Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

We’ve had a warm spring this year, and December being the first month of summer has been very hot for the first part, and very hot and humid for most if not all of the whole holiday period.

A recently planted bamboo, and a couple of established and newly planted plants in the cucurbitaceae family have succumbed to the heat early in December. One of those 2am storm flooded the ground the coop was sitting on and the crippled chook who slept downstairs was rescued from stomach deep water (Chicken height), so we had to move the coop away from the bottom corner of the backyard, and took the opportunity to move the chicken run to another corner of the yard where I have a patch of wheatgrass and some sweet potatoes grown. Although the wheatgrass were gone in a few days.. I think I will grow some more in pots for them as treats ~~

Also gave all the chooks a proper hot bath with baby shampoo and rinsed with fre-itch rinse for fleas and lice, complete with a blow dry. Their coop was also scrubbed with detergent and rinse with diluted bleach with new bedding materials mixed with pestene and lemon grass. Hope this will keep the mites or whatever those tiny crawlies are at bay for a little while. Unfortunately as their run’s not fully enclosed, it’s not easy to control parasites, especially from pigeons which we have a high number of due to the scattered grains from the chicken feed…. I really like Donna’s run fully encaged from all predators and freeloaders ^__^

Around middle of the month, one of our chooks’ had been broody for a month already, and she’s the one with the bad leg… We didn’t want her to sit anymore for fear of her health because she doesn’t leave her nest for water or food without our intervention, and that prolong sitting would worsen her legs. So we decided to get her a couple of chicks to fulfil her desire of motherhood. I’ve checked several breeders around Brisbane, found a few possible places we can get chicks from, but they’re all a fair distance away, no less then an hour’s drive. In the end my mother bought a couple of hybrids “Lohmann Brown’ from a new local pet shop.

Unfortunately, in hindsight, when we place the chicks under her before sunrise we shouldn’t have moved her out of the coop. Although the chicks immediately went under her when placed next to her, and appeared to be comfortable and stopped chirping. Not so for the broody hen, as she woke up in an unfamiliar environment and found chicks under her, she reacted by pecking at one chick and stared at it for a while then completely ignored the chicks’ chirping for mother.

Even when the chicks tried to get warmth from under her by sticking their heads into her feathers, but she still totally ignored the chicks and found a way to ‘escaped’ back to her nesting area and continued to sit there. She went as far as getting all fluffed up and ‘grrr’ at the chicks when we try to put the chicks in her nest…

So, now… my mother adopted the chicks instead…..

Around the same time, we had an explosion of 28-spotted beetles. Since I was on holidays, I’ve been out there squashing them with a pair of gloves for a few consecutive days (I found the rubber gloves the best, as the um… juice from squashing seep through cloths garden gloves, and leather gloves restrict delicate finger movements…). The beetles have since spread to the cucurbitaceae and okra, but the population density seems to have decreased markedly although I haven’t squashed any for a while now. I suspect the little birds have discovered them and have been controlling them for me :)

Standing in my backyard for 5 minutes will spot no less then 3 or 4 different varieties of birds dancing around (other then the freeloaders in the chook run), especially when it’s overcast or drizzling. The photo shows one type of birds, can’t get close enough to them to get a better picture with a 3x optical zoom on a point & shot… anyways, anyone can tell me what these birds are?

I have noticed there’s been less flowering during the wet weather, and virtually no pollination of what little flowers which bloomed… all the little squash, zuchinni and eggplant buds rotted on the plant except for some beans, which are self-pollinated. Anyone else found the same situation? Been getting more flowers after a few days of fine days though ~ hope we’ll get some pollinations ~

Despite the rainy weather, I’ve ordered 2 cubic metres of pebbles to cover the paths around the house before Christmas. Don’t seem to be enough though… should have ordered 2 ½ cubic metres. Oh well… I think I will need more soil/compost soon too as the soil/compost in the raised beds seems to have shrunk…

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Comment by Florence on January 13, 2010 at 8:52
Vanessa C - Yeah, I am starting to get swelling baby zuchinnis, pumpkins, and watermelons now ~ but the pumpkin vines and and some of the sweet potato vines are overtaking the backyard!!!

Scarlett - Giving bath to the chooks' not a one person's job, they were suprisingly calm during the whole process but we still have one person holding the chook in the tub of water, another person scrub with a brush & tooth brush (for head & feet), and another doing the drying. It was obvious they were cold once out of water if they are not dried quickly... but I am pleased with the results coz I haven't seen any mites since, and the hens look a little bit cleanner ... although I think they are going to be back soon as the pigeons are still visiting them everyday...

I think those birds are superb Fairy Wren, I looked it up on Wiki and we do have those ones with blue feathers too, but I thought they were different species. Interesting how they change colour when they are not breeding... Thanks for identifying them :)

Vanessa T - You can get fertilized eggs, but the hen will have to sit on them for 20 days to hatch, and we didn't want her to sit anymore, as sitting almost 24 hours a day takes a toll on their bodies... The crippled chook have came out of her broodiness after the bath now, but still have another hen who's still broody and she looks like she's lost half her body weight since sitting...

That's the problem with renting... Albert's landlord have rejected his request to keep ducks..
Comment by Scarlett on January 12, 2010 at 19:39
:D made me laugh about the huffy chook. i'm amazed you gave them all a bath! i've never done that, although once i had to dry one of my chooks out with towels and warm her in the low oven with the door open because she was really cold after falling in the fishpond overnight in a Melbourne winter - she came good really fast (but I was a bit late for work!)

that little bird will be some of fairy wren i guess - maybe Superb Fairy Wren. hard to see markings. cute!

lovely photos! yes it's hard with just a point and click, i have the same problem :)

my zukes rotted too. i seem to have some baby pumpkins coming on now - but i could still lose them. all the bees must have been hiding under pumpkin leaves
Comment by Vanessa Collier on January 12, 2010 at 11:39
Beautiful photos Florence. I think we're finally getting some zucchinis - the rain did it some good as now it is flowering more and actually setting fruit. It wasn't producing before the rain so don't know if the rain affected flowers.

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