Jubilant Jess and the Catfish Caper!

Back in 2006 we introduced the first fish to our three empty lakes. They hadn’t been empty when we’d seen them prior to buying Les Fragnes (apart from one lake which had been drained and so was even empty of water!) but when we became the proud owners of them just over nine years ago, they were completely fishless. So we put in carp and catfish, one of the latter in each lake.

I’ve hunted all over to find a photo of the catfish as it was going into Notaire’s Lake as I know I have a pic somewhere of it curled up in a plastic box about to be put in the water. He wasn’t very big, twenty pounds or so we think, possibly less, but look at him now! Eighty-eight pounds, almost forty kilos.

jess catfish

Angler Jess Hay of Morley finally got our catfish out of Notaire’s Lake and onto the bank. Plenty of anglers have hooked into him but lost him so it was only last week when he made his first appearance on dry land in nine years! Jess had come prepared with a catfish rod and all the trimmings, but she caught him on her carp rod on boilies hand-rolled by husband Jordan.

Jordy helped Jess get the catfish, which she has named Big Bad Barry, out of the lake and their two sons Luca and Ashton were there to help hold BBB for the photos.

Needless to say she was thrilled, and so were we. I missed the event as I was out with Rors, but I saw video and all the photos. And I got to give Jess her well-deserved champagne.
jess champagne1

I wonder how big he’ll be next time he’s caught…

Turkey Tales and Trials

I can always tell when the work/life balance is tending towards work/work again – it’s when I haven’t been blogging for a while. This is only my second blog this month. :-( Now, please don’t think I’m whining about working. I recently saw the definition of an entrepreneur as someone who works 80 hours a week for themselves rather than 40 hours for someone else, and it’s perfectly true, as well as being willingly undertaken! So it can be easy to let work take over, and let slogging swamp blogging.

Anyway, lots has been happening on every front, but especially on the turkey front. I’ve finally succeeded in hatching some turkey eggs in the incubator. I still haven’t got a baby Rouge Ardennes, but I think I may have some cross-breeds.

lucky turkey3 eggshell

Now, my two Rouge turkey hens had been sitting on eggs – their own and some chicken eggs. The hens will always nip in and lay an egg on a pile that’s growing nicely in readiness for someone to go broody on them. They hatched a couple of hen chicks between them. So I had high hopes for the turkey eggs – until the black turkey hen lost the plot and trashed the other turkeys’ nests. I came in to find her attacking the two little chicks, and she’d kicked eggs everywhere. Most were stone cold and some were cracked but I gathered as many as I could and got them into the incubator, which already had a few eggs in it! I wasn’t over confident about anything happening, but in total five hatched!

turkey chicks outside

One of these was from a badly broken egg. I’d actually been about to throw it away but saw the baby’s beak moving. Caiti and I helped it hatch about 36 hours later as we could see the inner membrane was going hard and shrink-wrapping the baby. He’d have no hope of hatching on his own. This isn’t something you should do unless absolutely necessary. Chicks are best left to hatch on their own, and under normal circumstances shouldn’t need any intervention at all.

lucky turkey1

Out of those five we have two survivors. Not a great success rate, but I’ve learned that I probably wasn’t keeping them warm enough. Turkeylets do love it hot. I’ve invested in a rather wonderful brooder – an Ecoglow brooder from Brinsea – which works better than the red lamp and the hot water bottle combo I’d been using perviously. I’m still on a steep learning curve with my turkeys.