Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Wind and shadows

Very windy fof the last few days, which has become the norm for October now.

In the garden, poor Tilda (special needs girl) is still in full moult. She has got some new feather shafts now, and spends a lot of time preening. Bet it itches, poor love.  I was watching them out of the kitchen window this morning, and I saw Milly (oldest girl, cranky cream legbar)  peck Tilda on the back.  Tilda didn't react, so it obviously wasn't that  sort of peck.  Maybe I imagined it, so I asked DH if he had seen it.  He said it had been very gentle, which to be frank isn't a word we usually use in connection with Milly. 

No one else seems to be moulting yet, so I imagine they are going to wait for the really bad weather to set in.  Tilda will have the last laugh if that's the case.In the meantime, Tilda gets a couple of spooons of cat food every other day, to help her protein levels.

Custard (Tilda's full sister) continues to bully Tilda, making her move fromwhatever she's doing, whether it's eating (we have 4 double feeders, and Custard has to use the exact spot that Tilda occupies), drinking (we have 2 double drinkers and 1 nipple drinker), dustbathing (innumerable craters throughout the garden plus a man-made dustbath in the run), or just generally rooking.   Grrr. 

On the allotment, Norman and 2 sisters are in full moult, having gone for the "drop them all at once" method.   They are such small girls anyway, and now they are featherless they look even tinier than ever. Norm, who is a bit ahead of the others, looks like a little porcupine at the moment.   They get cat food every other day, and we have to stand guard while they eat it up to prevent the others (all much bigger, even the babies) from stealing it.    The other oldies don't seem to be moulting yet either.  I seem to remember that Rose and Ruby (the two Welsh Black ladies) were very late moulters last year;  Mrs (our sasso, mother of Tilda and Custard) is always a law to her self, and I expect she'll moult if and when she's good and ready thank you.

The newest girl - the one dumped in with ours - seems OK.  The confusion caused by putting everyone in together seems to have worked.  SHe hasn't really been "accepted" yet, but she doesn't seem to be being targetted.   We've started to get some very small eggs so we're thinking she might have come into lay.

And someone is laying quite dark brown eggs. Not Welsummer or Maran brown, but much deeper than we are used to.   No idea which of the newbies it is, but we'd like to find out as whoever it is might be a keeper. I did wonder if it was the newest girl, but these are large eggs and she looks too young.  Apart from the fact that dark brown eggs are attractive in their own right,  when you are raising offspring from your own eggs it is helpful to be able to identify the layer of an egg.   For example, our small girls are really too small to produce worthwhile dinner chickens; fortunately we can recognise their eggs,  so we don't put them in the incubator.  We aren't really able to tell Mrs, Rose and Ruby's eggs from each other, so we never know how many of each we're incubating. (We usually just take all the eggs laid by them over a few days,  so we're likely to end up with 1/3rd for each of them, IYSWIM).

On a non chicken note,  just heard Apache being played on Radio 4, and found myself doing the Shadows step routine.   I didn't even know that I knew the steps.   I think middle age is catching me now.

EDITED TO ADD: Since posting, they are now talking about the Shadows Walk. How spooky.

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