Monday, 2 February 2009

The great snowfall of 2009

Harriet is still broody - what makes a hen want to sit on nothing? I admit that snuggled into a nest of warm straw on these cold mornings is a great idea but as there are no eggs to sit on I wonder how she keeps the inspiration.

Harriet gets down and dirty as normal

Since the arrival of the Skylon nest Cybil and Margot head for the sky to lay eggs so making them unavailable to the Harriet incubation service. Ruby has now started to lay (at last) but not on a regular basis and is using the normal nestbox so Harriet does leap onto any egg that appears but they are irregular.
We do throw Harriet out of the nestbox twice a day for toilet duties, food, water and some exercise however Saturday we kicked her out for a couple of hours while I cleaned out the shed and run. Bless her she went for her mud-bath, fertilised the lawn with the biggest, smelliest poo and then got bored that she couldn't get into her nestbox so decided to brood phantom eggs at the back of the run in the woodchip! Bonkers bird.

"Okay Dad, I don't care if you shut me out, I'll nest in the run!"

Sunday night saw a few flurries of snow. Dire warning on the television about an "Extreme Weather Event" snow, snow and more snow. Heard it all before.

So "oh bugger" when we woke up in the morning!

One look out of the bedroom windows saw that we had substantial snowfall

I am so glad that we had put on the extra plastic - psychic weather insight?

How deep is that snow at 6am in the morning?

From the photo below you can see that trying to get to work was going to be pointless. The road was the quality of a pure white skating rink, for the first time in many, many years the entire bus network in London was suspended and as you can see - no trains were running at all. I gave up trying to get to work at 10am.

So daylight arrived and we saw Honor Oak Park and south London covered in snow.

Fishpond looking like and advert for a polar bear fast food cafe

And you had to get out there and make sure there was enough food for the wild birds.

A visit to the allotment gave some amazing views over a white and quiet London.

Of course we had to let the girls out for a quick look at the snow - they were not keen that's for sure.
Harriet by this time had already been into the run for a quick feed before rushing back to the imaginary eggs leaving Cybil, Margot and Ruby to take to the snowy lawns of Honor Oak.
"ooh Margot, I'm not keen on this white stuff"
I do have to say that the girls should be hating us at the moment as for the last three days we have had to catch them all and dose them with wormer however they have been most loving as normal (apart from the aloof Ruby) and any medicine has been supplemented with mealworms to make the ordeal instantly forgettable.
Margot on the prowl and realising she's not as white as she thinks she is.

The girls looking suspiciously at snow - if you are really eagle-eyed you can see Harriet's brief outing into the snow.
So a horrible period of wetness ahead as all this snow thaws. No eggs for a week as there is a withdrawal period for the eggs as we used Panacur to work the girls.
As you may have gathered, the girls do get a few too many treats and as we are buying "basics" range from the market we pick up any cheap greens and sweetcorn and they are still getting their mealworms. I remember mixing mash with boiled veg peelings and old bread with hot water when I was a little lad, on my grandparents small holding, for the chickens. The smell was so reminiscent with childhood. Reading up I wondered if there was some worth in providing layers mash as part of the daily feed as for the chickens to bulk up on pellets would be really quick - it takes lots of time to eat the same in mash. It's a trial - they aren't impressed as all the pellet goes first but I guess it keeps them occupied and they get so many other treats.
Lets see how this week unfolds.

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