Oscar the Grouch

One morning as I stepped out with a coffee in hand and a fag in the other - something small, fast, and very very angry swooped a bare inch above my unsuspecting noggin of a head. Shrieking loudly at the stupid human that had dared to invade their turf, one very small, but agressive little New Zealand Kingfisher gazed down upon his little kingdom and glowered. Not even the cats were exempt from the strategic attacks. Day in day out it's still the same old routine. I figured at this rate I'll have to invest in a motorcycle helmet or if things get really bad I'll raid someone's medieval armour collection and clunk around in well forged metal.

We named this little grumpy bird Oscar the Grouch, and I think Oscar the Grouch of Sesame Street fame would be pleased he has a namesake. Today though, Oscar got a little too agressive and in the haste to pick at some unseen victim, the little Kingfisher hit the window. The cats were quick to pounce, but not before I had got there ultra fas,t and nabbed said Oscar literally from the feline jaws of death. Cats were locked up and Oscar the Grouch was put in a nice quiet place to recover. I got a couple of photos before Oscar finally flew back to the grand tower called the power pole and shriek loudly - letting me know a truce would not be coming anytime in the next millenium. So does anyone please have a spare suit of armour - I think I'll be needing it...

CoF testing station closures won’t keep anyone safe

“The New Zealand Transport Agency’s (NZTA) proposal to close half of the Certificate of Fitness (CoF) offsite testing stations has more to do with saving money than with safety,” says Donald Aubrey, Federated Farmers transport spokesperson.

“If Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ) invested in its own business, 54 of the 127 offsite testing stations throughout New Zealand would not have to close.

“VTNZ blames the proposed closures on the introduction of the new Heavy Vehicle Brakes Rule by NZTA. As the offsites slated for closure do not meet the criteria set out by NZTA, VTNZ says the decision to close them is safety related.

“But it’s obvious that VTNZ is just not prepared to spend the money and provide enough roller brake testing machines to bring these offsites up to scratch, despite the importance of offsite testing stations to the rural economy.

“The proposed closures will disadvantage farmers and other members of the rural community who will have to travel much further to get a CoF. This will force some tractors onto our roads for longer periods of time, leading to more traffic congestion. Whichever way you look at it, clogging our roads up with heavy traffic is not good for road safety, the economy or the environment.

“As well as causing frustration for motorists, as by law, heavy agricultural vehicles cannot exceed 30km/h, the proposed closures will have a major impact on larger transport firms, some dairy companies and even the New Zealand Army. A lot of trucks, trailer units and armoured vehicles will be forced into larger towns.

“I am also very concerned that volunteer organisations such as the rural fire service will have to travel much further for a CoF. This reduces their availability for emergency callouts and that’s a big problem.

“A key guiding principle for CoF inspection services is that a testing station be located within 30 minutes or 40km of an operator. If the proposed closures take place, farmers and other heavy vehicle operators will have no choice but to travel significantly further for a CoF inspection.

“And if the vehicle fails its inspection, the operator will have to travel this extra distance, in a vehicle that is not road worthy, just to get back home. Does this improve road safety? I think not.

“Federated Farmers has submitted against the proposal to close these offsites. I have also raised the issue with the Ministers of Agriculture, Internal Affairs and Transport. We want a review of the proposal, ensuring rural communities still receive adequate access to necessary services. To achieve this, the 54 offsites must remain open,” Mr Aubrey concluded.


The 2009 Taranaki Sharemilkers of the Year Paul Davidson and Lorette Astwood-Davidson are a good team – one knows how to grow good grass and the other identifies how much it costs to turn the grass to milk.

Paul Davidson, 28, is a qualified green-keeper and Lorette Astwood-Davidson, 26, is an accountant at BDO Spicers. “Together we have a good understanding of grass growth and grass performance and knowledge of our business from a financial perspective.”

The Davidsons were announced the winners at the Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards held in the Stratford Memorial Hall last night, taking home prizes worth $16,300.

The couple is 50% sharemilking 200 cows on 72ha for Arthur and Pauline Davidson at Waitara. They anticipate production of 75,000kg milksolids for the current season ending 31 May.

