This was the third visit of Mark Davis from Cuttlebrook Koi Farm (http://www.cuttlebrookkoifarm.co.uk) to our Kangei club. It was attended by almost thirty members (plus additional guest Lee Burrough's - Tommy2Ponds) which is a true sign of how interesting and informative these nights are.
For the first hour, showed us a superb presentation starting with a quick history about his hands-on experience about koi farming and appreciation whilst working on farms in Japan. This continued into the specific selection of the location for the current Cuttlebrook koi farm in Thame, Oxfordshire because the clay soil would give the koi all of the nutrients and minerals in the natural mud ponds. Mark then focused the core of the presentation relating to the complete breeding life cycle on the farm. This included
- The spawning itself plus the hand striping of eggs if the female experiences difficulties plus the artificial fertilisation with a feather because it's more gentle
- The eggs attaching to the spawning brushes and hatching
- How they grow the hatchlings into one inch koi before the first selection.
- The numbers of fry for selection at this first stage could be upto 500k. Initially each selected koi was manually caught and transferred into a further growing on area. Even with a large supporting team this would take upto one week of long twelve hour days.
- The introduction of Suzy Sucker reduced this significantly because the selected koi can simply be sucked up by the small air hose and collected ready to go into into the mud ponds for growing on.
- The koi fry then go into mud ponds. The initial ~500k koi fry down will be reduced to around 30 after seven rounds of selection.
During the break, it was the last chance for members to enter the "Garden Show - Judge It For Yourself". Pictures of all the koi entered were laid out within their variety and size along with some judging sheets so all the members could judge for themselves.
The night finished off with a questions and answers session, with Mark giving good, honest advise on all things Koi. A couple of topics of real interest was the use of air-lift (with venting of air) and also the very timely feeding advice for approaching / during winter.
Mark's delivery was extremely humble. It was clear to see the precision, knowledge and experience (not to mention round the clock effort by Mark and Lisa) that have gone into creating Cuttlebrook Koi Farm and the success it is today. A massive thank you Mark Davis for sharing his evening with us at Kangei!
Next month (Wednesday 04 Nov 2013 from 19:30) we have Gary Pritchard providing us with the results from this year's Garden Show. I am personally really looking forward to this and with the quality of koi entered it will be great to see who are the winners.
This will be the final club meeting of 2013 so as is customary all wives, girlfriends and partners are very welcome to come along and join us.