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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Monday, 28 May 2012

Communal bathing

It was such a lovely warm day that Maggie decided it would be good to have a bath.  There's plenty of places to have one, but by the potato bag seems to be the favourite spot, so that's where she settled.

Irene popped over for a quick chat, but couldn't stop.  She had places to go, things to do;  pity she couldn't remember what they were.  But it would come to her.

Tu-Tu decided to join Maggie.  Trouble was, she wanted the best spot and Maggie was already occupying it.   Maybe if she stuck her head under the Orpington, Maggie would find it so uncomfortable that she'd move.   Worth a try.

That didn't work - in fact Pom-Pom came over to see what on earth was going on!   She's not a dustbathing fan herself, more of a sun worshipper if the truth be known.   She's happy stretching out (preferably on someone's lap), eyes closed and with one wing and one leg extended, catching a few rays.  Bliss!


It was a different kettle of fish altogether when Titian popped over from the other side of the garden.

Did she just want to say "hello" and share a bit of gossip?  Was she content to have a quick chat with Pom-Pom and share the day's experiences so far?   I think not ....

If you think Tu-Tu was put out at being shifted over to the tree, you can imagine how exasperated Maggie was.   She'd been robbed of the very best bathing spot.   She's not one for picking fights though.  She has a more subtle approach.

I think the idea was that if she made Titian uncomfortable enough, she'd leave.  Then Maggie could move back.

But then the last straw arrived .......

..... in the shape of Fizz.   He enjoys mixed bathing.

Unfortunately, the girls don't and, as one, they all got up and left.

PS   Sorry the photographs are not up to the usual good standard, but No. 1 Son wasn't at home, so I took them myself.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Let battle commence!


The annual battle of wills between Tu-Tu and I has begun.   It goes something like this.

I open the gate to let everyone enjoy the pleasures of completely obliterating my garden.   I count them as they come out, only to discover that there are only 7 chickens.   There should be 8.   That's OK, one of them is probably laying an egg, even though it's a bit on the late side.

So who is missing?   There's Irene eating some corn, with Rebecca as close as she can get without actually touching her.  Pom-Pom is standing on my foot, Fizz is showing Punk where there's a nice piece of ...... what on earth is that!   Titian is filling me in on the latest news, while Maggie is mowing the lawn as fast as she can get the green stuff into her beak.

So that just leaves Tu-Tu;  I might have guessed.

I know exactly where to find her, so off I go to the chicken coop and open up the lid of the nestbox area.   A pretty little lavender face looks up.   If it's possible for a chicken to give you a sweet, innocent smile, this wily old Pekin does just that.

She knows perfectly well that she's sitting on some eggs that the other girls have kindly laid for her.  The trouble is, I know it too.   I reach under her and, sure enough, there are indeed eggs - three of them to be precise.  I manage to curl my fingers round two of them, the third rolling out from beneath Tu-Tu's hot little chest.   Tu-Tu rolls the wayward egg straight back underneath her.   I finally retrieve the third egg and put all of them safely in my little plastic box.

Next, it's Tu-Tu's turn to be retrieved.   I lift her out of the nestbox, request the pleasure of her company in the garden and put her down.   She looks grumpy, right until the moment she spots that there's corn to be had;  then she takes off like a bat out of hell and gets stuck into it.

So today, my plan has worked.   But Tu-Tu and I went through all this palaver last Spring and the Summer before that.   In truth, I know as well as she does that she'll win in the end.   The time will come when, no matter what treats I tempt her with, she will go straight back to the nestbox.

The first year it happened, we got fertile Araucana eggs for her.  Last year we rather hoped that Fizz had done his duty and so we allowed her to sit on some of her friends' eggs.   Even though Maggie joined in and 'helped', not one egg hatched.

Tu-Tu is the oldest of our chickens.  We're not sure just how old she is, but she started laying eggs the day after we got her.  So she's no spring chicken (pun definitely intended).

So the question I have is this.  Do chickens go through menopause and, if they do, I wonder how long it will be before Tu-Tu goes through hers and loses interest in being broody.

Tu-Tu with her Araucana babies

Monday, 14 May 2012

Some very special visitors

The field behind our garden and its "lake"

The field behind our garden has a spring beneath it.  This often causes it to flood during the Winter months, but this year the excessive amount of rain has caused the spring to overflow and flood the field now, too.   It's shallow enough for the sheep and lambs to slosh through if they have to.  But it has been deep enough to attract a few visitors too.

We had a little Sandpiper skirting round the edges looking for insects - haven't seen one of those in the field before.   A Canada Goose and a couple of Greylags dropped in for a moment or two, but quickly left when the water didn't come much above their ankles.   But best of all, we've had ducks!   Wooohooo!   Take a look at this lot.

The first to arrive

Picture by:  Rror

Yes, OK, it's just a Mallard and you see them all over the place.   They're common as muck really.  They come across to us for a visit if there's just the smallest puddle in the middle of the field.  But if, like me, you'd dearly love to have ducks but haven't the room, any and all ducks are welcome.

Aha, but look what arrived next.

