A simple guide to caring for chicks.

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Here’s our quick, simple and straightforward guide to caring for chicks from just hatched until they’re ready to move outside.

Newly hatched chicks drying out in the incubator

Newly hatched chicks drying out in the incubator

After your chicks have hatched, they need to be left in the incubator until they have dried out and fluffed up, at this point, they can be transferred to the brooder.
There’s no need to buy an expensive brooder, it’s easy to make one yourself. Ours is made from a plastic storage container with a heat lamp suspended above it. You can use any type of container that will hold some sawdust and your chicks safely.

Once the chicks have fluffed up, they are ready to put in the brooder.

Once the chicks have fluffed up, they are ready to put in the brooder.

The chicks also need a container of water that is not too deep, to avoid drowning accidents, and another container for food.Your chicks will require “starter feed” for at least the first four weeks, then they can be move on to “grower feed”.

The brooder, with heat lamp and food and water containers.

The brooder, with heat lamp and food and water containers.

You will need to check on your chicks several times a day for the first week or so, it’s also important that they be kept very warm. observe the behaviour of your chicks, if they’re all huddled together under the heat lamp, they are too cold, if they’re spread out away from the lamp, the brooder is probably too hot.
You can gradually reduce the temperature of the brooder over the next few weeks as they begin to develop feathers.

Your chicks may need some more space as they grow.

Your chicks may need some more space as they grow.

Your chicks may need some extra space as they grow, we usually move our chicks into a bigger cage after a few weeks when they need less heat.

Spend time getting to know your chicks.

Spend time getting to know your chicks.

One advantage of raising your chicks yourself versus using a broody hen, is that you can get to know your chicks, they can become quite used to you, given the right attention. The chicks will still need checking regularly, even when they’re several weeks old, they will kick bedding into their food and water and this needs to be cleaned up quite often.

Spend time with your chicks as they grow

Spend time with your chicks as they grow

Before you move your chicks outside permanently, it’s a good idea to let them spend short periods outdoors in a secure cage or run, this will help them get used to the sounds and smells of the big wide world.

Getting used to the big outdoors.

Getting used to the big outdoors.

Once your chicks are nearly fully feathered, they’re able to be moved outside with the other chooks. How you go about this transition is entirely up to you. We keep our young chooks in a nursery run, separate from our rooster and laying hens. As they grow and become fully fledged laying hens, we move them in with the rooster, who greets them with an enthusiastic dance….!
raising your own chooks can be so much fun, especially for kids, give it a go, you can’t go wrong. Get some fertile eggs from your local breeder and give it a go!

Raising your own chooks is simple.

Raising your own chooks is simple.



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Mr Franger Farm’s Guide to making perfect pizza.

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Mr Franger Farm makes a mean pizza, his pride and joy is his self built wood fired pizza oven. He only uses one recipe for pizza base and it’s always a great success.
Follow his guide to the perfect pizza and you can’t go wrong.

Divide the dough and let it double in size.

Divide the dough and let it double in size.

Mr Franger Farm uses this dough recipe by Curtis Stone, and it works every time.

Ingredients.
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons dry yeast
3 cups unbleached plain flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Method.
In a small bowl, whisk the warm water, honey and yeast to blend. Set aside for about 5 minutes, or until foamy. Stir to dissolve the yeast.
In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt to combine. With the machine running, pour the yeast mixture an olive oil and process until the dough forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead for about 3 minutes, or until it’s smooth and elastic. Do not add too much flour. The dough will be tacky but should release cleanly from your hands.
Divide the dough in half and firm into a ball. Place on a baking tray and cover with cling wrap. Let it stand until it doubles in size.

roll out the dough

roll out the dough

Once the dough has doubled in size, you can take one ball and roll it into a circle with a rollng pin.

place your dough on the pizza tray

place your dough on the pizza tray

You can then place your dough on your pizza tray.
It’s now time to add your toppings. Spread pizza sauce over the base and then add toppings of your choice.

Spread pizza sauce on the base.

Spread pizza sauce on the base.

You can cook your finished pizza in a wood fired pizza oven for best results, but we have also used a conventional oven to bake these pizzas and it has worked well.

Cook your finished pizza in a wood fired oven for best results

Cook your finished pizza in a wood fired oven for best results

enjoy!

enjoy!

Enjoy withy a friends and family and a glass or three of wine!


Top five tips for getting your kids into the garden.

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Here are our top five tips for getting your kids outside and turning them into happy little gardeners.

Give them their own garden bed.

Give them their own garden bed.

Give your kids their own area to grow things in, make it their responsibility to look after it, give them their own garden tools.

Choose something cool to grow.

Choose something cool to grow.

choose something they can get excited about growing, this year we are growing giant sunflowers and the world’s largest pumpkin!

Helping out is fun.

Helping out is fun.

Get them to help out with the jobs in the garden, most kids think that shovelling mulch is great fun!

Helping with the chickens.

Helping with the chickens.

Spending time with the rabbits.

Spending time with the rabbits.


If you have animals, get the kids to help out with their care, taking on some of the daily chores.

helping with the harvest.

helping with the harvest.


Most important of all, get them involved with the harvest and use your fruit and veg to make food that they love.
Happy gardening!

How to have hippity-hoppity happy bunnies.

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We keep two rabbits on Franger Farm, they are kept as pets, but they play an important part in our permaculture system, disposing of kitchen scraps and giving us plenty of rabbit poo in return, that we can then use on our veggie beds. Here is our guide to keeping your bunnies happy and healthy.

Our Franger Farm bunnies, Mushroom and Garlic.

Our Franger Farm bunnies, Mushroom and Garlic.

The most important thing to purchase is some secure and safe housing for your rabbit. It must be warm, dry and predator proof, you can find ready-made hutches in your local pet shop or you could purchase on-line, http://www.Amazon.com has a great selection for all sizes of rabbit.

secure and predator proof housing is essential

secure and predator proof housing is essential

It’s a good idea to do some extra escape proofing of your cage or run if it sits directly on the ground. Rabbits love to dig and can quickly dig a tunnel out of their accommodation and disappear. We solved this problem by nailing aviary wire to the underside of the hutch and run so that our bunnies couldn’t dig out.

It’s very important to feed your rabbit the correct diet. In the wild, rabbit’s eat mainly grass and they grass for at least six to eight hours a day. It’s essential that you provide the correct types of food at the right time to keep their gut healthy. We give our rabbits both fresh grass and hay, we put the hay in a hanging basket suspended from the top of the run, this provides them with a bit of a challenge and entertainment which stops them getting bored. You can also try stuffing the cardboard tube from a toilet roll with hay, so your rabbit can have fun rolling the tube around and chewing the cardboard to get at the hay.

commercially available pellets will help to ensure that your rabbit has a balanced diet.

commercially available pellets will help to ensure that your rabbit has a balanced diet.

We feed our rabbits commercial rabbit pellets to ensure that they are getting enough fibre for their digestive health. Make sure that your rabbits have clean water available at all times.

We supplement their diet with plenty of vegetable scraps, which they get very excited about, and the occasional commercial treat bar specially formulated for rabbits.

It’s important to play with your rabbits regularly to make sure that they are tame and friendly and don’t mind being handled.

Play with your rabbits regularly to make sure that they are used to being handled

Play with your rabbits regularly to make sure that they are used to being handled

If you invest some time in caring for your rabbits they will reward you with entertainment and fun times, and did I mention the poo?

Check out these links for fantastic accommodation for your bunnies.