It was the first time they had entered the competition, doing so to critically evaluate their farm and review their business systems.

“We entered the competition ultimately to learn more and to gain more knowledge of our business. Within the next two years we would like to gain another 50% sharemilking job to get greater cash flow and grow our assets. In the long term we’d like to own our own farm.”

South Taranaki sharemilkers Shaun and Anna Baxter placed second, winning $8045 in prizes. The couple 50% milks 295 cows for Harry and Helen Bayliss.

“We’re still learning, so are always keen to up-skill and gain more knowledge. We share common goals and both have a desire to be successful,” they say.

Third place in the 2009 Taranaki Sharemilker of the Year went to Stephen and Rhonda Lucas, winning $4380 in prizes. The Lucas’ 50% sharemilk 850 cows for Jane O’Neill at Stratford.

The Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, Honda, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.

The 2009 Taranaki Farm Manager of the Year, Aaron Riddick, and 2009 Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year, Alexander Dean, were also announced at the awards dinner.

All three winners will now compete for the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year titles and a prize pool of more than $100,000 in Wellington on May 16.

Aaron Riddick, 31, manages a herd of 210 cows for Kevin and Cindy Death at Eltham. He started his farming career when he was 17, building up to sharemilking before heading overseas where he spent some time on an Irish dairy farm.

“I entered the competition to challenge myself and it provides a great opportunity to get my name out there – hopefully it’ll open some doors for me.”

Mr Riddick is keen to take on a 50% sharemilking position in 2010 and increase his herd.

Michael Prankerd and Ruth Churchman of Stratford placed second in the 2009 Taranaki Farm Manager of the Year, winning $2550 in prizes.

Dairy Trainee of the Year, Alexander Dean, 19, manages a herd of 350 cows for Steven Nicholas at Kaponga. He won $2500 in prizes. Next month he’ll be competing in the regional final of the New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year competition, after placing second in the Taranaki District Final.

He is currently completing an Agriculture ITO Production Management course, having gained his modern Apprenticeship in Agriculture and Certificate in Agriculture.

“I enjoy having a varied range of jobs from day-to-day and I get to have a fair say in what happens on farm and I am able to get my opinions across effectively.”

Taranaki Sharemilkers of the Year Paul Davidson and Lorette Astwood-Davidson will host a field day on Friday March 13, while Taranaki Farm Manager of the Year Aaron Riddick will host a field day on the Eltham farm he manages on Friday March 20. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

Sharemilker Merit Awards:

  • Top Variable Order Sharemilker – Aaron & Kate Murdoch
  • Reeves Middleton Young Communication Award – Greg & Hannah Topless
  • Abacus Group Best Endeavour Award – Carey Rielly
  • Blue Wing Honda ATV Safety Award – Greg & Hannah Topless
  • DairyNZ First Time Entrant Award – Amanda Jordan
  • Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Carl & Sharon Coley
  • Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Leadership Award – Greg & Hannah Topless
  • LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Greg & Hannah Topless
  • Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Paul Davidson & Lorette Astwood Davidson
  • Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Shaun & Anna Baxter
  • Westpac Business Performance Award – Paul Davidson & Lorette Astwood

Farm Manager Merit Awards:

  • Allied Farmers Livestock Outstanding Attitude Award – Marc Jackson
  • DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Adam Pearce
  • RD1 Farm Management Award – Michael Prankerd & Ruth Churchman
  • Westpac Financial Planning and Management Award – Aaron Riddick


The 2009 Auckland Hauraki Sharemilkers of the Year, Gavin and Sally Roden, came up against old foes as they won a tight contest in the region.

The Rodens and the second and third place-getters in the competition had all won merit awards in the competition last year, entering a further time to gain benefits from the experience.

Gavin and Sally Roden say they entered the competition again to improve their farm business and achieve their farming goals.

“We also think the competition provides a good challenge in that we have to present ourselves and farm business to complete strangers.”

The couple won $14,000 in cash and prizes for their win in the Auckland Hauraki Dairy Industry Awards. Manurewa 30% sharemilkers Jacco and Carmen Verheij placed second, winning $7900 in cash and prizes, and third place went to Steve and Andrea Mills, winning $5800 in prizes.

