Monday, 30 January 2017

The bacon cure recipe and prisoner hens

  Hello All
Firstly here is the recipe and method for the home cured bacon (courtesy of Cro)
Mix 2 parts sea salt to 1 part brown sugar some crushed black pepper and a good pinch of dried herbs.
 Day 1. Rub this mix all over your pork joint and place in a shallow dish (reserving a little of the mixture).
Day 2 Pour off any liquid and rub in remaining mixture.
 Day 4 wash off the salt mix , pat dry and wrap in muslin. hang in a cool dry place for 2 weeks.
I left the rind on for the curing  and removed it for cooking as it was very hard.
I used a piece of belly pork from half a pig I bought from a friend, but see no reason why you couldn't buy  a piece from the butcher to have a go.  Good Luck if you give it a go.

The chickens are still "cooped up"( I suppose that is the origin of the expression) I have put duct tape over the words"Free Range" on the sign by the road, but am sure that few people understand why. The news reports by Defra, the newspapers and the TV have been dire and sketchy at best.. How many people know (or care)  that we have had more cases of Bird Flu in the country? I wonder what we are suppose to do after 28th February, the date set in the new year for keeping the birds in. We have had four more cases since then but no notification of extending the deadline.
Anyway, I thought I would share the plight of my girls, and goodness knows they are better off than many. The goat house (which hasn't housed a goat since Annie died 4 years ago) is now given over to them. Three breeding doe rabbits now share the house, but we have had to cancel the piglets we ordered and the early cade lambs.
Here is the door to the house, The top is usually open, but the girls can easily jump out when it is. Our major concern is that the swallows arrive in April/May and use this entrance to come and go from the nests they build in the eaves here every year.
At the entrance is a tray, usually used to stand plant pots in, which has a sheet of carpet in the bottom and Jeyes Fluid diluted at the rate of 20 to 1 with water. The container and brush at the side is for cleaning boots etc if necessary.
I'm really chuffed that Jeyes Fluid is approved for footbaths etc for Avian Flu as it is so easily available. I bought 1 litre for £5.45 at Lidl last week.. bargain!
I have turned the small hutches, usually used for young chicks or kits into laying places, stapling black material over the netting an gaps between hutches to encourage the hens to lay in clean bedding.

 Towards the rear of this picture is an large hutch. I am using this as a vermin-proof place to keep some stores. ...Apples, marrows, pumpkins and onions in particular. I'm a little worried that the number of chickens will be increasing the temperature around the veg and they will not keep as well, so I have started to use this particular store. As you can see they birds are eating some soft apples here
 Here we look towards the door. You will notice that we have perspect roofing, which means that we are getting eggs now ( with some artificial light from 5 until 7) While I am complaining on behalf of the birds, the set up actually helps me as there is both electricity and water in the goathouse, meaning I can do all I need to do for their comfort in one place.
      The "bushes " you can see against the wall is a bamboo that I have tied up there to dry and was going to process into canes before the Avian Flu overtook us.                                                                                                                                                  
If this post has done nothing else it will have heartened those who thought THEIR smallholdings were untidy !!!
Back soon


  1. A few blogs I have read that have chickens, they are always the same what to do ?
    What comes next. All I can say is Good luck !

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Thanks Parsnip! We still don't know what is happening and there have been a couple more cases. Which isn't a lot but still should impose further sanctions.

  2. Can't imagine, never having kept chickens. But you seem to be doing well, I hope everything turns out well for you!

    1. Thanks Annie. I am luckier than most with having the barn

  3. I don't know how one can stop the bacon rind becoming so hard. You didn't say what you thought of the final product!

    We were discussing having a few hens again in Spring, but decided against. It takes away the fun when you constantly receive letters about disease etc.

    1. I don't think it matters too much re. the rind as the bacon is so delicious!
      I can't imagine our life without hens, which are usually pretty much trouble-free and if your flock is less than 50 is pretty much defra-free re interference! Now pigs on the other hand...!

  4. My three are eating themselves silly in their long coop and runs, which have plastic covers on top. The smallholder over the road lets them out for an hour just before dark. As you say there is hardly any news as to when the confinement will end.

    1. I have noticed that I am having to give the girls more food, but they usually do quite a bit of foraging so it is not surprising. Don't really understand how letting them out in the evening keeps them safe from the virus which is carried by wild bird feaces/urine!

  5. I see in the paper today that there is now bird flu in Lancashire.

  6. Thank you for posting this. We're finding the temporary accommodation is becoming more and more permanent and too are thinking of cancelling the piglet order.
    Love the cure recipe, I shall refer back to it when we're ready :) thanks.

    1. I keep making adjustments to our girls housing/ comfort too.
      Hope all over soon and we can get our babies!

  7. Up here in Lancashire 2 farms have been detected as having the Avian Flue and had their entire stock of pheasants, ducks and chickens culled.

    1. I understand that the outbreaks are fairly close together, let's home they can be contained. It must be devastaing to have a flock culled.

  8. Gill I do feel sorry for you and your girls, I can't imagine what a nuisance it is for everyone in the UK with poultry

  9. We recently butchered our own hogs (with instruction & help from a mentor) - every darn part of it is goodness. We brined bacon & hams for 9 & 12 days, then our frutcher smoked them for us.
    Oh Lordy, how we do love bacon.
    I've found your blog through an evening spent dawdling & can't recall how I got here... which happens to me more than one would think.
    I'll be back to visit; stop by the 4Shoes anytime!

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