Wednesday 18 December 2019

New babies

After a (rather depressing) month of searching,  we collected two 16 week old kittens on Monday afternoon.

May I please introduce Shelby and Lewis.   
Rescued by a lovely lady near Daventry,  and turned into sweet natured little kittens.   She named them Shelby and Lewis, and those are the names we're currently using for them.

They are settling in well.

Izzy is unamused.

Thursday 5 December 2019

Bye, Boys

The Boys went off on Monday, leaving Simon (green ring) and Tan (brown ring) alone in the "chick" area.    DH said Simon started crowing as they left:  he hasn't crowed before. 

Yes, we're going to try and keep two cockerels together.  Barnevelders are one breed where it may well work.

I arrived at the allotment about an hour later, let the girls out s on to the path so they could eat grass, and let the two Boys out into the main area.    They came out of the "chick area", eventually,  and spent ages investigating.     They didn't meet the girls.

I did all the housekeeping,  and called the Girls in for some vegetables.   The Boys panicked a little, and stayed out of the way.  Over the next half hour or so, they worked their way into the same area that the Girls were in, but kept their distance. 

Violet, one of the previous year's Girls,  went up to them and stared at them.  She wandered off.

Simon was eating some spring greens when Elizabeth walked up behind him, and biffed him up the bottom.  He leapt in the air, straight up like a pheasant, and hurried away.

I sprinkled corn amongst the leaves, so everyone had plenty of reason to forage. Gradually the boys separated from each other  and worked their way around the area.  They came back together every so often, and exchanged quiet clucks.  They were definitely sharing info and trying to work out what had happened.

Much later, Simon tried crowing again,  and received a response from a cockerel a long long way away.  They had a convo for a while,  and then it all died down.

I left them to it.

We went back the next day,  and all was fine.   The Boys were in the same area as the Girls,  and were being ignored.    They have made no attempts to tempt the girls over with a bit of corn, and we've seen no activity (don't blame them, it's far too cold).     I think it'll be a while before they realise it's their job to find food and tidbits for the Girls.  They are a slow maturing breed, so they're still just young boys themselves.

Ping and Pong, our Dorking girls(bought in as chicks the year before Violet, Elizabeth and Bott), are looking much more relaxed and are milling around with the main flock more .    Bertie was vile to them,  I think they rejected his advances early on, and he never forgave them.

We don't know yet whether the Boys are sleeping in the Cube still or whether they've moved to the main coop.    I know the Girls were occupying 2 coops between them before Bertie went,  so it will be interesting to see how this works out.

I'm keen to shut the "Chick" area down so we can do something about the ground.  It's been very denuded,  despite normally only being used for a few months a year.    I want to move the Cube off it, into our current fallow area, so I can move 2 or 3 of this year's Girls down to the Allotment.   DH was rather surprised at this,   he assumed that I'd be keeping all 5 of the Newbies here at home.  

They need somewhere to stay for a short while before we introduce them to all the others.I wonder if the boys will recognise their hatchmates?  Will the Girls recognise the biys?

It was Other Chap's turn to name the cockerels,  so they have been renamed "Mutt" and "Geoff".

Onward and upward.


Sunday 1 December 2019

New DIgs

Tomorrow will be All Change for the Allotmenteers and the Boys.

Today, it seemed the right day to move the Littlees out of their Go and into the Cube, which means that they will be sharing the closed run (albeit with a divider down the middle) with the Big Girls.   The Littlees have had daytime access to their half of the run for a couple of weeks,  and they've visited the Cube before.

We cleared out the junk from their of the Run, and I moved their water, their chair, and their feeder from the Go pen.  Early afternoon, I shut their old run so they could nbo longer gain access.

At about 2.30, which is half an hour earlier than usual,  I shut everyone away.  The Littlees had a hanging feeder and some swede,  and were happy mooching about.   At 3.15, when they normally think about going to bed,  I put a torch inside the Cube.  At 3.30, I went out, opened the back of the Cube by sliding the roof open a bit,  and called them .  They came and had a look, but all went out again.

At 4.15, I coud see that they were hanging around by the exit door.  I went out, and could hear that they were calling, distressed at being in the wrong place.    I opened the back of the Cube, and called them.   Astrid and Sunshine, the two Golden Pheasant Leghorns, came straight up.  The others came up the ladder but wouldn't come in.

After about 8 minutes, I had 4 of them in.  I slid the pop hole shut, and waited.  I then opened it a crack so the torch shone out, but the girls couldn't get out. I called, and Sylvia climbed up the ladder.  I opened the pop hole so she could get in,  and Summer ran out.  I did the same again.  Summer was much more distressed, and was running around the pen.    I thought about going round the front to catch herbut I decided Id wait until it was dark to do that.   I really wanted her to find her own way in.

Eventually, she climbed the ladder.  I opened the door for her, and she went in, hesitantly.  When she was in, I gently closed th epop hole,   said good night to them, and shut the roof.

We don't have an auto opener on this Cube. The one I want to buy has an App, and the Android version should be available at some point. It would be possible to buy the older version and then retrofit a new circuitboard when the App is released on Android,  but the additional cost is quite big,  I've been hanging on, and hanging on, waiting.

The evenings aren't too bad,  it's the mornings that are going to be a bit tough.  (Every time I say that, I chuckle at how things have changed.  I used to start work at 6am!)

Lets hope that it's all OK tomorrow.