A visitor from foreign parts

Picture by:   Yoki

Mandarins!   Hows that for a bit more exotic then.   Although they breed in the UK, I've never seen them cavorting  round among our sheep before.   The Mrs. decided it really wasn't her kind of drop-in, but he liked it in these parts and has visited every day.   He floats around having a think, then paddles over to the dead oak to see what there is to see.  When he gets fed up with that, he settles down on one of the little islands and thinks some more.   He's so lovely, I could eat him!   Oops, didn't mean that literally.

And then ........... d-daaaaa

Fancied a trip to the country
Picture by:   Arpingstone

Wooohoo - two Shelducks arrived!   I would love to get me some of these for my longed-for duck pond.   They stayed all afternoon, presumably to give me time to wallow in their beauty.   Then they decided enough was enough.   They hadn't been able to find a single shellfish of any kind and there wasn't much else in our little lake to tickle their palate.   So off they went.

So I'm off to ask the farmer if he could put a plug in his field.   That way, the lake would become a permanent feature and who knows what else would find its way here.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Seeing red

Do not get between Pom-Pom and a tomato!   If you try to, you will discover that she's not quite the classy little lady we all thought she was.

Pom-Pom looking down her nose at us - as usual

I had three cherry tomatoes and an ordinary size one, all of which had got softer than I like them to be.  So I threw them down into the run and waited for the entertainment to begin.  As usual, everyone went rushing over to see what type of manna had appeared from above.

Normally when Pom-Pom runs, she gallops straight into things.   Her bouffant hairstyle acts like a skid lid and prevents any damage to her skull.  But where tomatoes are concerned though, it's different.  She moves like greased lightning, making a bee-line straight for said tomato, grabs it and runs.

Now as Tu-Tu knows from extensive past experience, if you get to a treat first and run off with it, the rest of the mob will chase after you.   Doesn't matter that there's enough treats for everyone.  They all want your bit.   But somehow nobody seems to notice when Pom-Pom is the one with the treat in her beak. 

It could be that they are used to her being the last one to locate a treat and so missing out on most of it.  Maybe they just can't credit her with being the one to swoop in and nick it.   Personally, I think she's simply donned Harry Potter's Cloak of Invisibility.

But for Pom-Pom it doesn't end there.   She then finds a corner where she can put the tomato down, while shielding it with her body.   That way she can eat it at her leisure and not have someone else pinch it from her and run off with it.  They simply won't be able to get at it.   Today's convenient location was the angle made by the fence and the compost bin.   Punk had a go at getting it, quickly realised she couldn't and rushed off to pinch someone else's.

Once all the cherry tomatoes had been eaten, one by one they turned their attention to the big fruit.  But that was going to take a bit more effort to break into, so they gave up fairly rapidly.   Pom-Pom, however, did not.   This was, after all, more of that delicious red stuff that she loves so much.   So she pecked and pecked, grabbed it and shook it, took it for a walk and eventually managed to break the skin and get to the good bit.

That was when the rest of the flock took a renewed interest and came over to "help".   Pom-Pom was surrounded!  But did that bother her?   No it did not.   She simply pecked various heads as their owners' beaks came withing licking distance of her tomato.   It didn't matter who the beak belonged to, it wasn't getting any more than a brief encounter with this particular treat.

When I left, Pom-Pom and her tomato were still surrounded by the rest of the flock.  And she was definitely taking no prisoners.

Friday, 4 May 2012


I was introduced to this super little Youtube post showing a lady who had taught one of her hens to jump onto a stool, stay, then fly onto her arm.  It got me wondering how my mob might react to similar training.

Pom-Pom would bump into the stool before finding her way over to me and standing on my foot.  Another non-starter would be Titian.   She would spend a considerable length of time telling me she doesn't do running or flying.

Fizz would get half-way to the stool, spot any of the girls you care to name and rush off to ....... well, you know what he's like!

Tu-Tu would give you a long, long look and think carefully about it before wandering off to peck an Araucana.

I wouldn't even bother asking Maggie.   She would think I'd gone completely crackers to even suggest that someone of her genteel breeding might possibly contemplate behaving like some common circus performer!  Huh, the very idea! 

So that just leaves Irene, Rebecca and Punk.

I have a feeling that Punk would try to do a deal.   If I let her dig the path up, she'll perform this stunt for me.   The only problem I can see is No. 1 Son - he'd never agree to the path digging bit and that's the only deal Punk would go for.

Aha, but now we come to Irene;  she's half-way there already you see.   When we let them out into the garden, No. 1 Son won't open the gate until Irene has jumped up onto the nestbox lid.   It has become quite a routine with the pair of them.  She marches up and down in front of the gate, shouldering her way through the crowd.   He tells her she must jump on the nestbox, so she does.   Then the gate is opened and out they all come.

Well it can't be much of a leap, so to speak, from nestbox to stool to arm can it?  

The only problem I can see is that where Irene goes, Rebecca faithfully follows.   So he could end up with two chickens on his arm.  Or would Rebecca land on top of Irene and send them both toppling off?  Or, much more likely, she'd try to land between Irene's legs - after all, that's where she goes to sleep at night.  Oh no!  They would definitely fall off then!  They might break a leg or a wing or something!

That's it.  No aerial display team training for my flock, I shall insist they all stay safely grounded.