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By Martina Mercer
It’s been a busy month at the North Yorkshire Manor House, as we made the decision to stay. Suddenly as the sun came out we were overwhelmed with the beauty of our home and the extortionate outgoings seemed to be worth living in this Moors retreat.
Once we made up our mind it was all hands on deck turning this house into a home as we’d previously held back believing we’d find somewhere a little less expensive to heat!
Out came the rotavator for the veggie patch, out came the laptop to browse through what lavender World could deliver ASAP and out came the pots of paint. As we tidied and titivated we realised that if this were to be a permanent home we’d need some extra residents.
We’ve missed our ducks, chickens and goats since our time in West Ness, and although we didn’t want to have hundreds of birds again we did think a few ornamental chucks would be just the thing to add the idyllic to countryside living, so we went in search of wildfowl seeking out different ducks.
Lavender is for Life – Not Just for Relaxation!
We came across a new breeder who sold everything from Quails to Silkies, Turkeys to Geese and even the odd pig. Trying to decide on one or two was futile as the temptation to buy them all overwhelmed us yet we settled on a theme.
Yes we decided on Lavender, to complement our love of the plant and the world so we invested in three Lavender Call ducklings and four Lavender Araucana chicks which cost a lot more than the usual Aylesbury and Sussex we’ve bought before. We have absolutely no idea how many eggs they lay a year or indeed if they are male or female!
We kept them under a heat lamp in the utility for a few weeks before moving them out into their readymade house and pen. Unfortunately on the first night outdoors one of the chicks died so we got in touch with our breeder all over again.
This time when we popped down he had almost nothing left as one man had bought every bird on the farm. Even the siblings of our Lavender Araucanas were earmarked for a trip to Holland. My daughter, distraught that her chick had died couldn’t stand the thought of leaving with nothing, so when she asked to buy four brown chicks that had escaped the Dutch man’s shopping trolley, I said yes, despite them ruining my lavender theme.
It turns out, that these chicks although small are actually turkeys and will grow to a humongous size. They’ve integrated well with the ducklings and chicks and live in harmony for the time being as my daughter continues to teach them tricks in a bid to get on Britain’s Got Talent.
She has them all jumping through hoops for worms and they follow her as if she’s the mum but I’ve not yet broken the news that I’m eyeing up the turkeys for the table especially if they turn out to be boys.
I’ve heard that if you feed turkeys herbs their meat will absorb the flavour, so keeping with my original feed they’re now on a diet of corn and lavender!
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