The Rodens are currently 32% lower order sharemilking 220 cows for Crofton Hamilton at Waiuku and are targeting production of 83,000kg milksolids this season ending May 31.

The couple has been in the industry since 1998 and has been lower order sharemilking for the past three years. “Our strengths are learning to produce more off what we have and having the backing of our owners.”

Their goals are to go 50% sharemilking and ultimately achieve farm ownership.

The Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, Honda, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.

The 2009 Auckland Hauraki Farm Manager of the Year, James Haldane, and 2009 Auckland Hauraki Dairy Trainee of the Year, Ben Rohrlach, were also announced at the awards dinner held at Alexandra Park Raceway in Auckland last night.

All three winners will now compete for the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year titles and a prize pool of more than $100,000 in Wellington on May 16.

James Haldane manages a 290ha farm milking more than 800 cows at Ngatea for Landcorp. He is targeting production of 300,000kg milksolids this season. Mr Haldane has been in the industry for 12 years, including a stint in Australia.

He says working for a corporate farmer like Landcorp has its benefits. “Landcorp provides a good training programme and has given me opportunities to develop and grow; they have also bought into my vision. My return to them has been to meet production targets.”

He is interested in an equity management position in the future, or a farm business manager position.

The second-place getter in the 2009 Auckland Hauraki Farm Manager of the Year, Paul Mahoney, also works for Landcorp at Ngatea – on a 274ha farm milking 670 cows. He won $4700 in cash and prizes. Hikuai farm manager Lesley Shaw placed third, winning $3700 in cash and prizes.

Dairy Trainee of the Year, Ben Rohrlach, is a herd manager for last year’s Auckland Hauraki Sharemilkers of the Year Ciaran and Sarah Tully at Ngatea.

Mr Rohrlach, 26, is new to the industry, having previously been a personal trainer for Les Mills in Auckland. He says he enjoys being able to make a difference in aspects of the farm operation.

“My wife and I decided to go dairying to provide a more prosperous future for our family. The opportunities and growth within the dairy industry matched the skills and vision that we believe in – like growing up in rural New Zealand will provide the best start in life for our children.”

He is currently studying towards a National Certificate in Agriculture and has a goal to own a large herd within five years.

Auckland Hauraki Sharemilkers of the Year Gavin and Sally Roden will host a field day on Wednesday March 25, while Auckland Hauraki Farm Manager of the Year James Haldane will host a field day on the Ngatea farm he manages on Wednesday April 1. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

Sharemilker Merit Awards:

  • Honda ATV Safety Award – Mathew & Jemma Morrissey
  • Nick Hoogeveen & Associates Strategic Planning Award – Jacco & Carmen Verheij
  • Corson Grains Pride in the Property Award – Daniel Bishop & Christine Phillips
  • DairyNZ First Time Entrant Award – Spencer & Antoinette Langdon
  • Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Steve & Andrea Mills
  • Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Leadership Award – Jacco & Carmen Verheij
  • LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Gavin & Sally Roden
  • Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Steve & Andrea Mills
  • Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Gavin & Sally Roden
  • Westpac Business Performance Award – Gavin & Sally Roden

Farm Manager Merit Awards:

  • Harkness Henry Future Aims & Attitude Award – Lesley Shaw
  • DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Paul Mahoney
  • RD1 Farm Management Award – Lesley Shaw
  • Westpac Financial Planning and Management Award – Paul Mahoney

National Infrastructure Unit major step forward for New Zealand farmers

“The establishment of a National Infrastructure Unit (NIU) is good news for farmers if it can facilitate key infrastructure projects in rural New Zealand,” says Don Nicolson, President of Federated Farmers.

“Allowing rural New Zealand the infrastructure to create more wealth for themselves and the country should be a key priority for the NIU as it formulates and monitors the 20-year National Infrastructure Plan.

“Federated Farmers believes the Government and NIU can boost the economy by investing in rural infrastructure such as water storage, roading improvements and rural broadband.

“This has been demonstrated in a study conducted by the Ministry of Economic Development into the Opuha Dam near Fairlie in South Canterbury. This found that for each 1000ha irrigated, some $7.7 million was injected into the local community, 30 jobs were created and household incomes were boosted by $1.2million.

