This is my blog about the day to day lives of my little flock of pet chickens. They're a happy little flock, although they're totally crackers! If you want a laugh, they'll gladly give you one.


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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Sleep walking

When Rebecca wants to settle down and sleep, she can be a very determined young lady.

Much to her relief, Irene had finally decided to make her way into the coop.   Unfortunately, what Irene couldn't decide was just where she wanted sleep this time.   So she stopped and stood in the middle of the floor to ponder her options.

Rebecca probably thought this was a bit unusual, but in her eyes Irene is never wrong.  So she started to snuggle into the big girl's feathers as normal.   But Irene hadn't made her mind up at all, and wandered across to the other side of the coop, then back again, then to a different location altogether.   Each time she stopped for a think, Rebecca began the snuggling in process.  And each time, she'd barely got started before Irene took off again.

In the end, she decided that her best course of action was to duck in between Irene's legs and settle herself in from there.   "Duck" is the operative word because now, instead of walking round the coop, Irene was forced to waddle around with a bantam beneath her tummy!

Eventually Irene, complete with her Araucana shadow, decided where she was going to spend the night.  I hope they both slept well!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A lucky escape for Punk

I can’t tell you how very proud I am of myself today.   I actually managed to retain a huge amount of self-control and refrained from grabbing Punk by her scrawny lavender neck and wringing it!

To start at the beginning.

When I went down to let the chickens out the usual suspects emerged first, followed shortly after by by Tu-Tu.   Pom-Pom deigned to make an earlier-than-usual appearance, but that was it – no sign of Punk.  I opened the coop’s side door, just to make sure she was all right.  She wasn’t.   She was stretched out in the nest box, her breathing laboured, scarcely able to move.   She lifted her head slightly, but it was so much effort that she put it back down again.

I was aghast!   What on earth was wrong with the poor thing!   I went round and lifted the nest box lid so that I could get a closer look, try to ascertain what the problem was.   Before I could check her over my brave, brave little Araucana managed to drag herself up and staggered across the coop to the pophole.   She put a foot on the top of the ramp, wobbled, looked back at me and took another unsteady step.

I needed help and I needed it fast.  If she fell into the caged area it would mean crawling in on hands and knees to get her.   I’d do that willingly, but whether I’d ever manage to back out again while holding an ill chicken safely was another matter altogether.   I’d have to fetch No. 1 Son and he was asleep in bed.

I hurried up from our sloped garden as quickly as I could, then up two flights of steep 19th century stone stairs.   I would have been puffing a bit if I was a fit 30-something.  But I’m rather more than double that and about as unfit as you can get, what with having a dicky ticker.  So I could scarcely speak when I staggered into my son’s room;  I gasped out the problem, he got dressed and down we went to the hen run.

And what did we find when we got there?   A perfectly fit, healthy chicken.   She gave me a look that said, “What?  Whaaaaat? ”

We realised that I must have woken her from a particularly deep sleep.  It was at that point, fortunately for her, that my self-control asserted itself.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Snow defences

When it snowed last winter, the hen run seemed to develop drifts that we didn’t see in other parts of the garden.   We made frequent trips down there, just to check that everyone was OK.

It was just as well really, because on one trip we found Pom-Pom standing chest-deep in snow.  She had a puzzled look on her face.  Well, on the bottom half of her face anyway.  The top half is more or less covered by her headgear, so you can never be sure what expression that bit of her is wearing.

Anyway, she seemed uncertain how she had got there in the first place and evidently had no idea how to get out.   So we rescued her, checked her over, cuddled her to warm her up, then put her with the others.  They’d all had the sense to take shelter in the cage under the coop.

We didn’t want to risk something similar happening again, so this year we decided to put a temporary fence on each side of the cage gate and ran it along to the smoking shelter to form a corridor.   The chickens could then move between the cage and the shelter, but not get into the main run.   That way, nobody could find themselves drifting into a drift.  So to speak.

When the first snowflake appeared a few days ago, we hurried down to the hen run.   The chickens were way, way ahead of us; they’d gathered in the cage already.   Everyone, that is, except Mad Irene.

Snow?  What snow?   We were being too fussy by half.   She reckoned that while she could still dig the run up, all was well with the world.   She really fancied a worm or two and by golly she was going to find one.   So for the time being, we left Miss JCB 2011 excavating, while we got on and fixed the fence.

In the meantime, the snow was getting heavier.   Not that Irene noticed – her whole being was concentrated on finding those pesky worms.   We finished the job and popped Irene into the cage with the others (much to her irritation – she didn’t half mutter, no worms yet you see).

By the next day, Irene had changed her mind about snow.   Not only did she now notice it, no way was she going to set foot on it.   I tried enticing her across the 2 or 3 feet that separated the cage from the smoking shelter by putting a couple of treats at the shelter entrance.   Irene craned forward as far as she could, but would not set so much as a claw on the snow.   This was a great disappointment to Rebecca.   If Irene wasn’t going to make the journey, she could hardly be expected to, could she.   None of the others were remotely interested in leaving the cage area.

In the end, I gave in and put the treats in the cage, where they could all share them.   Then I trudged back through the Arctic waste that used to be my garden, and had a nice cup of tea.


Friday, 3 February 2012

"Gentlemen may prefer blondes, but it takes a real man to handle a redhead."

It felt like Spring was beginning to get sprung, at least as far as Fizz was concerned.  And that was all the encouragement he needed.

Spotting an unwary Rebecca, his long-suppressed urge for a good old bonking session surfaced.  When I say "long suppressed", what I really mean is that he hadn't thought about sex for at least a couple of minutes.

As usual, Rebecca had a headache and wanted none of it, with the result that Fizz ended up chasing her round and round.  Only this time it wasn't round the hen run - it was round and round Irene!   Irene is an easy-going chicken, but this really, really annoyed her after a while.  So she intervened.   She blamed Fizz entirely, chased him, cornered him and gave him a really good glaring at.   That should teach him!   She was still muttering under her breath when she stalked off.

All was quiet for a while.   It was quiet right up until the time Fizz spotted Titian and remembered how much he still loved her.   Now bearing in mind that he's a bantam and she's a full-grown Rhode Island Red, this match was doomed to failure from the start, even if Titian did return his feelings.  Which she doesn't.

He dropped his wings and went into full Rudolf Nureyev mode.   He danced like he'd never danced before; he was inspired, putting all his very best moves into his performance.

How could she resist?   Simple.  She pecked him on the beak.   He was a bit surprised, girls didn't usually peck him on the beak.  He took a step back, ready to start performing again.  At the same time, Titian took a step forward and pecked him on the beak again.   She'd seen how a good glare had worked well for Irene, so she poked her head forward and gave him a good glare too.

That was the last straw!  In a fit of pique (all true artistes get them), Fizz flew at her outstretched head, feet first.  Big mistake, big, big mistake.   She hammered him all across the run, pecking him whenever she closed in near enough to get a beak round his feathers.

Eventually she ran out of puff, stopped, gave him a final glare and walked away.   Had she been human, I imagine she'd have been dusting her hands off and muttering "That'll learn him!"

Trouble is, I don't think it will.   For one thing he's got such a short memory; but more importantly, our Fizz is an eternal optimist.