We support Porridge and Rice.
Charity Number 1155841
I don't really have a farm. I don't even have a small holding. I just keep a number of small animals as pets that I share with the public in aid of the charity Porridge and Rice a few times a year when I am not tutoring maths, english or another subject as KS Learning.
I live in Whitton in the UK about 10 minutes from Heathrow between Hounlsow and Twickenham in Greater London. I live with my wife, 3 children, 1 dog, 2 rabbits, 7 Pekin ducks, a flock of Pekin bantam chickens, 4 chinchillas, several guinea pigs, a group of African Pygmy hedgehogs, and numerous birds like a number of budgies, various finches, diamond doves, Zebra doves, and Chinese painted quails.
I am not a vet, but I am happy to share the knowledge I have acquired through personal experience. So whether you want to know about keeping chickens, breeding guinea pigs or how to care for a pet dove, please feel free to ask.
I let my chickens wander around the garden on sunny days periodically so they are free range chickens. They help keep my garden free of pests and in return my family and I receive free range eggs from my own free range chickens. The ducks also get to roam the garden but they seem to enjoy grazing the grass more than looking for snails and other garden pests. There is something very relaxing about watching the chickens and duck range freely around the garden. Our dog is so used to them in the garden, that she ignores them.
I breed some of the animals I keep to improve my stock. I sell extra animals to people looking for a pet or hobby breeders like myself. Keeping my animals is very expensive especially when they need the attention of the vet; selling extra stock helps with costs of keeping my animals, albeit only a little. It is a wonderful hobby but not a business. If you are looking for something that I breed and it isn't listed, contact me to find out whether I have stock as it can sometimes take a while for me to update my For Sale page.
I welcome visitors by arrangement either to buy or pet an animal. If it is the latter, all I ask is a donation for the charity I support, Porridge and Rice, which supports schools in the Nairobi slums in Kenya. Please contact me if you wish to visit to see an animal for sale or just to pet a chicken, a duck, or a rabbit
I arrange open days 3 to 4 days a year when people can visit to see and pet my animals for themselves. There are usually other activities on these open days like face painting, balloon modelling, and henna with all proceeds going to the charity, Porridge and Rice. So far, we have had some wonderful days with lots of people enjoying the opportunity to hold and pet the animals, and learn more about the work that the entrance fees will support.
Fertile chicken and quail eggs are available free to schools in return for a donation to the charity Porridge and Rice and I will rehome any unwanted chicks. Furthermore, if you have any additional poultry and small animals looking for a new home, please contact me to rehome them.
Finally, 'Hello' from the ducks at 64.
The Pet Budgie
Not only are they beautiful, but budgies are intelligent and inquisitive making wonderful pets.
There is something tremendously relaxing seeing chickens scratching around the garden looking for bugs or worms.
Generally they are easy to breed, they don't have to be expensive to buy and the cages and equipment can all be purchased for sensible money.
Cute and friendly, provided they are properly cared for, rabbits can make good pets for adults and children.
Helsinki has seen a boom in the population of Siberian flying squirrels in the past two years.
The city's Environment Centre says that the number of flying squirrel habitats has more than tripled in Helsinki's northwest, from a dozen during the last count, to 39 this year. The biggest increase has been in the city's wooded Central Park.
"It's clear that after many decades of absence the flying squirrel has returned in droves to the capital," says Esa Nikunen, the centre's director.
BBC News, 27 October 2016, Read more
Amphioctopus marginatus, also known as the coconut octopus. Its common name comes from its habit of hiding in discarded coconut shells.
With a few of its suckers, this octopus is holding two halves of a clamshell. It drops them and climbs out of the shell. Its body is the size of your thumb, its arms perhaps three times that.
As it moves onto the sand, it turns a matching shade of dark gray. It snakes several of its arms over the sand, and the rest over the shell. With a single heave, it flips the shell back over and flows inside.
National Geographic, 26 October 2016, Read more
Scores of spectacular and rare under sea species have been found by expeditions this year to some of the deepest trenches in the Pacific Ocean.
They include strange purple orbs, "mud monsters" and a bizarre swimming sea cucumber reminiscent of a flying Mary Poppins.
Another voyage found around 500 new undersea methane vents off the US west coast. This doubles the number of known seeps, bubbling up a powerful greenhouse gas. The gas vents were found by an expedition mounted by Dr Robert Ballard.
BBC News, 20 October 2016, Read more
Milk from Tasmanian devils could offer up a useful weapon against antibiotic-resistant superbugs, according to Australian researchers.
The marsupial's milk contains important peptides that appear to be able to kill hard-to-treat infections, including MRSA, say the Sydney University team.
Experts believe devils evolved this cocktail to help their young grow stronger. The scientists are looking to make treatments that mimic the peptides. They have scanned the devil's genetic code to recreate the infection-fighting compounds, called cathelicidins.
BBC News, 18 October 2016, Read more
A virus stole the gene coding for the poison of black widow spiders, scientists have found.
The WO virus exclusively infects bacteria - and is harmless to animals. Yet it possesses genes that are closely related to ones found in insects and spiders. The virus probably uses the genes to help it infiltrate animal cells to reach the bacteria.
WO targets the bacterium known as Wolbachia, which in turn infects the cells of insects and spiders. The virus pinched a gene that codes for latrotoxin, the poison used by black widow spiders,
BBC News, 12 October 2016, Read more
After 400 years, beavers have returned to Britain, and are rapidly proving their worth.
On a June morning, I met Richard Brazier and his colleague Alan Puttock in Devon. After a short walk through fields, we came across the plot of land. Five years ago, tall trees like birch and aspen cast a shadow on the plants below, sapping their life.
Things have changed. Lopsided willow trees dominate, and a thick blanket of green foliage erupts from the peaty soil. Flora and fauna is flourishing, as foxgloves rise high from the purple moor grass.
BBC News, 9 October 2016, Read more
More than 100 scientists from 28 countries have called for global action to protect seagrass meadows.
Seagrasses are flowering plants that form dense underwater beds in shallow water. Distinct from seaweed, the plants provide shelter and food for a large range of animals, including fish, marine mammals and birds.
Many seagrass meadows have been lost because of human activities, say researchers. In a statement, the scientists said: "Seagrass meadows are important fish nurseries and key fishing grounds around the world.
BBC News, 9 October 2016, Read more
The common toad is in decline across much of the UK and needs better protection, say conservationists.
Data from toad patrols - volunteers who move toads across busy roads - shows the toad population has fallen by more than two-thirds since the 1980s.
Once common in the British countryside, the amphibian is now on the brink of qualifying for protection as a vulnerable species, a study suggests.
Factors in its loss include urban sprawl and habitat fragmentation.
BBC News, 6 October 2016, Read more
The seas around Britain may be getting so noisy that fish species like cod and haddock now have some difficulty communicating with each other.
And if their chatter is being obscured, it could hamper their ability to breed.
Steve Simpson and colleagues are testing the idea by dragging hydrophones through coastal waters to record the marine soundscape.
It has long been recognised that large marine mammals are susceptible to noise pollution - as are coral reef fish.
BBC News, 5 October 2016, Read more
The British Hedgehog is in dramatic decline. A quarter of the population has been lost in the last 10 years, and the trend may continue.
Despite the bad news, it is possible for people to help the British Hedgehog fight back. Watch this video from an expert to learn how to encourage hedgehogs to visit your garden while at the same time helping them in their fight for survival.
Remember that hedgehogs are wild animals and should not be approached, touched, or captured. Provided you sit quietly and do not make any sudden movements, they will normally not mind being watched.