“The NIU should also consider improvements to local roads and state highways and encourage projects that help retain skills within rural areas while stimulating rural productivity and efficiency. This has to be good for us all.

“Further, given that many parts of rural New Zealand rely on dial up internet speeds from the 1990s, it is essential that the NIU is committed to investing in rural broadband to reduce the technological isolation of rural New Zealand.

“Trade is not a one-way street and so rural New Zealand needs all the tools society demands in the 21st Century. After all, the primary sector, the basis of our economy, makes up 64 per cent of all New Zealand exports and deserves infrastructure rollout priority,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

The Old Tram Mt Wesley Dargarville Northland NZ

This old tram has some old memories for me, For many many years it sat on a section in a little bay that was named after it. Tramcar Bay is still called that. As kids my sisters and I used to walk past the old trams that were used as holiday homes for many generations of families. This one was painted a bright pink colour and it used to have flower boxes all around it. The people that owned it were really nice and we used to play with their kids. Then progress caught up and the old tram one day vanished never to be seen again in the little bay.

I found it again in Dargaville 20 years after vanishing - sadly falling apart and now perhaps beyond repair. Once it trundled around the streets of Auckland perhaps or another part of New Zealand.At least though some of the old trams have been restored and saved so we can still enjoy them


The 2009 Northland Sharemilkers of the Year Greg and Phillippa Foster thought their business would benefit by entering the competition, and it has to the tune of $13,100.

The couple won the cash and prizes as well as the kudos gained when they were announced the winners at the Northland Dairy Industry Awards dinner at the Copthorne Hotel, Paihia, last night.

“We entered for the first time this year as we thought our business would benefit from having a more in-depth look into what we do and from the feedback we would receive through the judging process,” they say.

The couple is 50% sharemilking 650 cows for Gordon and Isabel Greenwood at Wellsford, targeting 210,000kg milksolids this season.

They say a strength of their business is the way they work together as a team. “We’re both passionate about the industry and have different strengths that seem to complement each other.

“We’ve also got a strong work ethic and just get stuck in and get the work done.”

Greg Foster, 36, is an electrician by trade and still enjoys a game of rugby. Their goals are to increase their herd size and eventually own their own farm.

Waiotira 50% sharemilkers Shane and Stacey Speedy placed second in the Northland Sharemilker of the Year, winning $5000 in cash and prizes. They run a 515-cow split calving herd for Waireka Dairy Farm and anticipate production of 150,000kg milksolids this season.

Whangarei 50% sharemilkers Gavin and Jennifer Kay placed third, winning $3500 in cash and prizes. They milk 335 cows for John and Jenny Waterhouse and target production of 115,000kg milksolids this year.

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, Honda, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.

The 2009 Northland Farm Managers of the Year winner, Ray and Jenny Wiegersma, and 2009 Northland Dairy Trainee of the Year, Charlotte Barr, were also announced at the awards dinner.

All three winners will now compete for the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year titles and a prize pool of more than $100,000 in Wellington on May 16.

The 2009 Northland Farm Managers of the Year Ray and Jenny Wiegersma manage a 260-cow herd for Martyn and Anne Smith at Hikurangi. They won $6000 in cash and prizes.

They too had never entered the competition before, doing so to gain from the experience. The Wiegersma’s say strengths of their business are their enjoyment of dairy farming and working with livestock. They plan to own their own small herd by the end of 2010 and move into sharemilking.

Kaeo farm manager Mark Clements placed second in the 2009 Northland Farm Manager of the Year, winning $4500 in cash and prizes.

Northland Dairy Trainee of the Year Charlotte Barr has been farming at Ruakaka for former Northland and New Zealand Sharemilkers of the Year, Bruce and Julie Paton, for more than three years working her way up from farm hand to more senior positions. She is now involved in a 260ha farm milking 800 cows and won a $2400 prize package.

“With this position I like having more control over how the farm works. I also enjoy the record-keeping side of it (most of the time) and take pride in getting the herd records up-to-date.”

Miss Barr is currently studying towards the National Certificate in Agriculture through Agriculture ITO and plans to use the qualification to assist her in achieving her goals of sharemilking or equity ownership.

