Sunday, 28 June 2009

Two weeks old

What a difference a week makes!

It's been a busy old week and I have been away for some of it so the chicks seem to have been growing at a most impressive rate.

Eggnog, although still the smallest, is doing extremely well and devoted to Harriet. We are dithering on what sex it is. Although Eggnog started out a boy in our minds I get the feeling that Eggnog may in fact be Tallulah! As you can see below, that chick has been eating lots!

The buff Orpington bantam has been named Stanley, as I am convinced he is indeed a male due to already visible and fast growing comb (please tell me if I am completely wrong here). Stanley is THE most independent of all the chicks and is quite happy to go off exploring the garden without mother hens in tow.

The silkie chicks - I personally think they are a definite for being named Laverne and Shirley (for those of you who remember "The Fonz" the names should be familiar ). They do everything together, are slightly dim (I think it's a silkie thing) and so hope that they are both girls as I would hate to lose either of them. Any comments back to the blog voting for Laverne and Shirley would be deeply appreciated.

Harriet with Shirley and Laverne

And then we get to the baby turkeys. What we think are the speckled Sussex are growing at an alarming rate. They are probably twice the size of Eggnog. They are always the first to the food and I am sure that at least one is a male if not both of them.

Speckled Sussex chick realising its got wings!

After the "confinement" the girls have undergone both incubating and the start of rearing, they have now had both a chance to spend some time in the "lawn run" and if we are about, free-range in the garden.

The "lawn run" was a quick internet purchase which in the guise of a guinea pig run seemed to suit the purposes of getting one of the mums and some of the chicks out onto grass and some peace from the other. However that proved to be impossible as Harriet and Ruby are joint mums so dividing them, never mind the chicks just didn't work.

The positive is that we can get all the birds out onto grass for a good scratch about and a hugely enjoyable dust bath (it's hysterical watching the chicks emulating Harriet and Ruby dust bathing, usually underneath the mums and getting kicked out on a regular basis, not that they minded) when we are not around.

Best of all is that when we are about we now let all the birds out into the garden. Still not quite confident enough to leave them alone as although Ruby as turned into a complete headcase if she thinks any of the brood are in peril I still feel a cat could take a chick. However if we are about they now all go out and love it.

Of course for ever positive there is a (slight) negative;

  • Newly seeded lawn trashed and reverted to a dust bowl within a few days
  • How quickly newly planted vegetation is removed in search of the occasional bug
  • Physalis (Cape gooseberries) were outrageously victimised and eaten without mercy
  • Borders instantly scratched out onto the paths

So bless them a couple of rules are now applied;

  • chicken training - they now move easily between the lawn run and home run
  • when free ranging, mums are not allowed on the borders
  • when free ranging, physalis is seen as a legitimate target so that is a sin they are allowed
  • Stanley does exactly as he pleases
  • can chicken herding be classified as alternative employment? I love it.

All in all, could life be any better?

Allotment update to follow as I ran out of time.

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