Peregrine Falcons & Silage bales.

Farmers and silage contractors put in a huge amount of effort when making their silage for winter fodder. So after all the work that has been done out in the field, and then bringing the bales in to be wrapped in plastic and then carefully stacked so they won’t tear, the bales are now safe in the yard, poised and ready for winter use. Hah! Not so. If the silage wrap gets torn the bale/bales are in danger of becoming spoiled by becoming mouldy and inedible when outside air disturbs the fermenting process. Even a little hole, made by a teeny-weeny little mouse can destroy all or part of the bale if not spotted in time.

RatSo what kind of animals nibble on the silage bales and what can be done about it. Well, lots of animals like rats, rabbits, mice, birds, cats etc. So for the smaller rodents they can be more easily controlled by the astute positioning of bait boxes or traps. Cats are great at catching these little guys are their natural prey, but cats are also pretty good at sharpening their claws on the silage bales too, which isn’t desirable!

Peregrine FalconSo then onto the birds, how to deal with these guys. Well I guess if you had all day with nothing to do you could just hang around your yard with a shotgun and make it a ‘no fly zone’ and invent interesting recipes such as crow pie, raven stew or pigeon stir fry. I don’t know many, or even any, farmers with that sort of free time. We did try using close mesh netting but it wasn’t satisfactory. So we were discussing our ‘flying rodent’ problem with a good friend of ours who is a silage contractor and he recommended the use of a ‘dummy Peregrine Falcon’.

Peregrines are about the size of a crow, but are very adept hunters and generally attack their prey during flight from above, at speed, killing it with a closed claw and then retrieving it mid-air or when it hits the ground. That is why it is important that you have your ‘dummy Peregrine Falcon’ perched on something to give it an elevated position simulating it’s stance hunting in the wild. You also should move it about a bit, so ‘familiarity doesn’t breed contempt’ with the birds you are trying to keep off your bales. As he explained it has to be a Peregrine Falcon because they are the type of bird of prey that hunt crows and ravens. So don’t go out and buy another type of dummy bird of prey because they won’t work, I’m told. You can buy a ‘dummy Peregrine Falcon’ in any hunting or fishing equipment shop.

Irish Times Feature.

Well much to our surprise we featured in the Irish Times magazine article “100 Things to do in Ireland this Summer”! It was a giant list of all sorts of things you could do to keep yourself busy in Ireland whilst enjoying some summer madness… and fun! We were number 66 but I don’t think there was any particular order. You can read the article by clicking here.

A Fantastic Article in the Sunday Independent!

One Sunday recently a lady I didn’t know came into the Shop and was asking all sorts of informed and ‘loaded’ questions. The Shop was busy and I couldn’t really give her my full attention, but as I dealt with customers one by one, she explained that she was Lucinda O’Sullivan from the Sunday Independent and could she have quick conversation with Michael and I. “Of course” I said and after phoning Michael, “he’s just mixing some concrete” wondering how long Michael’s “five minutes” would be this time! But Michael arrived on the scene promptly and showed Lucinda all the animals around the farmyard while I looked after the customers.

When there was a break in customer “traffic” we sat down around the picnic table outside the Shop, in the scorchingly beautiful heat and had a chat about farming, the way the winter went for us,  the fodder crisis at the time, the Shop, our suppliers, how we started, how it’s going and what our plans are for the future. Due credit to Lucinda she listened to us rabbit on about our daily life and wrote the most fantastic article, that just hit the nail on the head. Our friends on Twitter @kilmullenfarm put it nicely when they said: “Great article, a balance of the dreams and realities that face farmers..”. Which sums it up, in a nutshell, you can click here to read the article.

The Sunday independent Article 23.6.13

We feel so fortunate to receive this kind of media attention, it is a real boon to our business and what we are trying to do here, because we are only ordinary farmers facing the daily trials and realities of farming life like countless others, and we count our blessings everyday.