Wellsford trainee Joshua van der Weyden was highly recommended.

Northland Sharemilkers of the Year Greg and Phillippa Foster will host a field day on Thursday March 19, while Northland Farm Managers of the Year Ray and Jenny Wiegersma will host a field day on the Hikurangi farm they manage on Wednesday March 25. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

Sharemilker Merit Awards:

Blue Wing Honda ATV Safety Award – Greg & Phillippa Foster
DairyNZ First Time Entrant Award – Greg & Phillippa Foster
Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Wayne & Sarah Pepper
Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Leadership Award – Ian & Kaysha Bellamy
LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Shane & Stacey Speedy
Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Wayne & Sarah Pepper
Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Gavin & Jennifer Kay
Westpac Business Performance Award – Greg & Phillippa Foster

Farm Manager Merit Awards:

Northland Regional Council Sustainable Land Management Award – Ray & Jenny Wiegersma
DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Mark Clements
RD1 Farm Management Award – Matthew Jarman
Westpac Financial and Planning Award – Mark Clements


End of decline for milk powder prices?

“Today’s increase in the price of whole milk powder reinforces Federated Farmers prediction that commodity prices may be levelling out,” says Lachlan McKenzie, Federated Farmers dairy chairman.

“With the conclusion of Fonterra’s internet-based sales platform, globalDairyTrade, early this morning, the average price achieved across all products and contract periods for whole milk powder was up by 16.6 percent compared with last month.

“Despite this month’s positive outcome, Federated Farmers is still calling for an independent review of the internet-based sales platform.

“When grain and seed prices levelled out at the end of 2008, Federated Farmers predicted the price of whole milk powder would soon follow suit and this appears to now be happening.

“Grain crops seem to be the proverbial canary in the commodities mine, yet current data emerging locally and internationally points to the fact that grain and seed prices are steadily on the increase.

“Federated Farmers believes this is cause for guarded optimism over the price of whole milk powder. While grain and seed prices were the first to fall sharply in early 2008, followed closely by other commodities such as milk powder, they were also the first to level out.

“If the recent decline in on-farm input costs, such as fertiliser and fuel continues, then it is likely the price of whole milk powder will also level out, as appears to be the case from today’s globalDairyTrade.

“However, a transparent assessment of the system by Fonterra for Fonterra supplier-shareholders is still necessary.

"If a review found nothing untoward with the auction system, great. If it did, then any remedial action would likely increase returns back to farmers. After all, that’s why we support a cooperative business to ensure returns get back to farmers.

“I really don’t see what there is to be lost in a review of the auction system by Fonterra for Fonterra supplier-shareholders.

“Federated Farmers is acting in the interests of our members by renewing its call for a review of the online auction system,” Mr McKenzie concluded.

Chicken Breeds we use here on the farm

Maggie May the self-proclaimed Queen of the Mad Bush Farm

Jennifer has asked me what kind of chickens we have here on the farm here's the types we keep here

Black Australorp

By far my favourite breed of chicken. Maggie May is a Black Australorp. Reliable, nice natured and she lays an egg every day except in winter or when she's decided to go broody. Also great for for the dinner table. This breed if you can obtain it I'd highly recommend. The history below is from Wikipedia


Australorp chick (three days old)

The original stock used in the development of the Australorp was imported to Australia from England out of the Black Orpington yards of William Cook and Joseph Partington in the period from 1890 to the early 1900s. Local breeders used this stock together with judicious out-crossings of Minorca, White Leghorn and Langshan blood to improve the utility features of the imported Orpingtons. There is even a report of some Plymouth Rock blood also being used. The emphasis of the early breeders was on utility features. At this time, the resulting birds were known as Black Utility Orpingtons.

The origin of the name "Australorp" seems to be shrouded in as much controversy as the attempts to obtain agreement between the States over a suitable national Standard. The earliest claim to the name was made by one of poultry fancy's institutions, Walter Wallace Scott a.k.a. W.W. Scott, before the First World War. Equally as persuasive a claim came in 1919 from Arthur Harwood who suggested that the "Australian Laying Orpingtons" be named "Australs". The letters "orp" were suggested as a suffix to denote the major breed in the fowls development. A further overseas claim to the name came from Britain's W. Powell-Owen who drafted the British Standard for the breed in 1921 following the importation of the "Australian Utility Black Orpingtons." It is certain that the name "Australorp" was being used in the early 1920s when the breed was launched internationally. In 1929, the Australorp was admitted to the Standard of Perfection.


