Saturday, 31 October 2009


I was reviewing my bookmarks and deleting the redundant ones.  I came across lots of websites I haven't visited in ages. One of them is Wordle.  You can get Wordle to produce a "Word Cloud" of a series of words,  either words you paste in, or give it a URL and it will do it.  You can then go through numerous style options until you find a shape you like,  which you can then further customise.

The more often a word appears, the larger it is in the Word Cloud.  Very revealing, perhaps!

The picture above is based on my recent blog postings.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Moulting revisited. And beaks.

Delilah's new feathers are starting to appear on her back, although her bottom still looks like PlayDoh's "Barber Shop".

Jasmine has joined her in the Borg-lookee-likey stakes. Jasmine's moult isn't as rapid,  nor is it quite so dramatic, but there are definitely big pbald atches on her body where there used to be feathers.   Her neck has he borg feather shafts but, as they are brown, it isn't as scary as it was with Delilah.

I've been finding some other feathers in the Run as well. They could belong to Jasmine but I suspect they belong to Milly,  so looks like she'll be joining in soon.

Daisy's beak continues to fracture. The Vet showed DH how to trim it with nail clippers, so we've been trying to do this as soon as new growth appears and  the old growth splits.  The hope is that we can eventually get ahead of the weak point, and it'll stop happening.    Or it could be that we carry on like this.  Daisy doesn't like having it done, but she doesn't bear a grudge and lets me catch her anyway.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


I've been learning how to make figures to go on cakes. They don't stand up to close scrutiny (in fact, the Golfer didn't stand up at all, he fell over and snapped his spaghetti stand when we went over a speed bump), but they made my DH and I smile.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Autumn Garden

As I had the camera out, I thought I'd take some close-ups of a few of the plants in the garden.

The LovelyNeighbour's passion flower plant spills dosn our side of the fence.  We love it, and put up some wires to help support it.  

The last flowers are fading now, but are still gorgeous;  and some of the fruits will never ripen...

The roses have nearly finished, although there are a couple of buds around. Can't imagine they'll last long..

And a few other plants are finishing up

Friday, 16 October 2009

Norman. Again.

Norman won't be yellow for much longer. In fact, he'll soon look just like his siblings.

As I had the camera out trying to snap photos of Leelus amazing Borg feathers,  I thought I'd take a few of Norm while he still has some yellow fluffiness left.

Bless him.

The LIttlees are out

Yesterday was a pleasant enough afternoon, so we fenced off the front of the Eglu run and let the Littlees out.  They were tearing around, jumping up and down.  Within seconds, one of them was on top of the run.

Washburn, our ginger cat, couldn't contain his excitement.  He sat on the Eglu run quivering,  while I stood by with the hose discreetly aimed and ready to fire.  We didn't leave him alone with the Littlees, that would have been asking for trouble.

In the meantime, the cheeky Littlee was back on the run again, so DH made a kind of heffalump trap over the top of the fencing, using other bits of fencing and fence posts.

They were out all afternoon. If the weather warms up a bit, we might try leaving them in the Eglu overnight.   Norman is a bit young, but he's well looked after by his older siblings, so he should be OK.   We'll see what the overnight forecase is for the next few days.

Plastic Chicken (updated with photos)

I've been giving the Girls pellet porridge, made with chick crumb and laced with Poultry Spice, for the last couple of cold mornings.    This morning it wasn't too cold, but I wanted to give Delilah something extra, as her moult is getting worse.

I put some cat food (non chicken variety, of course) on a plate and laced it with Poultry Spice.  Then I went and collected Leeloo who, generally speaking, doesn't really subscribt to being collected, even if the reward is Delicious Cat Food.  

Surprisingly, I managed to catch her first time.  Maybe she guessed that there was Cat Food at stake and only wanted to make a token effort at resistance.  When I picked her up, I nearly dropped her.

