So it feels like a while since I've talked about the chickens (and quail and ducks)
I'm planning a few changes and shake ups over in my field. So my flock of layers ruled over by gorgeous Ben the light Sussex are all laying like mad and enjoying dust bathing in the sunshine. My star layers are wonky, Margo and pixie. Over the weekend I'm going to introduce the little quartet of bluebells to their paddock. The bluebells are about 16 weeks old now and getting quite big. I expect ructions from cloud (my delinquent welsummer) and general superiority from Margo and pixie. I haven't given them names yet as I'm still unsure if I'll sell a couple of them or not. The little one who suffered quite badly from having her tail feathers pecked out and her vent damaged has come on great guns but I'm still worried about whether or not she;ll be able to get an egg out. A few times over the last couple of months when she's look uncomfortable passing droppings I've thought about dispatching her but we'll see what happens when she comes into lay.
The bluebells are currently living with the two adorable black silkie boys who are tiny but have suddenly become men, crowing (which sound so cute) and doing the little 'well hello there ladies' dance and trying to mount the blues (who are 3 time their size) up until yestrerady I've been umming and ahhing about keeping them to increase the gene pool when I finally get some Silkie hens to breed from. However yesterday these little balls of fluffy cuteness crossed the line. i let them all out in the morning and straight away they started hassling the bells so being as I was standing in their run I intervened and gave them a stern talking to about chivalry and how it was the decent thing to let the girls grab a bite to eat before trying to sexually assault them when the little monsters turned on me. Which would have been hilarious If I wasn't wearing shorts and very inappaortiate footwear. I was lucky to escape with my life. I almost fell over the electric fencing fleeing from the little devils and have some nice scratches on my ankles and a peck on my shin. So they are now officially on the market ( They are still adorable and my hubby laughed so much when I told him about it he got the hiccups)
The little gang of chicks are all growing up fast. There is definitely 2 cockerels there a light Sussex and a splash Andalusian (I finally figured out what he is) The other 5 Sussex's all look to be hens, and some of these I plan on selling when they're a bit bigger. My little auracana is such a poppet when I'm in with them she comes running over to me and stands by my foot cheeping waiting fro a cuddle. I crouch down and she'll hop up onto my knee then my arm and chatter away to me.
For this reason I think shes a she, not having any experience with the breed I can't tell by looking at her but shes small and dainty with no signs of any comb or wattles. She also very placid unlike the two little cockerels so I'm really hopeful. I'm also hopeful my Buff Orpington is a female too. To begin with I thought a boy as its wattles grew over night but so far its comb is still tiny and neck and tail feathers haven't grown longer. If this is the case it Will mean out of ten chicks 80% are girls which will be amazing. They are so funny as well acting proper childish, always being noisy and always being the last to go to bed. I'm sure I've seen Margo tutting at their naughty behaviour.
I'm planning on getting rid of Sawyer my welsummer cockerel, originally I planned on breeding welsummers for selling but I'm going to set up a group of rare breed chickens when I decide on what breed to get. Sawyers lovely but he's very much a big fish in a tiny pond and doesn't have the suave smooth romantic attitude to his ladies Ben has. It doesn't help that his ladies are all small and very fast, so his advances are easily escaped from. Also they have gone broody.
Primrose my little Indian game x wyandotte has been broody for a week siting clamped down in the nest box and sounding like a velocaraptor when ever I move her. I've been adding china eggs to her nest to see how many eggs she could comfortably sit on (about 5) as shes a tiny yet buxom little maid. Gwenny Fairfax the Indian game is playing at being broody and lays eggs in the same nest box, Primrose is also still laying too. Isabel the silkie cross bantam has gone broody too and every morning she's been escaping from her run and abandoning Jim Morrison (holly golightly) my big chief silkie to squish in next to primrose and fluff herself up. Tomorrow I'll finish the twin broody coops and select some eggs from big Bens run for them to sit on and fingers crossed will soon have some light Sussex and light Sussex x wels/marran/buff Sussex babies.
Sadly on Sunday morning sweet little violet, primroses daintier prettier sister died. I'd noticed on Friday afternoon she wasn't eating much but drinking a lot. I managed to catch her which was strange in itself as her and primrose are almost feral and hate being picked up and her crop felt full and squishy. I gave a a little olive oil and gently massaged her crop and could feel a hard little lump in there, I managed to break it up a little and popped her in a box with some water and yoghurt over night. Next morning her crop had got bigger and squishier so I gave her some liquid paraffin and some live maggots (from the fishing tackle shop) she ate these but it was blatantly obvious she was in a bad way. She gotten that tail down eyes half closed pose. So to avoid the stress of being on her own I caught sawyer and relocated him (much to his annoyance) and popped her back in the run with her freinds. She showed no signs of improvement in the evening so I tucked her up in the nest box all nice and cosy in a thick bed of straw. When I opened up the house in the morning poor little lass had died. Which in a funny way I was relieved about, because if she been the same in the morning Hubby would have dispatched her in the evening. She was tiny and very flighty and like my little silkie I lost last year to sour crop didn't have the constitution to regain her strenght, so at least her demise and exit was swift.
In happier news the quail are nearly all laying, only one more to go. Yesterday another laid her first egg and you know how tiny hens eggs can be when they lay their first well this new egg was half the size of the others I weighed it and it didn't register on the scales.
As for the ducks well thats another story in it self that I'll save for later as I've rambled on for ages now and I'm watching alfie out of the corner of my eye trying to catch a mouse thats scutterling about under the tv and better try and catch it before chaos breaks out. Or it runs over by bare feet and I start screaming like, was going to say girl but that makes no sense lol.
P.S quail make really strange almost whistling sounds when they're laying. A world away from the shricks and caterwalling the chickens make.
P.P.S The bullocks are now trying to eat the leaves off the cherry tree.