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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Saturday, 18 January 2014

What a brave bantam!

According to No. 1 Son, our little flock are the least adventurous chickens in poultry history.  I think he may be right.   As a treat (so we thought) we hung a pecking block in the cage part of their run; the weather has been miserable lately and therefore so have the Cluckers.  The pecking block would occupy them for a while and give them a bit of pleasure.  

Did it hell!   They were afraid of it and avoided it like the plague!   When they realised it was refusing to leave, they took to ignoring it and looked away when they walked past it.  That should teach it!  But it didn't, so Punk decided to take action.   I didn't actually hear her swearing at it, but knowing Punk she probably did - she swears at everyone and everything at the least provocation.  But I have seen her attacking it.   

She started off by giving it a few hard pecks and discovered that actually, it tasted rather nice.  Now she gives it a few pecks whenever she walks past.   But none of the others go near it, if they can avoid it.   

My theory is that Punk has let it be known that she's happy to keep the pecking block under control all by herself.  The others needn't worry, she'll do the job alone because she's a courageous, community-spirited girl.  The Cluckers can see for themselves that it is wasting away day by day, so plucky Punk is obviously doing a good job.

Hmmmmm.  Is that just the hint of a smirk I see playing around the edges of Punk's beak?

If you mess with Punk, expect trouble

Friday, 3 January 2014

Off with the old, on with the new

Thank goodness the big Autumn moult is finally over and done with.   The Cluckers all start and finish at different times and progress at different rates.  I think they do it just to make my life that bit more difficult.

Chickens lose their feathers in a very specific order ...  allegedly.  That order is supposed to be the head, then the neck, followed by the breast, body, wings and finally their tail.  That's what the books say.

My lot haven't bothered to read the books and, furthermore, they don't seem to care.  They just fling their feathers off in any order and to hell with the rules.

Both the Polands discarded their tail feathers first.  They slowly grew them back, then got rid of some crest and neck feathers.  After that, Fizz lost a few of his larger flight feathers, and then decided that enough was enough.   Meanwhile while Pom-Pom discarded a few crest and body feathers that were surplus to her requirements, and left it at that.

Tu-Tu was annoyed that feet feathers weren't mentioned anywhere.   So she went overboard and grew new ones that were bigger, better and more abundant than she'd ever had before.  She trips over them now and again, but that doesn't seem to bother her unduly.  She also looked a lot slimmer after shedding no end of body feathers, but managed still to keep her basic shape.

For the last couple of years Rebecca has favoured the vulture look, by losing most of her head feathers.  This year she went for "the skeleton".  She managed to retain her big flight feather shafts, but not the feathery bits attached to them.  So she wandered round for ages looking as if she had ribs showing through her down.  Punk couldn't be bothered with all this palaver, so she just settled for a trio of feathers sticking up on the crown of her head for ages and left it at that.

Maggie also thought a change would be good.  She usually discards all the feathers along her spine in a sort of reverse Mohican, but not this year.  Like Tu-Tu, she had a general all over loss, but couldn't bring herself to lose all her tail feathers.  She kept the outside circle of feathers and got rid of the inner bunch.  Consequently she walked round looking as if she had a sideways halo round her vent.

Some sad news about Maggie - we recently had to have her put to sleep.  One morning she didn't come out when we opened up.  We checked and she looked dreadful.  There had been no sign of illness, in fact the previous day she had been happily scratching round in the garden.  Our vet advised that nothing could be done for her and we should give her a comfortable end to her life, rather than let her suffer.

There's only two of our original girls left now, Mad Irene and Tu-Tu, and they are pensioners.  Luckily, they seem fit and happy.   But getting used to a flock without Titian and now without Maggie is proving very, very difficult.