It was the egg laying performance of Australorps which attracted world attention when in 1922-23 a team of six hens set a world record of 1857 eggs at an average of 309.5 eggs per hen for a 365 consecutive day trial. It must be remembered that these figures were achieved without the lighting regimes of the modern intensive shed. Such performances had importation orders flooding in from England, United States of America, South Africa, Canada and Mexico. Well looked after Australorps lay approximately 250 light-brown eggs per year. A new record was set when a hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days.

Golden-laced Wyandotte

Feather pictured above is a Golden-laced Wyandotte. Great nature, a great egg layer and another great breed for meat as well. I'd also go for this breed as well. The information below is from Wikipedia


The Wyandotte is a medium sized breast with a rose comb and clean legs. The chicken feathers are broad and loosely fitting. The area around the vent is very fluffy. The legs are yellow, although some silver laced may have grey.


There are eight colors recognized by the APA (American Poultry Association) which are golden laced, silver laced, white, black, buff, Columbian, partridge and silver penciled. In bantams there is also buff Columbian, black breasted red, blue red, lemon blue, barred,brown red, and birchen that are recognized by the American Bantam Association. However, there are more colors than that which are either recognised by similar organisations in other countries like the PCGB (Poultry Club of Great Britain). These colors include blue laced red and buff laced. Overall there are 17 colors.

Silver Laced Wyandotte chick (three days old)


The Wyandotte is a breed that suits both free range and confinement in a run. They occasionally go broody. They tend to be quite friendly, and not flighty, and so make good pets for people. They are also very vocal, uttering soft clucks on a regular basis.

Utility aspects

The hens (females) will lay around 200 eggs a year with an exceptional hen laying around 240 eggs a year. The eggs are brown or tinted. The hens weigh around 6 pounds and the cocks weigh around 8 1/2 pounds. The hens also make great setters. It is sometimes difficult for natural insemination to occur, due to the number and thickness of feathers in the tail area. for the same reason, they are prone to accumulation of feaces on vent-area feathers that needs to be regularly washed off, or the vent could become clogged.

We also have Brown Shavers which are a commercial laying breed but their laying lives are very short. After around 18 months old their egg quatlity begins to drop but they can lay for a couple of years after. I've found that the commercial breeds are more prone to diseases and laying complications. If anyone elso has some suggestions please add it onto the comments and I'll update this post as we go. Thanks guys!

Hint on chickens: Worming every three months with Aviderm (available from your local veterinary clinic) will prolong the life of the birds and prevent health complications and/or death. Don't consume eggs or meat for ten days after administering this product.

Bridget from Cabbage Tree Farm Has Indian Game & Araucana Chickens

Indian Game or Cornish

Cornish (chicken)

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Dark Cornish Cock
Dark Cornish Hen

The Cornish, known as the Indian Game in its native country of England, is a breed of chicken originating in the county of Cornwall. Cornish chickens, as well as crosses of Cornishes, are the most-used breed in the chicken meat industry. They are heavy, muscular birds that lay eggs poorly, and require substantial amounts of feed.

It is a large, stocky breed, and is often crossed with other breeds to enhance meat production. There are two varieties, the Cornish Game and the Jubilee Cornish Game. The Cornish Game is dark blue - green in colour, with brown patterning on the hens. Jubilee Cornish Game are much lighter, and less stocky than their counterparts. They are usually light wheaten in colour, with light brown patterning.The Indian game, also known as Cornish, is sometimes called the bulldog among chickens; you can actually see the roast chicken shape in it. It was created because people wanted to cross the Asian game breeds with old English game to create a fantastic fighter. However what they got, though not the right build for fighting was a fantastic meat bird. It comes in many colours and is quite a popular show bird, though it has a tendency for bad legs due to widely spaced hips. It is also when crossed with a Sussex or a Dorking, an excellent backyard meat bird.


