Unless your goats or sheep live in a very rocky area you will need to trim their feet at least once per year. Just like humans, animals nails grow and get too long. Sometimes on livestock the nail will fold over and cause discomfort for the animal through lameness (limping) or the extra nail will break off. You can not rely on the nail breaking off as sometimes when this happens to much nail breaks off causing the animal further soreness. It is always best to keep an eye on your animals feet so that hooves do not start growing in the wrong direction which can happen if the hoof is too overgrown. It is best to trim your animals feet just after rain when their nails will be nice and soft and easy to cut.
If your sheep is lame and you inspect the hoof and all looks normal, check the oil gland which is located between the two hooves on each foot. Looking front on it appears just above the toes (hooves) in the centre. The gland lubricates between the toes though sometimes becomes clogged with dirt and blocked. It needs to be unblocked by squeezing gently. If it was blocked a vaseline like substance will appear. Often this is a condition of rams which can easily be cured by you. Don’t forget to check all four feet.
Looking after, understanding and having an appreciation for your soils health is absolutely essential for any gardener. Soil acts as a foundation for all living things and in soil live thousands and thousands of beneficial microorganisms of which we need to make conditions ideal for them to help us. Soil pH is one of the easiest things to change in your garden. Soil pH is the measurement of how acidic or alkaline the soil is. Soil pH measures the amount of Hydrogen and hydroxyl ions are in the soil. The pH strongly influences a number of soil processes including nutrient availability. Most plants have a preference to neutral pH which is between 6 and 7.
An easy and cheap method of conducting the test is through a powder kit which can be purchased from your hardware/nursery.
pH test kit
You will need
Soil pH test kit
Spade or trowel
1. Using the spade dig down approximately 15cm so that you miss any organic matter on the top layer.
Summer time is well and truly here, which has brought rain and now mosquitoes. Apart from mozzies spreading disease to humans they can also give chickens fowl pox. I do not know anyone that likes getting bitten by mosquitos. Apart from their annoying buzz they also seem to go for the parts of the body which are sensitive such as your feet or parts you really do not want blemishes like your face.
I grow mozzie pots full of insect repellent plants and place around my chicken pens. I have recently made a smaller one for the outdoor table which could also double up as a herb source and nice looking focal point.
I used the following plants in this mozzie pot; pennyroyal, lemon thyme, cat mint, lemon grass and southernwood.
Pennyroyal – a peppermint scented perennial. Repels fleas and ants. Has purple flowers.
Lemon Thyme – a lemon aroma and mild flavour suited to accompany many dishes. Leaves are slightly larger than the conventional thyme. Repels mosquitos and has tiny pink flowers.
Cat Mint – a minty scent. Can be used dry as a tea. Repels insects. Has purple flowers.
Lemon Grass – a lemon scented coarse grass. Can be used in tea and cooking. Contains citronella which repel mosquitos.
Southernwood – a perennial plant that has an unattractive smell and taste to insects.
How to make a mozzie pot
I make my own seed raising mix to ensure that my seed trays have every chance of success whilst germinating. As our summers get very hot, moisture seems to be the problem with seedlings. By adding coconut fibre (coir peat) bigger healthier roots grow and require less water, as the product has a higher water holding capacity. The addition of vermiculite also enhances moisture retention. This recipe makes up to 15 litres depending on what coir product you use.
You will need
A bag of potting mix (ensure it has the Australian standard set of ticks)
Vermiculite (can be purchased at the hardware store in the gardening supplies section)
Coir Power Seed Raising Block or Coir Peat Brick (can be purchased at the hardware store in the gardening supplies section)
Container (I use a mini garbage bin)
Shovel or Trowel
Stuck for things to do with the kids in the school holidays? Not long ago I was minding my beautiful niece Olivia, at a dressage competition. We were literally stuck at a horse truck in the bush for the day. Thanks to pinterest we came up with this idea. I am not a primary school teacher and hence not very crafty. I take my hat off to primary school teachers. Just collecting the leaves is a fun activity and creates all kinds of conversations about nature.
You will need
A3 or A4 Paper
Small Paint Brush
1. Collect leaves from under trees, a mix of shapes and colours. The drier the better.
2. Plan your animals out on a flat surface
3. Brush glue on the back of each leaf