Friday, 24 October 2008
I got home by 1710 and it was still light so got down to the chicken run only to find a cat lurking behind the pen. A small battle ensued (bless the girls, they had removed themselves to the shed so they didn't see any of clash). I still hate cats though with a couple of scratches after today's encounter I feel it won't be back soon.
I digress. The girls were overjoyed at a late afternoon run about in the garden. They are addicted to contoneaster berries so it's a special treat to trash council planting on the way home.
The main subject of this evenings scribblings is that I now assume that egg laying has finished for the year? Mystery surrounds our egg layer(s), definitely Cybil as we saw her lay an egg, two in fact. But laying days and a difference in egg shell (though small I admit) lead me to think that there may have been another layer. Well Cybil's loss of condition has obviously been a major contributory to lack of eggs - was Cybil laying a trigger for Harriet?
Anyway, I am guessing that once egg laying stops the receding daylight hours also assist is shutting down the laying process - so unless I can get the "rooster booster" made up to work from solar power I think we have seen the last of any egg laying until 2009.
And for the first time I shut the shed hatch to keep heat in, its a cosy little shed but tonight you could see your breath in the air! Autumn is here.......
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
As ever, lots of autumnal lawn wrecking, weed scratching and insect eating, that's what being a chicken is all about.
The garden is somewhat shady so the bench is a favourite place for a lunchtime sunbathe.
Needless to say just looking at Harriet enjoying herself having a snooze in the sun, it makes giving them the run of the garden all the more worth while.
Saturday, 18 October 2008
This week has seen the weather improve and apart from chilly, damp mornings covered in dew, it's been a glorious week of sunshine for the most part. However due to the reducing daylight hours available, we're getting home to the Girls when they're all gone to roost. Today was the first day of the week when they have been let out to wander the garden at leisure. As soon as that door was opened this morning, they shot out like rockets to the moon! Harriet proceeded to dig a nice deep hole under the bananas and cover herself from head to foot in what looked like a very pleasurable dust bath....white is not a good colour for her I've decided! Whilst cleaning them out, Cybil spied some juicy woodlice and so rushed back into the coop to pick them off whilst I cleaned up the inner quarters.
This afternoon the sun has been shining and the Girls have taken full advantage of it and have been sunning themselves on the garden path. Cybil is still sneezing, although from what I've noticed, not as much as she has done. Her medicine came today, a tonic called 'Respite' so we'll see how she gets on. None of the others have it so let's hope it stays that way!
The Girls have decided that they're favourite garden plant for eating is Lemon Balm.....there used to be quitea good supply around the garden, however each and every plant has been stripped....the picture of Harriet shows her finishing off the last of what was a healthy bush under the bananas.
As I type, the Girls are making a concerted effort to get into the kitchen, but unfortunately for them I'm having none of it. The doormat is the boundary, any further and they get sent back out....I'm sure they're testing me as the minute I turn around they're back in the kitchen (when I say 'they', it's Cybil, Ruby and Margot!!!!), how they got so naughty I have no idea! What should have taken 5 minutes to type has taken nearly half an hour, what with the constant up and down to shoo them out again!!!
I am the "Official Photographer" for Hens In The City....I never knew photgraphing little bantam hens would give me so much pleasure. I hope you enjoy my amateur attempts at showing the Girls to their best....
The case below at Leipzig Zoo is the lower risk H5N3 as opposed to H5N1
Germany: 3 Cases of H5N3 Detected at Zoo
10/17/08 ARGUS--Regional media report 3 cases of H5N3 avian influenza at a zoo in Leipzig. According to Sachsen's Ministry for Social Affairs, 2 ducks and 1 goose were diagnosed with the virus during a routine check-up. The zoo's administration announced that the affected animals were culled on the recommendation of the district veterinarian. Since wild birds are the presumed source of contamination, all of the zoo's birds must remain in their cages. A spokesperson for the zoo stated that the birds in question probably contracted the virus at a nearby pond. Results of testing conducted on all of the zoo's other birds were negative for avian influenza. According to the zoo's administration, a second round of testing will take place within the next few days.
Sunday, 12 October 2008
It is the time of year all the girls are moulting. Yes, you don't need to be genius to guess what's going on as there are feathers all over the place! Margot is by far the "worst" moulter as she looks as if she has had the back of her head plucked - its only the huge amount of pin feathers emerging tell the real truth in that Margot just had a major head feather moult!
I have now got to the point of hating cats. Not only have we had at least one concerted attack (somehow it just had to be Lottie) but while we were actually sitting in the garden a damn cat made a run at Lottie (again). Now I am fairly confident that the rest of the girls would flap and make enough noise to deter a cat but I'm not so sure about Lottie as she seems to be the one being targeted and apparently I'm not allowed to shoot the cat if it comes into the garden (almost joking here)
What are the options?
Do those sonic scarers really work? Opinions seem to be divided as there is at least one make recommended by the RSPB though in truth I think the RSPB will just about endorse anything as long as they get some money out of it. Some reports from personal experiences seem to report that sonic scarers are next to useless?
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
We are still looking at getting some form of lighting for the run but its not that close to the house and finances at present don't go as far as major electrical work. Soon we will be going to work and returning in the dark so as a very short term measure I got some wall mounted battery lights. At least we have a facility to now service the birds with ease as it gets darker. Needless to say the Sussex took instantly to the lighting and no problem. Silkies? both looked at the odd round bright things and didn't go in for 10 minutes on the first occasion as I think they were waiting for the light to set - bless them!
Sunday, 5 October 2008
Well, there had to be a time when even kitchen duty gets boring so of course the most unwater-proof of hens had to venture out to decimate flower beds and attack unsurprising snails (and trust me with Lottie they really do have a 50% chance of escape).
Harriet wasn't far behind
Of course, its only a rainy day and you might be a a damp silkie but if you're Ruby, you can preen up a treat.
And let me tell you, you don't get this gorgeous without lots of hard preening!
Saturday, 4 October 2008
Margot is I guess the youngest of all the birds that we have.
Highly inquisitive, the commonest view of Margot is her backside and she delves into everything. A championship standard scratcher, she is the lawns greatest foe however probably the best snail and slug remover we have. She unfortunately has the ability to empty the pellets from the feeder so I think we will end up having to suspend it stop the spillage.
Margot has caused us most worry as after a couple of days she was keeping her left eye closed for a lot of the time. A quick catch up showed that the eyeball was somewhat diminished though no discharge.
Poor Margot couldn't see properly (only light and dark from what we could work out) and got depressed, a sad sight, and she wasn't doing too well in the leadership battle. We caught her up and washed the eye with a saline solution and kept it clean. Vet advice was sought and we did the right thing and as the eye stayed clean and no discharge or obvious infection were observed. Needless to say, lots of treats were given and she was very calm, pigged out on mealworms after her treatments and really tamed up.
The eyeball healed and refilled. Her sight, as far as we can ascertain, is fairly good and she can see more than just dark and light.
Positive points: on good days, the loveliest bantam in the world.
Negative points: Is this one the lightness and the dark. Since Margot's recovery she has successfully taken out Ruby as number two chicken and is currently running a campaign against Lottie. Taken up the Ruby habit of rush ambushes on Ruby (now there's revenge) and chases her a bit too much. Has gone from the lovely chicken who was happy to sit on your knee and scoff mealworms and corn to a spooky bird that comes nowhere near us and is currently the most distant of all the birds - I am just hoping that previous behavior will return soon........