She she was covered in plastic spines.  As I carried her over to the garden seat and the waiting cat food,  I looked through her feathers. She looks like...a plastic chicken.   She's still very bare,  but now she has rows and rows of thick, steel-grey, plastic spiny things all over her.  It looks like she's forming an exoskeleton with knitting needles.  All over her back,  all down her neck.  

I called for DH to come and look, and while she ate the cat food and I rested my hand across her back, DH had a look.    They are, of course,  new feather shafts.  But they are really scary.

I couldn't risk putting her down to get my camera, I'll try and have it to hand next time.

EDITED TO ADD: I wasn't able to hold Delilah and take pics, so you can only see parts of the feather shafts in these photos - she has her wings covering most of them.

You can see what they are like on the photos of her bottom.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Delilah goes Commando.

Leelu (Delilah) is the last of my original three Girls.  She's a Bluebelle hybrid, and she is gorgeous.  She's pretty much retired now,apart from the occasional kidney shaped, weak shelled, attempt. That's fine. She's been a lovely Girl, has laid well, and I hope she goes on for a long time.

This week she decided to start her moult.  Being a hybrid, she couldn't do it over a long period, a bit at a time. No. She had to shed bucket loads of feathers. Everywhere.  The garden looks like we've been out there having pillow fights.

Again, I don't mind. About the feathers and the mess.  But I don't like the fact that she's so bald.  Her bottom, her lower back, her tummy, under her wings... all bald.   She's still got some feathers on her back, and from the top you would think she was losing just a few.  

The skin doesn't look sore, so I'm assuming it's just a normal hybrid-chicken-fast-moult.

I've been supplementing her normal feed with a bit of cat food (much to Washburn's disgust),  and today I gave her chick crumb made into porridge, with some poultry spice in.  They have Lifeguard Tonic in their water.   

I'm hoping that her new feathers will grow quickly, and I wonder if she'll change colour again.  She was originally a browny-grey,  and after last year's moult she turned steely-grey.

I tried to take some pics of her bald botty, but she's doin the chicken equivalent of a comb-over so you can't really see.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Not quite so yellow

Norman is changing, very rapidly. Every day he's slightly less yellow, although so far his little yellow head still stands out.

Here they are sittting in the sun yesterday, but it was a bit chilly so they all sat together.  (Don't panic, there is a heated pad in the Eglu so they can go in and get very warm if they want to!)

Here he is whispering a secret to one of his sisterbrothers:

And here he is just running around:

He's such a cutie-pops!

They're all lovely, he just stands out because of his size and his colour. Mind you, that isn't going to last. He's now getting stubble on his shoulders and front, so I reckon in a week or so he'll look like the others.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Norman tries his foot at perching

Silly boy doesn't realise he's too young

Caught him on camera this evening...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

How old before they Perch?

Got home (from the Spaghetti Western Orchestra) last night, and took a quick peek at the Littlees (previously known as the Tinies, but are now a bit too big for that name).

I missed the shot of five of them trying to perch on the trough, but managed to catch this one:

 They were very warm as we'd left the light on for them.  When its cooler they all sleep on the ground in a little clump...with Norman right in the centre.


Spaghetti Western Orchestra

I have been waiting for these guys to come back to the UK for years!

A very long time ago, when we were on holiday in New Zealand, we saw an article about them. I think they were performing in Wellington.  They sounded very interesting, but we realised that we had just missed them.

I've kept the NZ newspaper clipping on my Fridge for years,  and I've been to their website numerous times hoping to hear of a UK tour.  

I was SO excited when I saw they were visiting London (and Brighton) this Autumn, and I immediately snapped up tickets for last night at the South Bank Centre.

They were brilliant. It's not just the music,  it's a really enjoyable visual experience as well.  I will never  again be able to eat cornflakes without laughing.

