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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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

"When snow falls, nature listens" *

The bit of nature that decided to listen this snowy winter was a family of rats.   We've had a very wet summer, so they were no doubt flooded out of their original home.  They must have thought they were in heaven when they discovered free food was available in the chicken run, even though the supply disappeared every evening.

The chickens didn't bother them much.  During the very cold weather, when the snow was 'deep and crisp and even', Fizz and the girls ate and then poddled off back into the coop.  Much warmer in there and, like me, they hate the snow.

A couple of winters back I went to check on them and found Pom-Pom chest deep in a snowdrift.   It was a good job I found her, as she couldn't work out how to escape.   So whenever it snows now, we keep the cage door closed;  we know they are safe that way.   Not that it matters, they prefer their sleeping quarters in this freezing cold weather.

Obviously, we could not allow the rats to stay.   So we got a humane trap and began to catch them, two by two initially, then one at a time.    The prisoners were then taken half a mile away and deposited in a field on the far side of the river.   Hopefully, they will settle down nicely over there.

Yesterday the snow had gone and the chickens had once again been allowed to roam freely round their run.   At dusk No. 1 Son baited the trap with a bit of cat food and some chicken food, a combination the rats seem to enjoy enormously.   He even made a trail of layers pellets which led into the trap, just in case a bit of encouragement was needed.

Most of the flock had retired for the night, but Irene was still up and about.   Not much gets past that girl's eagle eye where food is concerned, and needless to say it took no time at all for her to spot the trail of pellets.   It took even less time for her to eat them.  She pecked her way along, reached the trap and looked distinctly disappointed to discover that she couldn't reach the rest of them.

She gave the matter a bit of thought, couldn't come up with any bright ideas, so she tootled off to join the others in the coop.

*Antoinette van Kleef

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Back again!

I'm relieved to say that my carpal tunnel has now sorted itself out; I had a brief spell of RSI in the other arm, but that's now OK too.

So a quick update on Fizz and the girls.

To be honest, I haven't seen much of them over the past few days.  The snow has been thick on the ground, it's been very cold, so they've spent most of their time snuggled up in the coop.   They reluctantly come down for a mid-afternoon snack, then shoot back inside to keep warm.

Very late in the Autumn,  most of the chickens decided to moult.   Titian did the same thing as last year and went for the "oven ready" look.   Unfortunately, just as she lost the last few feathers the temperature plunged.  After a day and a half of it being really, really cold she began to look quite unwell, so we decided to bring her inside until she feathered up a bit.   So she spent a week in a huge box in our kitchen.   I knew she was beginning to feel better when she demanded sunflower seeds every time she saw me.   We kept them on our dining room table and as soon as I appeared, she would go and stand in the corner of her box nearest the table and stare up at it, then at me, then back to the table, chuntering all the time.   After a week, her feathers had regrown to the point where we felt she would be well able to cope with low temperatures again, so we put her back with the others.

It was absolutely fascinating watching her feathers grow.  I know from observing them all in past years that chicken feathers grow fast.   But being able to see progress at close quarters and from one hour to the next was amazing.   In the morning there would simply be quills sticking out, by lunchtime I'd notice that some of them were darker at the ends.  Come the evening, and you could see just a tiny line of what looked like the very tip of an auburn paintbrush.  

Chickens never cease to amaze me!   More news soon.