Cockerels, Hens & Chicks

I find that some weeks tend to be dominated by one particular element of the farm and this week it was definitely the poultry, we have had the arrival of some naturally hatched chicks, 6 in total, of which 4 were promptly eaten on the day they came out of the hut! We suspect it was the cats as the next morning when we went to let the chickens out the cats were sat suspiciously in the paddock waiting, not really their fault, they are hunters after all and one small bird smells very much like another I expect, our fault for not protecting Mum and her offspring a little better 😦

The cockerels have finally been dispatched and in fact I have just finished dressing them for the freezer, not a pleasant job and one I am glad to have got out of the way, the only job left to do is give the kitchen a good clean and airing as the smell tends to linger long after the remains have gone out to the bin. We have also had a couple of deaths amongst the new hens, at the moment we are unsure as to why but the bio security measures are stepped up and as we have had a new delivery this morning we spent yesterday preparing a new area for them to keep them separate and stall any spread of possible infection.

The quail are doing well now after losing a few in the beginning, this is usual after hatching out, you will find there are those  that fail to make it to full growth, those that are unable to hatch on their own and then those that do hatch and die soon after, it’s all part of natures plan ‘survival of the fittest’. The temptation is to help the poor little ones out of the shell when they are unable to do it by themselves but over the years I have learnt that these very often die soon after anyway so best to leave it to nature.

The ducks have all been moved in together to make way for the new hens, at the moment they are a bit like the Capulets and Montague’s, each group busying themselves around the pen avoiding each other as far as possible and then an altercation or two when they bump into each other. One of the female ducks has been limping for a few days, I did take her out asses her and try to rest her for a while but she was fretting so I have put her back, I would think that the damage has been done by the over amorous drake as there are no signs of actual injury, hopefully she will recover soon.

I had a lovely surprise when I opened the back door one evening last week, a Roe Deer was browsing for supper along the hedgeline of the paddock directly in front of me, I resisted the temptation to go and get the camera, I did that before and by the time I got back they had gone, so this time I just stood and watched while it carried on munching away, a lovely moment on a quiet evening.

Not such a quiet event here were the Jubilee celebrations, we had intended to picnic in the paddocks but after looking at the long-range forecast we decided to go with the wet weather plan! We decorated the back stable the day before, put up a large gazebo, plenty of bunting and flags and decided to go with a street party theme instead, it’s a good job we did as the rain came by the bucketful on the day. It didn’t stop up having an excellent time though, we came in fancy dress with anything English being the order of the day, we played plenty of nostalgic tunes, ate a mountain of food and although it wasn’t hot we still had a thirst that sank a good few bottles of refreshments 🙂 A thoroughly good time was had by all and indeed by the rest of the country as well  by all accounts.

Up to this point in this blog I have (almost) avoided the obvious topic of conversation, the weather! My theory is that all travel brochures for the UK will now include the paragraph ‘ avoid the monsoon season’  by my reckoning that will be from September through to August!!! There isn’t much we can do about it but it doesn’t stop us moaning, the fruit that was looking promising are now looking a bit small due to lack of any Sunshine, the beans and the peas are struggling to get going and to be honest I don’t think the harvest from them will amount to much at all unless we get a break. Add to that the wind damage and it is all in a pretty sorry state, apart from the poly tunnel of course which is  brilliant, no wonder they are a taking over areas of our countryside, it is the only way to beat our great British weather!

I had better go and get on with cleaning the kitchen and also check on the new arrivals, they probably looked like drowned rats by now and are stood wondering what the heck happened as this morning they would have been in a huge dry shed, next stop Shilton, outside in a run and in the pouring rain, they do have huts they can go into but chickens are not that clever! I will leave you with some photos of the Jubilee knees up and the thought that the rain will have to stop eventually, wont it?

 

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