Meanwhile, I've been seeing to the chooks on the allotment.
Henry continues to lead his harem of 8 girls all over the place, and they follow him withut fuss or argument. He's a lovely boy, no aggression. Not sure what will happen as the baby boys start to mature. They're sectioned off, so I'm hoping that Henry won't see them as a threat.
The 3 small hens - now our oldest girls - aren't part of the harem. They still look well, despite moulting. Several of the harem are moulting as well, and we're only getting 2 eggs a day from all 11 girls. It's at times like this that I regret letting DH keep all 6 females from one year's hatch. I can see it's going to cause problems down the line.
I've been supplementing their food with some fish flavoured cat food every few days. The extra protein should help with feather development.
In the Chicks area, they are all looking wonderful. They seem a happy bunch. We've identified 5 of the 10 as males - there may be more, but we can't see any obvious signs yet. They are 17 weeks old now, and we need to think about despatching the boys soon. So far we haven't seen any hormone related behaviour - no squabbling or squaring up (apart from the sort they did as babies) and no Henky Panky. However, I know this can change in the blink of an eye, so we are being vigilant. We can separate the boys from the girls if we need to for a few days.
Big Bird, the enormous yellow chook, is probably female. Princess, the one that hurt her leg, is definitely female. Burt and Ernie are definitely boys. Charlie and Charlie-ene are both boys - but Charlie has developed orange hackles and now looks like Burt and Ernie whereas Charlie-Ene has stayed black. From a distance I can't tell which is Charlie now, but I can tell when I am in the enclosure with them. He's the one who lets me touch him.
There is one other black cockerel. The remaining 3 black chooks are, I think, all female.
It doesn't matter really. Like last year's hatch, none of them will be staying.
Next year I think we'll have to breed some girls to keep.
We've been discussing whether we'll be brooding in the shed we've just moved or in the new summerhouse. We haven't decided yet.