I see from their website that they will be on;
"Later with Jools Holland.
The show will be broadcast on Tuesday October 6th at 10pm BBC 2 and on Friday 9 October at 11.35pm on BBC 2 and BBC HD.
You will also be able see it on BBC i-player
Don't miss them playing The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Fistful of Dollars Medley."

If you don't get to see the show live, try and catch them on TV.   

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Norman and the Apple

We're just starting to introduce the Tinies to treats.  Today I tried them with a bit of spinach, which they ignored.  Then, whist they were sheltering in the Eglu,  I put some small pieces of apple in the run.

From nowhere (well, from the Eglu) Norman  came rushing out and grabbed a piece of apple.  He then ran round and round the run with this, what now looked rather enormous, piece of apple in his beak.  He ran past his siblings, he ran around again, and then he ran into the Eglu.

Much later, we noticed that Norman wasn't out with the others. Fearing that I had inadvertently killed him with apple,  I asked DH to go out and open the nestbox to see if he was in there.  DH did so, and Norman ran out into the Run with the apple in his beak.  He then proceeded to run around again, cheeping loudly, and dropping the apple on the ground and picking it up again. This went on for some time, so long that  was able to go and get my camera, lie on the ground next to the Eglu run, and take some pics.

And here are is  one of some of his wonderfully feathered Siblings, onward my brave Hawkmen!*

And here's one of them having a bad hair day

* Very early on, the BlueEggers developed enormous wing feathers, and for ages they looked like Brian Blessed's Hawkmen from the eighties film "Flash Gordon".  Since we realised this, every time I look at them I hear Brian Blessed's cry "Onward my brave Hawkmen".  Helped by the fact that I've had Queen's Greatest Hits in my car CD player for some time now.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Growing babies!

The not-so-Littlees are having a whale of a time at the Allotment.    This meant we could scrub and disinfect the Eglu ready for the Tinees, and we've started started letting then outside onto the grass (within the safety of the Eglu run)  for a couple of hours, if the weather is warm enough.

Getting them back out again was a bit of a challenge.  I forgot that, with the Lttlees, we only put half the run on to start with, so we could reach inside and catch them as necessary.   I tried shooing them into the Eglu so that I could shut the door and get them out through the nest bos - but they weren't having it.  I tried crawling in the run, but it was just too damned awkward.  In the end, I had to herd them to the front of the run, then put a bamboo cane like a limbo bar across the inside of the run.  It toolk them a few seconds to work out that they could easily hop over it or limbo under it, but in those precisous seconds I was able to scoop up a couple of them and remove them.  I repeated this exercise a number of times, until I had all but three of them out.  Then Norman made a break for it, and dashed off, followed by one of his step-siblings who dashed the other way.   

This was rather scary, as we were close by our huuuuge Pampas grass, and if they got in there, I'd never find them again. Not until they emerged as fully grown chickens, anyway.    Fortunately, Norman just ran round tehe edge of the Eglu, so while he made his way back round, I was able to launch myself and "grab" his sibling before he escaped.  When Norman realised that I was waiting for him, he turned round and did that chicky waddle off in the opposite diirection, and I was able to lean over and scoop him up.

It took me nearly thirty minutes in total. Good job I think they are cute.

This morning we discussed whether to shorten the run, but decided against it as there are 7 of them and it wouldn't really be big enough.  Instead, we've taken the run clips off one section, so it opens out like a book. We've re-secured it with Velcro cable ties, so it should still be safe.  And we've taken then rain roof off, as we're only putting them out in good weather at the moment anyway.

They are growing fast. One of the brown-eggers now looks more like hisher blue-egg siblings.  Norman still sticks out like a sore thumb, although hs/e is getting lovely black feathers on his wingtips.

I'll try and take some pics today, in the meantime here's a pic from a week ago

Just done a quick calendar check.
Today, Friday 2nd October:
    The Not-So-Littlees are 8 weeks and 1 day old
    The Tinees are 3 weeks and 2 days old
    Norman is 1 week 6 days old