The Araucana, also known as a South American Rumpless,[1] is a breed of chicken originating in Chile. The Araucana is often confused with other fowl, especially the Ameraucana and Easter Egger chickens, but has several unusual characteristics which distinguish it. They lay blue eggs, have feather tufts near their ears, and are rumpless.


The ancestors of the modern Araucana chicken were purportedly first bred by the Araucanians Indians of Chile -- hence the name "Araucana." The Araucana as we know it today is a hybrid of two South American breeds: the Collonca (a naturally blue-egg laying, rumpless, clean-faced chicken) and the Quetros (a pinkish-brown egg layer that is tailed and has ear-tufts). The Collonca male and female are very similar, with very few secondary sexual characteristics like comb, wattles or tail coverts to distinguish them. Naturally, after centuries of introgression with other South American races, for example, Quechua, Huapi, Ona and Mapuche, South American Indian villages Colloncas are more often than not, composites. The Quetro or Quetero is also nearly combless but the sexes are markedly dichromatic. The male of both Colloncas and Quetero have unusual voices. The Quetero has a multi-syllabilic laughing crow. Colloncas have a slightly musical crow. Muffs and beards are present in most South American domestic fowl. The European equivalent of the North American show standard variety Araucana is what one comes across in South American villages. Quechua and Mapuche do not have tufts and resemble the Ameraucana. The Quechua is larger, and more powerfully built. It is shaped more like a game fowl than the Mapuche which is smaller, lighter and less domesticated in the sense that it is a semi-feral bird while the Quechua is a domestic bird reared for meat and eggs.

The current world wide Araucana standard (except North America) indicates a medium to large sized chicken with a tail that lays bluish-green eggs. Specific features are feather ear tufts, muffs and beards, with a very much reduced comb, a small feather crest and a complete absence of wattles. The current North American standard calls for a chicken that is rumpless (missing their last vertebrae and lacking a tail), possesses ear-tufts (feathers that grow out from near the birds' ears), and lays blue eggs. In the United States and Canada, muffs, beards, and tails are all disqualifications.

Araucanas are often confused with two other types of colored-egg-laying chickens: Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers.

The Ameraucana should also lay blue eggs, but unlike the Araucana it has a tail and possesses muffs and a beard, which are quite different from the tufts of the Araucana, and no feather crest. Muffs and beards are fluffy poofs that grow on the cheeks and chin of the bird, whereas tufts are actual feathers that grow from fleshy lobes called peduncles on either side of the birds' face. Tufts are associated with a lethal gene, which makes them difficult to attain.

The Easter Egg Chicken is not an actual breed; the term refers to any bird that lays colored eggs. The vast majority of birds sold as "Araucanas" or "Ameraucanas" are actually neither. Instead, they are mixed breeds with no APA (American Poultry Association) Standard that lay colored eggs, ranging from bluish and greenish to pinkish-brown, and sometimes even tan, gray or white.

The Araucana's eggs are not more nutritious than eggs of other colors (despite popular myth), but the birds are reliable layers of medium-sized eggs. The Araucana, if hand-raised specifically, is extremely well-tempered, calm and trusting.

Latest FTA talks good news for New Zealand farmers

The announcement that formal talks between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea over a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) are to begin shortly represents a shot in the arm for New Zealand’s farmers,” says Don Nicolson, President of Federated Farmers.

“On the back of deals with China and ASEAN nations, and with negotiations already underway with the US and India, this is exactly the right medicine for the NZ economy in these uncertain times.

“The two-way trade between the countries reached $US1.9 billion in 2007 so an FTA agreement with this country is of the utmost importance for not only farmers, but also wider New Zealand.

“The economies of the Republic of Korea and New Zealand are among the most complementary of any two trading partners in Asia-Pacific. New Zealand is a world leader in producing food of the highest quality more efficiently than anyone else and our food is in demand in this region,” Mr Nicolson concluded.


