Thursday, 25 May 2017

Sharing a bath

I hoik Gloria off the nest once a day, as I haven't seen her coming out of her own accord. 

Sasha had been complaining about something, non stop, for about twenty minutes.  My neighbour was working from home, so I eventually went out to see what she was complaining about (Sasha, not the neighbour).

I couldn't see anything.  I couldn't see Poppy, so I assumed Poppy must be in the nest box with Gloria and that Sasha wanted to lay.  I tried, unsuccessfully, to catch Sasha.  I gave up. It's too hot to be chasing chooks.

I went back to mulling over my sewing pattern, and Sasha started again.    This time she was sitting n the floor in the run, and she shut up and ran away when I arrived.     I heard some chicken purring,  which is such a lovely sound.

It came from a make-shift dustbath located under one of the Cubes. Poppy and |Gloria were having a happy and contented communal dustbath.  Both girls were purring, and I watched them from a distance so I didn't disturb them.

I tried to work out how old they are. I checked my spreadsheet, and found that the are 5 now!    I perused the spreadsheet looking at all the hens over all the years. 

Our oldest girl, Siouxsie Sioux, is now 8. She still lays occasionally, and she doesn't look her age.   Next are  Norah and Batty, who are now 6.  Then we have Henry and  four of the Harem Girls (who are all from the same hatch, but have various mums) who are 5.   Camilla, Big Bird, and three Harem girls, all five of them Henry's offspring,  are 3. And finally Barbara (daughter of Nora) and a gorgeous Harem girl are now 1 year old. Barbara is the spitting image of Roobarb, who was one of then hens who died in the fox attack


With so many hens of the same age (5), I guess we're going to end up losing a few fairly close together at some point. Hopefully not too soon.

By the way, Sasha has been shut in the Cooler (one of the wooden nest boxes) again.  I'm thinking of changing her name to Hilts*. I've set a timer so I don't forget about her..

(*Steve McQueen's character in The Great Escape)



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Nuisances

Gloria went broody about a week ago. 

I was a little surprised. Poppy (her sister) is usually the one to go broody first, and Poppy had been showing i'm-thinking-about-going-broody symptoms.  Instead, it's Gloria clamped to the next box.

I'm well aware of the suggestions for "breaking" a broody. Early in my chicken keeping life, I even tried a few of them with varying degrees of success (and failure).   Eventually I accepted that going broody was just something that some hens need to do, and so now we let them get on with it.    We had even considered letting either Poppy or Gloria raise some chicks this year, but we've decided to have a year off chicks.

The downside is the disruption it causes the others in the flock when their favoured egg laying spot is occupied.

No, that's not really true. The downside is the disruption caused when one or two of the remaining flock decide to get very vocal in expressing their annoyance about the nest box hogging.  They complain, loudly and persistently about it.  It's a darned nuisance, and complegtely unnecessary.  We have ample nest boxes: 2 Cubes,  and 2 extra wooden nestboxes.

Sasha and Fay (our Appenzeller and Fayoumi)  start getting very gobby, very early in the morning.      We've been shutting the Cube door at night so that the sounds are muffled, otherwise they just get up and start being gobby in the run.

We've tried letting them out in the run early.  The gobbiness continues, unmuffled.

We've tried letting them out in to the garden.  The gobbiness continues,  even closer to our neighbours.

I've had some success with getting up at stupid o'clock,  hoiking the offending chook(s) out of the back of the Cube and then shutting them in the little wooden nest boxes.  They can't get the height in there to get the volume.   When I do it, I set an alarm for 30 minutes (I don't like to keep them shut in there for too long), so I have to get up again to let them out. 

It does mean that I have to get myself out of bed though, and some mornings.... well, I fail.  I don't sleep through the noise,  I just struggle to get myself up.

As the nights get warmer, and people start sleeping with  their windows open,  I can't take option of lying in bed trying to ignore it option.

I love Sasa, and I love Faye.  They are tiny, funny, silly, chooks. 

At 5.30/6.00 in the morning,  they aren't so lovely.



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