Saturday, 12 September 2015

Summer Treats: Iceblocks for Chickens

By Chris R.  

Overhead sprinklers

Summer is on the way and many animals can suffer in hot conditions if not given appropriate care.  Birds can become ill and even pass away during hot spells, so it is essential to keep them as cool as possible.

We use a combination of methods to keep our feathered residents cool.  We ensure that chickens have an overhead sprinkler which is activated every few hours and frozen cool drink bottles are placed in water containers to keep water palatable – hens will often refuse to drink hot water, resulting in dehydration. 

Frozen food blocks are great fun, providing a cooling treat for heat weary chickens. Ice treats for chickens can be made easily - place frozen corn, peas or muesli (or a mix of all three) in a takeaway food container (filling about half way), top up with water and freeze overnight. Offer different ingredients throughout summer to maintain interest and also include your chickens' favourite foods. Some people hang treats from a string to give birds a challenge.

Frozen corn treat

During the heat of the day, nothing beats a few hours in an air-conditioned room or a cool bathroom to comfort heat stressed poultry.  A retreat inside, especially for older or ailing individuals, can save their lives.

Recipe: Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

By Chris R.

Sweet potatoes can be inexpensive and are delicious in many recipes, especially soup.  Here we have used white sweet potato to create a quick and simple taste sensation.

-1kg of white sweet potato, peeled and diced
-1 brown onion, peeled and chopped
-750mL chicken stock (Massell chicken stock cubes have no animal content)
-1 tbsp vegetable oil
-Salt and pepper to taste

-Saute onion in oil over a low heat until transparent.  Add stock and potato and boil for an hour, covered, on low heat.
-Cool slightly then blend well in a food processor or blender until creamy, adding salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
-Serve with warm garlic bread.

World Animal Day - 4 October 2015

By Chris R.
Sunday the 4th of October marks World Animal Day. This event was developed with a mission to raise the status of animals, in order to improve animal welfare standards around the globe.  World Animal Day is celebrated in different ways in every country, irrespective of nationality, religion, faith or political ideology. Through increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are recognised as sentient beings and full regard is paid to their welfare.

Possum Valley will celebrate World Animal Day by spending the day planting a range of possum and bird friendly shrubs, including bottlebrush, emu bush and banksia.  These plants can be used for forage for both the wild animals with which we share the property and also for the enrichment of animals in care. 

We ask our supporters to post a picture of their favourite animal on our Facebook page, sharing their love for the creatures with which we share the planet. 

Finally, we will also be attending the Human Chain Rally to prevent live exports, see: for further information.

For more information on World Animal Day and how to get involved, see:

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Christmas Craft: Nature Baubles

With Christmas approaching in a few months, we have been making Christmas decorations for the Possum Valley tree. Nature Baubles are a wonderful way to bring some of the native outdoors inside at Christmas time.
- Plastic or glass baubles: We chose plastic, as it is a safer option. The plastic baubles are also sold in two halves, making them easier to decorate. We purchased our baubles on EBay from the ‘Pack It In’ store.
- Decorative ribbons: We selected natural colours, but you can choose whichever colours you like.
- Supa Glue, or any glue suitable for sticking plastics.
- Judi Kins Diamond Glaze. This is available at craft stores and online. It is water based glue which can be used as a glaze or sealant and dries with a shine.
- String
- Natural materials: dried leaves, small gumnuts, dried flowers, etc. Ensure the materials are completely dry.
- Acrylic Paint: We used Jo Sonja’s gold paint, and ‘crystal’ and ‘silver’ glitter paints made by Hunter Studio (available from Target or K-Mart).
- Glitter: Any glitter you like. We used Cosmic Shimmer Glitter Jewels, a chunkier, crystal like glitter which is sold in small jars. We bought ours on EBay.

- Decorate the inside of your plastic bauble by painting small areas with the crystal glitter paint. Alternatively, paint a thin film of glue or Diamond Glaze on inside areas of the bauble and sprinkle with glitter to achieve a sparkling ‘snowy’ effect. Leave to dry.
- Paint some of your collected natural materials. Leave to dry. You can use them without painted highlights if you prefer.

- Place your collected materials in one half of the bauble. Add a pinch or two of loose glitter. 
- Place Supa Glue around the seam of one half of the bauble. Don’t use more than a few drops as it will ooze out when the halves are sealed and may stick to the items in your bauble. Click the bauble together to permanently secure the glue. Wipe away any excess that leaks out.  Leave to dry.
- Feed some string through the holes at the top of the bauble. Then tie ribbons around the top to hide the hole. Secure the ribbon with Supa Glue. You can also glue ribbons around the side of the bauble to hide the join.

Nature baubles are a great way to remember special events such as a holiday. Chris and Mark recently returned from Denmark with a wonderful of collection of natural items to use. You can also include photographs, toys or other keepsakes inside the baubles. A lovely addition to any Christmas tree or mantle.