Me and My Pitchfork

Oh a garden for us to wreck? What fun we'll have - not

I love my old pitchfork. It's helped me to dig up some really bad soil in the past. Here on the farm the soil is rock hard clay and not much else. Topsoil barely gets a look in. Five years ago the old pitchfork was used to create a fantastic vegetable garden. For two summers the kids and I ate very well from that wonderful garden - then I started working again. Say goodbye to time for anything least of all the gardens. Everything went to the weeds and not much else. A couple of weeks back though I decided it was time to resurrect that old garden once more.

After several doses of glyphosphate the weeds finally gave up trying to grow back and breathed their noxious last - clearing the way for me and Mr Pitchfork to start ripping out the dried dead remains of Miss Californian Thistle 2009 and her deceased friends. Underneath is actual soil? A couple of years of potato growing helped a lot and loads of horse and cow manure added in as well improved the horrible clay no end. I'm still digging it over as you can see in the photo. It's not a small area either. Once it's all done and the ground is all turned over and fertilised I'll be rigging a six wire electric fence around it to keep the chickens and the turkeys out. Maggie is still trying to get into the other much smaller garden but is slowly but surely getting the message. Fence bites stay out chicken. Mr Screech won't be able to eat the garden either. He's cunning and waits now until dark to eat the plants. I haven't been able to get a photo of him lately the kids keep chasing him is why - he picks on the cats a lot so the kids get mad at him.

These two have found out all about Mr Screech and his big snappy beak. Yowie and Saaquatch are now three months old and causing twice as much trouble. They're headed back to the vets this week for their last vaccinations then in April they'll be having another appointment to get fixed. Cats and kittens are a big No No here on the farm. They all get desexed. Kaite and Buffy my Mum's two kittens will be done at the same time. I'm still convinced this farm has become an insane asylum. Six cats causing havoc around here? Enough said. I'll leave you with those two above after they had a wonderful time tearing up my sofa.


Success for Federated Farmers Farm Day

With the conclusion of today’s inaugural Federated Farmers Farm Day, a big thank you goes out to everyone involved in making the event a success,” says Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers President.

“The farmers who opened their gates up to the public with the goal of reconnecting our urban and rural communities are congratulated for the work they put in to organising the day. As are the dozens of volunteers who gave their time up to show guests around each of the 25 diverse farms that hosted a Federated Farmers Farm Day.

“A big thank you must also go to those members of the public who donned their gumboots and headed on to the farm to see what real farmers do, each and every day.

“We were very impressed with the enthusiasm and attitude shown by every visitor. We hope they were inspired by rural New Zealand and went away with a better understanding of the important role agriculture plays in each and every one of our lives.

“I know every farmer involved with Federated Farmers Farm Day relished the opportunity to have a yarn and tell their stories to these visitors.

“Despite poor weather in some parts of the country, hundreds of families visited a Federated Farmers Farm Day across New Zealand. The first ever Farm Day was a tremendous success and we can now focus on making next year’s event bigger and better,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

Go to bed Maggie!

He'd rather be sound asleep with his mum than doing this silly show thing Highland Calf at the Paparoa A & P Show

Maggie has decided now the chicken house isn't good enough - again! Were I a true farmer as in where's the axe Maggie would be in my pot by now. Of course not my kids would never talk to me again. Last night there she was roosting outside the house looking at me as if I had done something horribly wrong. Of course I had - she can't raid our new garden anymore, so now it's stare at the hooman through the rather dirty looking ranchslider glass. I'll have to clean it I guess too many fingerprints and dust from summer are telling me it needs attention. Despite several attempts by me to put Maggie into the chook house she wasn't having a bar of it. So there outside the window she stayed. The hooman was foiled.

His Mum though didn't mind being shown off by her owners

Yesterday was a day of nothingness I watched a movie, read a fantastic book titled The Zoo War written by my very close friend Lisa for the third time (I love it thank you Lisa!), then put up with the Terrorist complaining about the rain. I put her cover back on for a couple of hours and that seemed to keep her happy. Normally I don't spoil my calves this one though has been spoilt rotten - little toad. I enjoyed my day thoroughly - nothing to do but relax, read, and enjoy a very good movie As Good as it Gets with Jack Nicholson. One of the best films ever produced as least I think so anyway. Worth a watch if you haven't seen it already. And I have just watched Maggie attempt to raid the garden and get yet another shock off the fence. She'll learn...eventually!