Monday, 28 June 2010

Photos from Ros

Yippee - Doris has chicks

We are so happy that Sebastian and Doris' owner keeps in touch. Sebastian has now become Boris but he has filled to be a wonderful looking bird.

Boris and Doris having a dust bath

Doris being a mum

...and while Doris is working hard raising the kids, Sebastian/Boris is making out with Mrs O'Bramha

Thanks for the pictures, we a deeply envious so keep the photos coming

Monday, 14 June 2010

Busy weekend

Firstly, still awaiting photos from Ros of Doris as a Mum so be patient, I can't wait to see them.

Odd really that little things make a weekend. We have been living in South East London for the past seven years and here is SE23 for 6 years. In the garden we have seen everything from great spotted woodpeckers to ring-necked parakeets, herons and nesting wrens, but oddly never ever seen a house sparrow! Remember those chirpy little birds that were everywhere once upon a time and now subject to preservation orders and included in BAP's (Biodiversity Action Plans)? Well Sunday we saw a pair of house sparrows! Deeply pleasing to see such a once common species in the UK returning to what I imagine were old haunts.
I never feel that we catch the growing season in time. One minute its too early and cold to plant anything then blink and everybody is harvesting tomatoes and potatoes and we have only just got our plants into the ground. Saying that we just had our first harvest of broad beans, and have had grazed salad from lettuce and rocket plus lots of delicious crisp radish. Instead of a more formal approach to growing I read the Alys Fowler book "The Edible Garden" and I have been further inspired. No rows, just a mish mash of complimentary veggies and plants and apart from bloody flea beetles all is going well.

And to the girls. The harsh love worked and after 6 days the chickens have full access to nestboxes and good to report that Ruby and Nigella are back to normal. Tallulah is going through a big old moult so only Harriet aka Princess Ping Pong is laying. Ruby has highly indigent this evening as she had to be caught up as she seemed to have a small problem with the right leg however inspection confirmed scaly leg so medication to follow.

Max and Harriet on the lawn
The girls have a big pen along with access to the deck but not to the entire garden as all the plants need to be fully established but we have just returfed the lawn after winter decimation. However on Sunday I needed to clean the deck so the chickens got to the lawn AND to meet Max on a nose to beak level. It all went really well apart from Tallulah who managed to nip into a flower bed and trash two lilies, lemon balm and a small unidentified plant that will never now flourish but at least it made a small scruffy chicken very happy.

Just waiting for eggs to start again..............

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Update at last - check back for photos

Oh hell's teeth, the past couple of months seem to have flown by and after a week in Italy I am more than aware that I have been sadly lacking the the blog department!

Mother and a lovely chicken

The fastest of updates - thank you for all the offers of a home for Stella. Such is life that she went back to whence she came as an egg, to the lovely Sue and her Mum at Victoria's Poultry in Chester It was such a pleasure to meet up again, Sue has such an incredible enthusiasm for her birds and Mum is a really keen waterfowl breeder along with knowing all the chickens as well. We were again greeted into their home, had a lovely time and Stella very soon settled back into life into rural Cheshire after her Hens in the City existence. I am very wary of ever giving recommendations however I only have the highest regard for the work, quality of service and birds from Victoria's Poultry.

With the departure of Stella life soon settled down to something bordering normality with Harriet taking over the mantle of head bird, not that Ruby bothered as she just runs the flock. Nigella is no doubt at the bottom of the pecking order but it all changes in that Harriet beats up on Tallulah,Tallulah beats up on Nigella and Ruby just gets on with them all until somebody (Harriet mostly) steps out of accepted hen behaviour then they get a smack in the head. And despite this Harriet still think she rules the roost!

Stella returns to the flock

So Italy was wonderful however on our return we found Nigella AND Ruby had become broody over the week we were away. Not good news. Harsh treatment as they were both turfed out of the nestboxes and after three days of no access I think they are getting the idea however I know the second they see a nice cosy straw filled nestbox they will revert to super broodies!

Finally this very evening we just got news from Ros about Doris but more of that over the weekend as photos have been promised.