molehills and filling the runs up with dog poo just don't work and usually the Mole will just dig around the obstacle causing more damage.

For pest control services contact Graham on 07876 108434 or 01424 251222

Our Local Weather Forecast...

Tim Macpherson is a digital publisher and angling film maker as well as being an obsessed boat angler for over 25 years! So he keeps a close watch on the Sussex weather for both his fishing, work and of course his bees and hens in his garden.

Well March has proved a mixed bag with some lovely warm spells followed by some more mixed weather. We’ve now taken delivery of our 5 Oxford Sandy and Black pigs and are delivering two more to Mantel Farm in the next few weeks as they’ve started digging up the paddock! After a cold start to the weekend it should turn drier for all, with some good spells of spring sunshine next week.

Next week, high pressure will begin to build bringing drier, brighter weather with some sunny spells, great news for all that spring is coming and hopefully we’ll be able to get out and catch some plaice. They start moving inshore at the end of March to feed up after spawning – people are already catching them on the beaches although they’re still a bit thin for eating. It looks like next week will feel warm in any spring sunshine, although there are signs of more generally unsettled weather the following week. For the rest of the month we are expecting a good deal of settled and dry weather. Temperatures are likely to be warmer than average, but with rather chilly nights at times, leading to frost in places. Any colder spells are likely to be short-lived too, although there some hints that these may become more prevalent later in the month. Our bees are well and truly flying now with plenty of early blossom for them to feed on so I’m hoping the colony will settle down after a strange winter where they were often flying on warm days in February. The chickens are laying well now and, touch wood, the presence of so many pigs will help deter any curious foxes.

Ian's Gardening Tales from the Weald...

Ian is a Gardens Manager living in Crowhurst, working as part of a team in three large country gardens in the Sussex and Kent Weald, where he is passionate about natural gardening.

April brings us to planting time of 'phase three of our Prairie Garden project'. The three beds covering 275 square metres have now been rotavated and simultaneously fed with a balanced fertiliser in preparation for the planting of 1,515 grasses and perennials.  As we are temporarily down to a team of two, I have called on a friend and ex - colleague to come and help out.

Planting starts in April and continues to the end of May, although we may go over a little if needs be. It is a joyous time after the darkness of winter. The house martins are back from overwintering in Africa and busy feeding and gathering mud from a redundant paddock to rebuild their nests in the eaves of the house, banter is rife and the new borders willingly accept their new occupants. We plant in 4 metre blocks and create drifts of repeat plantings throughout the design. Once the block is planted, it is watered and mulched with mushroom compost. The whole area is fenced off with low chicken wire and low chestnut pales to protect the juvenile growth from the resident rabbit population that habituate the adjoining woodland. This netting stays up for the first three years of the plantings life.

This really is our most intensive time of the year, but ultimately, most rewarding. As we plant, there continues the regular garden maintenance tasks to implement alongside the new project. In June, I will be able to sit atop a ride on mower cutting the surrounding lawn and casting a more relaxed eye over the developing borders!

I still have a vacancy for an apprentice gardener, so if you would like more details please contact me on 07773 363096.  Ian Donovan:  Hips and Haws Gardening, Crowhurst

Egg Decorating Competition

Enter our free prize draw to win...

egg decorating competition
egg decorating competition

Mantel Farm is running an Easter competition! Simply reply to our Facebook post with a photo of your decorated egg to be entered into our free draw.

Find out more...

New Training Course: £25
Refreshing your Beekeeping...

refresher beekeeping course

Are you in your first or second year of beekeeping? Managed to keep your bees healthy through the winter and really wanting to get things right for this season?

If so, then Mike's refresher course is all you need! An informal evening, recapping the key parts of beekeeping, and all for just £25.00!

Find out more...

New: Spring Clean Pack - £50.00
All you need to give your hens' house a spring clean...

spring clean pack for chickens

All in a handy chicken carrier box, our pack contains:
1Ltr Poultry Shield, 5kg Biodri, 1Ltr Bi-oo-cyst, Perch Scraper, Hand Brush, 0.75Ltr Sprayer, VermX Pellets and chicken carrier.

All for only £50.00 - saving you £16.59!

Find out more...

Quail For Sale: £9.50 each

available Friday 5th May...

quail for sale

Our Quail are will be available again from the 5th May. These little birds make great pets and are fantastic egg layers.

To avoid disappointment we recommend you reserve your birds now, please visit our website to place your reservation.

Find out more...

Pekin Hens: £30 each
Our Pekins have just come into lay, so it's a great time to introduce a few to your garden and enjoy their tasty eggs through the summer...

pekin bantam hens

Our Bantam hens are this year's hatch, guaranteed hens, vaccinated and available in several colours. Bantams are available from our farm.

They can also be reserved through our website with a £5 deposit.


£30.00 each or reserve with a £5.00 deposit

Find out more...

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